So, the 2013 Manitoba Book Awards were last weekend (well, actually the weekend before last…I’m a bit slow). Better late than never with an update for these ceremonies where a graphic novel I had illustrated (7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga) was nominated in 2 categories. One was for Best Illustrated, probably the most important to me, and the other for the McNally Robinson Book for Young People–Older Category (I know, quite the mouthful…)
My wife and Mom arrived fashionably early. By this I mean that we were there nearly a half hour before the doors were suppose to open. Well, this afforded us some time for some photo opportunities, like this:
As the night progressed the West End Cultural Centre filled up to the brim, and the tensions rose.
You see, I’m really not one for public speaking. Actually, I’m not out much with the public, more than I have to be. This has made me….a little behind with interacting with people, speaking, and the like. I’m more accustomed to letting my art work speak for me. As I waited, I was left to think about what I would say IF I won. My past experiences with speaking in public reminded me of epic failures; of muttering, mumbling, rambling awkward dialogues where I fidget, and thump podiums with my hands compulsively.
Fortunately, I did not have to wait long as Best Illustrated Book of the Year was the third award of the night. As they listed the nominees, I closed my eyes, my heart raced, and I repeated to myself: “Whatever you do, DON’T FORGET TO THANK YOUR WIFE FOR ALL OF HER SACRIFICES FOR YOU TO PURSUE YOUR CAREER!”
“And the winner for Best Illustrated Book of the Year is….”
“….Imaging Winnipeg: History through Photographs of L.B. Foote”.
Thank he Old Gods and the New! I don’t have to speak! Needless to say, I was much more relaxed for the rest of the evening. While 7 Generations was up for another award towards the end of the evening, it was more directed at the author, David Robertson, than for me. Regardless, it was still an honour to be nominated.
The presenters and the winners were all entertaining to listen to, and the evening went by quickly. I discovered one book, Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther (who won the Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher), that looked interesting (at least to my tastes). I also met the creator of the other graphic novel that was nominated for Best Illustrated, Scott A Ford (Romulus + Remus). Got him to sign his book that I bought that night, and learned that he is quite keen: still in university and publishing his own comic at the same time, with the second volume nearly completed. Dedication that I did not quite possess when I was finishing my own degree at the UofM.
Overall, a great night spent with great and inspiring people.