Well, I didn't win. But more to the point, the wonderful Lynn Coady did win. I'm incredibly happy for her. She's been at this a long while, honing her writing, plus she's been through the awards wringer a few times already and this year, the wheel came around and scooped her up. She damnwell deserves it. Dennis would've deserved it too, and Lisa of course, and Dan and even myself I suppose. But Lynn is fantastic, a fantastic writer, dedicated as hell, and I (and the rest of the shortlisted writers) are incredibly happy for her.
It was a hella fun night. Colleen and I got to meet Paul Haggis (I had to confess that I got a little weepy at the trailer for Million Dollar Baby, when I saw it before The Aviator years ago; I'd read the short story collection it was derived from, "Rope Burns" by FX Toole, so I knew what was coming for Ms. Swank) and many other Canadian literary luminaries (Margaret Atwood! Michael Ondaatje! David Adams Richards! Joseph Boyden! Rohinton Mistry! Michael Winter! Elizabeth Hay! David Bergen! on and on it went). Talked about Don Carpenter's Hard Rain Falling with Jonathan Lethem. Wore a pretty slick suit, compliments of Strellson, Sharp magazine and Greg Hudson. Overall it was a hell of a night.
But what I enjoyed most is spending the majority of my time with the people who helped me get to the shortlist: my agent Kirby, my editor Lynn, publisher Kristin, Mark Medley of the Post, and of course Colleen. Would've been nice to have had publicist Scott and my folks and brother there, too—but it's a pretty tough ticket, so I couldn't have smuggled them in ... but as they say, they were there in spirit. Anyway, a guy realizes that he doesn't do anything alone, let alone write a book—people think it's a solitary profession, and it is, but without that critical support and guidance from people you trust and whose opinion matters crucially to you, man, you're sunk. At least I'd be sunk. So that was the jolt I got from the evening. Spending time with the people who were so foundational to me winding up in that ballroom in the first place.
And yeah, it was fun to get drunk with all of those people, plus Paul Haggis (I was drunk, anyway; Paul might've been stone cold sober). Good night. A very good night indeed.
Congrats to Lynn. She's fantastic. She's a marvel. I'm a fan myself. And this is so richly earned for her.
Want to watch the festivities? Click on this link:
All best, Craig.