This past Sunday night was the annual event held by the Children's Book Caucus of PEN New England, honoring new, unpublished writers selected to receive this years Susan P. Bloom Award.
A word about Susan P. Bloom: she has been a member of the Children's Book Caucus for several years, and so when she retired three years ago from a distinguished career as Professor of Children's Literature at Simmons College, we (the other committee members; she didn't get a vote!) decided to name the award - previously just called something more generic - for her.
Unfortunately, this year, though she had particpated in the judging of entries, Susan couldn't attend the event because she had been babysitting for a small grandson, and caught his two-year-old's germs and was sick. That is what happens to you when you retire!
But the winners this year - selected from 125 entries - were Jodi McCallum from Vermont, Cindy Faughnan from Vermont, Joe Anastasio from Connecticut, and Katie Bayerl from Massachusetts. Four novels this year, both YA and Middle Grade. Some years there have been picture book winners, but not this time. Each award recipeient has his/her manuscript read by a major editor, and many of our previous winners have gone on the publication. (Latest, "The Opposite of Music" by Janet Ruth Young, just published by Atheneum.)
Each author read from his/her work and we sipped some champagne and rejoiced that there are fine new writers in the field....