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Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

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June 17th, 2005

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

The writing life...

Did a reading at the local independent bookstore, VIllage Books, on Wednesday night. Not a Harry Potter turnout, but a respectable one nonetheless - and people seem to have enjoyed the reading. I gave away a "doorprize" - a signed copy of the hardcover first edition - and the person who won it seemed rather jazzed at the idea. Perhaps I'll do this again if the chance comes up.

The funniest bit was the arrival of a coterie of some four or five (male) teenagers, which is definitely not the classical demographic for "Jin shei". Deck said to me, "They probably think that 'jin shei' means something like 'kung fu'..." - and you know what? He was probably right. Some five minutes or so into the reading, the entire group got up and left in disgust. *Girl cooties*. The place was CRAWLING with girl cooties. Euwwww...

And then, yesterday, in email, I received the following press release :

WASHINGTON CENTER FOR THE BOOK ANNOUNCES WASHINGTON STATE
BOOK AWARDS FINALISTS

The Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library
announced that sixteen books written by local authors are finalists for
the 2005 Washington State Book Awards.

Eight of the 16 books (listed by author below) will become Washington
State Book Award winners at a ceremony this fall. This is the 39th year
of the program, formerly called the Governor's Writers Awards.

A book award is given based on the strength of the publication's
literary merit, lasting importance and overall quality.

The 2005 Washington State Book Award finalists are:

· Alma Alexander, "The Secrets of Jin-shei" (HarperCollins)
· Marvin Bell, "Rampant: Poems" (Copper Canyon Press)
· Mark Bittner, "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill: A Love Story *
with Wings" (Harmony Books)
· Stephanie M.H. Camp, "Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women and
Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South" (University of North
Carolina Press)
· Charles D'Ambrosio, "Orphans: Essays" (Clear Cut Press)
· John F. Desmond, "Walker Percy's Search for Community"
(University of Georgia Press)
· Lesley Hazleton, "Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography of the
Virgin Mother" (Bloomsbury)
· Grant Hildebrand and T. William Booth, "A Thriving Modernism:
The Houses of Wendell Lovett and Arne Bystrom" (University of Washington
Press)
· Doris Hinson Pieroth, "Seattle's Women Teachers of the Interwar
Years: Shapers of a Livable City" (University of Washington Press)
· Christopher Howell, "Light's Ladder: Poems" (University of
Washington Press)
· Paul Hunter, "Breaking Ground" (Silverfish Review Press)
· Stephanie Kallos, "Broken for You" (Grove/Atlantic)
· David Laskin, "The Children's Blizzard" (HarperCollins)
· Dawn Prince-Hughes, "Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey
Through Autism" (Crown)
· Nikhil Pal Singh, Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished
Struggle for Democracy" (Harvard University Press)
· Peter Ward, "Gorgon: The Monsters That Ruled the Planet Before
Dinosaurs and How They Died in the Greatest Catastrophe in Earth's
History" (Penguin)

The judges include Karen Maeda Allman, writer and bookseller, The
Elliott Bay Book Company; Michael Coy, owner and bookseller, M. Coy
Books; Tod Marshall, assistant professor of English, Gonzaga University;
and Venta Silins, reference/education librarian, University of
Washington, Bothell; and Edwin Weihe, chair, associate professor of
English, Seattle University.


I knew nothing about this, it came out of left field, and I am both jazzed about it and quite appropriately honoured by it. The competition is quite stiff - "Songs of the GOrilla Nation", for instance, was quite a heavily award-winning and acclaimed book (in this neck of the woods, at least) and it's a very good contender. But hey - I got into the finals, which is an achievement all by itself. I'm very pleased to be here... and may the best books win.