My wife and I attended the New Brunswick Book Awards last night, in the beautiful Memorial Hall at UNB in Fredericton. As an aspiring writer, I feel it is important to attend such events and show support for all of the candidates, as well as the writing community in general.
Several decisions have come out of this. First, I need to join the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick (WFNB). I need a community of writers about me. Online groups are wonderful, but there is something special about meeting face-to-face, and especially with someone who lives in the same geographic community. I think this will help me to become a better writer.
Secondly, I need to push myself to do more public readings. The keynote speaker, Mr. David Adams Richards, spoke about hitchhiking to Fredericton just so he could read his poems to people. He also related his answer when someone asked him how he thought a writer from backwoods NB could compete with people from London or New York City: he's not competing, he's just going to keep writing. I love that spirit.
One of the nominees, Riel Nason, recognized me from the Frye Festival. That meant a lot to me. I sometimes feel anonymous and unseen. She was so kind to say so.
I handed out a couple of business cards. I'm not certain if it helped, but most certainly it would not help if they stayed in my pocket.
The winner of the fiction category, Kerry Lee Powell, received a bag of doughnuts along with her certificate, because a local bakery sponsored that category. It made my heart burst with mirth, thinking of the story of Thoreau being brought doughnuts by his mother while he was living at Walden Pond. In the Amanda Palmer fan community, "take the donut" has become an expression which means it is OK to accept rewards for your work as an artist. It is OK to treat yourself with some of your earnings from your artwork.
I really liked how they gave short bios and comments about all of the nominees before announcing the winner. It felt very inclusive, and more like a celebration of everyone's work and not just the winners. Many of the presenters were nominees from last year.
This felt like a good second event after Frye. Unfortunately, there is a WFNB event this weekend, but I cannot attend due to prior commitments.
None of this would be possible without the generous sponsorship from my patrons. I love them, and their support means I can keep writing and keep taking steps to share my work with a wider audience.
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