Feeling dumbfounded, lucky, and grateful that All True won the Amazon.ca / Walrus First Novel Award last night here in Toronto. Shelagh Rogers was a relaxed and engaging host who revealed everyone's dark secrets. It was good to hear from judges Nick Mount and Helen Humphreys, who emphasized how great all the finalists' books are this year (we all wished judge Richard Wagamese had been able to make it too). Alphabetical order had me reading first, so I got the jitters out of the way and was able to enjoy everyone else's excerpts (two minutes is a tough gig as far as readings go!). All great readers, and interesting that so many of the finalists are musicians. Emma Hooper read a fluid and darting section about memory from Etta and Otto and Russell and James. Sean Michaels gave us a short (too short!) and beautiful love-letter clip from the Moscow section of his Us Conductors. Guillaume Morrisette, who "enjoy[s] self-loathing," had everybody laughing at his characters' half-hearted plans to run a car into Concordia, or maybe go out tonight, in New Tab. And Chelsea Rooney finished with a slam-dunk piece on anger and violence from Pedal.
Emma and I had planned to burst into song (something from The Lion King) at the end, and I'm still sorry Toronto missed out on that. I'm also sorry that in my daze, I didn't thank everyone properly--my agent, Denise Bukowski (who made me get my hair done), my sharp editors, Anne Collins and Amanda Lewis at Knopf / Random House, the judges, the Walrus Foundation, the Amazon folks, and my family and friends at home. I was not expecting to win. At least I managed to mostly contain my tears!
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I'm the author of My Name is a Knife, All True Not a Lie In It, and The Old Familiar.