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1. Phil Lord and Chris Miller Honored with 2015 Texas Avery Award

The directors of "The Lego Movie" were honored for their achievements in the field of animation.

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2. 2015 Teen Tech Week Grant Winner - Alexandra Tyle-Annen

We were ecstatic when we found out that we would be receiving funding for Teen Tech Week.   We were able to plan a variety of programs that focused on programming, photography/video, and robotics.   Our goals were to:

  1. Reach teens that have little or no technology skills
  2. Grow the skill level of teens that already have a strong technology skills
  3. Have teen(s) assist with programming.

A local teen happened to be a tech wizard and helped plan and teach a few of the programs!  He was able to connect with the teen participants and many of the younger teens were in awe of his knowledge.  He was a great asset to the program and a huge reason the programs were so successful!

We were able to purchase a GoPro (along with accessories), Cubelets, and littleBits.  Along with classes, we held drop in sessions for teens to play creatively with the tools on their own.   We also encourage the teens to use the GoPro during the other programs to create videos of their projects and learning experiences.

It is truly amazing to see how all of the teens were able to quickly grasp most of the concepts.  They were able to understand everything from how numbers flow through Cubelets to drawing shapes and creating games with python!  They were able to manipulate the code we produced as a class to put a personal twist on the projects.  The most popular programs were the GoPro class and the Python 101 classes.

Due to the number of participants and the number of tools we needed to create small groups to work together on their projects. It was a great opportunity for the teens to work as a team.   Having them work in teams encouraged discussion and a new level of creativity!

We were surprised that most of the teens that participated in Teen Tech Week were not from our core group of library teens. A few of them have increased their library usage and are becoming familiar faces.   An almost equal amount of girls and boys attended the programs.

The library is planning on providing additional technology based off the teens’ suggestions and interests.  It is important to us that we find a way to have the Cubelets, littleBits, and GoPro available for teen use within the library.  We are currently reviewing different options on how to do so.

Alexandra Tyle-Annen is the Adult/Teen Services Manager for the Homer Township Public Library in Homer Glen, IL.

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3. PEN Literary Awards Shortlist Revealed

The PEN American Center has revealed the shortlists and judges for the 2015 PEN Literary Awards.

The shortlist for the debut fiction category, which carries a $25,000 prize includes: “The UnAmericans” by Molly Antopol (W. W. Norton & Company); “Ruby” by Cynthia Bond (Hogarth); Redeployment by Phil Klay (Penguin Press); “The Dog” by Jack Livings (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); and “Love Me Back” by Merritt Tierce (Doubleday). Judges for the category include: Caroline Fraser, Katie Kitamura, Paul La Farge, and Victor LaValle.

Follow this link to see the shortlists in every category.

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4. Meet Our New Visions Award Finalists: Part III

Last month we announced the six finalists for our 2015 New Visions Award. The Award recognizes a middle grade or young adult novel in the sci-fi, fantasy, or mystery genres by an unpublished author of color (our first New Visions Award winner, Ink and Ashes, will be released this June!).

As our award committee gets to know the finalists through their novels, we wanted to give our blog readers a chance to get to know these talented writers as well. We asked each finalist some questions. In previous posts, we interviewed finalists Grace Rowe and Andrea Wang, and finalists Shilpa Kamat and Rishonda Anthony.

Below authors Yamile Saied Méndez and Axie Oh answser:

Yamile Mendez thumbnailYamile Saied Méndez, “On These Magic Shores”

Tell us a little about the main character in your novel.

 My main character is twelve-year old Minerva Soledad Madrid and she can’t wait to grow up. The oldest of three girls, she’s a Latina who speaks Spanish and who’s proud of her cultural heritage. Her parents are of Argentine descent, and her mom (who’s raising the girls by herself) teaches the girls the Argentine traditions she grew up with. She sings the lullabies of her childhood, and most importantly, she passes on her belief in the Peques (short for Pequeñitos, the Little Ones), the Argentine fairies, who follow their families as they move around the world. Because the family doesn’t have a support system, Minerva had to step up and be a second mother for her sisters while their mother works two jobs to make ends meet. Minerva wants to be the first Latina president of the United States. She’s determined and focused. She doesn’t believe in magic, but she wants to, oh how she wants to believe the fairies take care of her and her sisters while their mom is away! In the story, Minerva learns how to be a child again (kind of like a reverse Peter Pan) because magic is really all around us!

What advice would you give your younger self about writing?   Don’t pay attention to the inner editor!

If I could send my younger self a message, it would be: follow you heart, write what you want to write, and trust your voice. I wrote my first story in the first grade, and looking for validation, I showed it to my uncle. Instead of the praise I expected, he told me a few things that didn’t work in his expert opinion. After that, I started writing with my inner editor reading over my shoulder, until I got to a point in which I wasn’t sure anyone would ever be interested in what I wanted to say. Don’t pay attention to the inner editor! Get the story out of your heart! There’s a lot of time to fix things during revision. Revision is your friend.

I also would say a big THANK YOU. My younger self was a little like Minerva: determined and persistent. I taught myself English at a young age, and I’m forever grateful to little Yamile for all the hard work. It’s paying off!

What is your writing process? What techniques do you use to get past writer’s block?

I wrote my first full novel during NaNoWriMo back in 2008. My goal was to win NaNo by writing 50,000 words in 24 days (I found out about National Novel Writing Month on November 6th, but I still reached my goal). Since then, I’ve learned to pour out my first draft on the page and then go back and revise. This has resulted in a lot of drafts that will never see the light of day, but it has also produced some powerful writing that came straight from my heart (like the NaNo in 2013, a few days after my mother passed away). I write every day, or at least, most days. Sometimes my ideas are born of a single word, or a person I see who makes me wonder about their lives. Sometimes the ideas simmer in my head and my heart for years, until I feel I ready to tell them. Right now I’m working on a story that was born about twelve years ago when I lived in Puerto Rico. I’ve learned that even if something I write isn’t ready for me to share with my critique group, it’s still an important piece of writing because it taught me what doesn’t work or what needs more depth. I love to do writing exercises from craft books like Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway et al, Steering the Craft, by Ursula Le Guin, and The Plot Whisperer, by Martha Alderson. Even if not all of these exercises end up in my manuscript, I often find wonderful information about my characters (or myself) that helps me tell the story better.

Recently, there’s been quite a lot of debate over the idea of readers who choose to take a break from books written by a certain group, such as white male authors. What’s your take on this?

First of all, I feel that people should read whatever they want to read without fear of mocking or teasing of any kind. I naturally gravitate toward books by authors of color because they tell stories that mirror my experience as a person of color too. As a child, I never remembered who wrote what. I loved Little Women and Heidi because I identified with Jo March and Heidi who lived with her grandpa. But as an adult and a writer, I want to learn from the masters how to tell the stories that inhabit my mind and my heart, and there’s no better way than to read their stories to know how to tell mine.

What are your favorite books or writers in the same genre as your manuscript? 

I have hundreds of favorite books, but in middle grade I love everything by Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia is my favorite), Gary D. Schmidt (Okay for Now), Shannon Hale (Princess Academy), Kelly Barnhill (The Witch’s Boy. Wow!), and Erin Bow (Pain Kate). I also love everything by Meg Medina (especially The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind) and Julia Alvarez (the Tia Lola books are the best!), and of course Pam Muñoz Ryan (Esperanza Rising). But my favorite stories ever are fairy tales, from all over the world, and of course Peter Pan has a special place in my heart.

Axie Oh thumbnailAxie Oh, “The Amaterasu Project”

Tell us a little about the main character in your novel.

His name is Lee Jaewon (Koreans put their surnames before their given names). He’s 18-years-old. He’s a quiet, keep under the radar type of person, with a strong sense of loyalty and a distrust of hope. At the start of the book, he lives alone in a dingy apartment in Old Seoul (my future Korea is split between Old and Neo Seoul). He hasn’t spoken to his best friend in three years. He’s rejecting these mysterious envelopes full of cash, sent from his mother who he hasn’t seen since he was eight. I see him as a character with a very tired soul who longs to forgive everyone who’s hurt him in his life, yet doesn’t know how to begin, or even if it matters.

 Physically, he looks like Lee Jong Suk. If you don’t know who that is, well, you’re in for a treat: Google him! (He’s a South Korean actor).

What advice would you give your younger self about writing?

You are fabulous! Keep on doing what you’re doing! Okay, maybe that’s not advice. More like ego-boosting. But every teenager needs a good ego-boost now and then, especially when writing, which is literally pouring your soul onto a page.

What is your writing process? What techniques do you use to get past writer’s block?

My writing process is pretty linear. I outline heavily, with scene-setting and dialogue for some significant scenes that will appear in the novel. I do character and worldbuilding charts. I compile pictures/illustrations of places and people who inhabit the spirit of my characters. Then I go through the whole book, from the first chapter to the last, with heavy editing in between. Then of course more revisions. The last two steps are printing the whole book out and attacking it with a bunch of colorful pens. The more colors the better! And then reading the whole book out loud while recording it. THEN I send it to my beta readers and critique partners – this is the point where I can’t make it any better by myself. As for writer’s block, when I come up

As for writer’s block, when I come up against that particular wall, I always start with the spark that made me want to write the book in the first place. The characters. I go back to the sketches I wrote of the characters and add onto them, delving deeper into their backgrounds and psyches. And/or I’ll re-read scenes I’ve already written that contain the “voice” of the characters, which makes me fall in love with the characters all over again. It’s all about making myself believe in the characters so that I want to finish their story.

Recently, there’s been quite a lot of debate over the idea of readers who choose to take a break from books written by a certain group, such as white male authors. What’s your take on this?

The idea behind this, I believe – at least for avoiding white, male authors specifically – is that by avoiding this group, you will therefore seek out stories written by women, people of color or LGBT writers, enriching your perspective of the world, which is always a viable and recommended thing to do.

As a reader, I seek out stories with strong coming-of-age themes and themes of love, in all its shapes and forms. When I read, it’s about seeking these types of books in an inclusive setting.

What are your favorite books or writers in the same genre as your manuscript, and why?

Tough one because I haven’t read enough YA Sci-Fi to have particular favorites. I watch a lot of Sci-Fi dramas and anime (which heavily influenced my novel), but I don’t particularly have favorite books that are in the YA Sci-Fi genre. For example, one of my favorite anime/manga franchises is the Gundam franchise, which deals with futuristic societies, technological advancements and very human themes of love, hate, honor and betrayal.

Recently, I read the first two books in Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners series, which were pretty awesome – jam-packed with action and strong themes of what it means to be a hero.

On the opposite end of Sci-Fi, focusing more on character, I really love the quiet strength of Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars, a dystopic re-telling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, taking place on a futuristic Pacific Islands.

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5. Susana Ferreira Wins NYU’s Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award

Journalist Susana Ferreira has won New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute’s inaugural Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award.
The Carter Institute established the award last fall in remembrance of the late journalist Matthew Power. The $12,500 award is given “to a young journalist researching an important story that illuminates the human condition.” Ferreira spent four years in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she was a correspondent for Reuters and served as a freelancer for Time, CBC Radio, PRI’s \"The World,\" the Wall Street Journal, France 24, and the Guardian.

“Many inspired proposals were submitted to us, but hers was particularly original and stood out as the sort of thing Matt might have done,” stated Professor Ted Conover of the Carter Journalism Institute, a friend of Power’s who coordinated the judging. “We hope that funding this kind of work will help to keep his spirit alive.”

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6. At Literacy Partners Gala, Bestselling Authors Share Personal Stories

Barbara-Taylor2Liz Smith, the “patron saint of literacy,” was unable to host Tuesday night’s gala at Cipriani in New York for Literacy Partners, the organization she helped found in 1974. Though Smith felt under the weather, her fellow board of directors, as well as honorees Robert Thomson and Barbara Taylor Bradford (pictured, at right), along with writers Tom Brokaw and Ali Wentworth (pictured, below), aptly filled in for her. Resilience emerged as the recurring theme of the evening, much like Smith herself.

Literacy Partners student Matthew Brown represented one of the evening’s highlights. The 75-year-old detailed his lifelong struggle to read, which he overcame with the organization’s help. He then sang his own resounding rendition of the Sinatra hit, “My Way,” to a standing ovation.


Taylor Bradford received the Lizzie award for her devotion to literacy in the U.S. and the U.K. She spoke about her prolific writing career, starting at a regional newspaper in England. “I had a little bit of toughness, even at age 16,” she said. By age 20 she headed to Fleet Street, and never forgot the lessons of needing to answer the \"who, what, where, when and why’s.\"

Thomson was honored for his philanthropy and commitment to the literacy cause, and joked that he also wants “numeracy partners for fiscally challenged executives.” On a more serious note, he spoke about the challenges that those who can’t read face every day, when words become enemies, leading to social isolation. “No one among us can always find the right words. Cracking the code of language is crucial,” he added.

Thomson also piqued the audience’s curiosity by bringing a book to the stage that he said was Harper Lee’s much anticipated ‘prequel sequel’, though it turned out to be her bestseller, To Kill A Mockingbird. “I’ve read the manuscript, and I think it will resonate,” he told the crowd.

Brokaw and Wentworth read passages from their upcoming books, both due out later this spring. Wentworth’s tale, Happily Ali After, describes humorous scenes from her life based on well-known sayings. She disagrees with the famous Love Story quote about never having to say you’re sorry. “Love has always meant saying I’m sorry repeatedly,” she said. An example: when her family planned a trip to Spain but upon arrival at JFK airport discovered that their girls’ passports had expired.

Brokaw’s forthcoming memoir, A Lucky Life Interrupted, recounts his deeply personal journey battling multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable form of cancer. He spoke about first experiencing symptoms and then being diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic. “I went from the delusion of being ever young. It was a way of life that I couldn’t believe was slipping away from me,” he said. He ended on a more upbeat note now that his cancer is in remission, citing “renewable cycles of life.” The book concludes with these words: \"Life–what’s left–bring it on.”

(Photos courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency)

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7. Distinguished and Diverse at #alaac15

2015 ALA Annual Conference

2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco (image courtesy of ALA)

ALSC and the ALSC Awards Preconference Pilot Program Task Force announced the theme and speakers for the 2015 ALSC preconference program. This program takes place 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday, June 26, 2015, at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.

The program, entitled “Distinguished and Diverse: Celebrate the 2015 ALSC Honor Books,” will spotlight 2015 Honor Book recipients for the Newbery, Caldecott, Batchelder, Pura Belpré, Sibert and Geisel awards. The keynote speaker for the program is K.T. Horning, and there will be a panel facilitated by Judy Freeman.

The event will feature authors, illustrators and editors such as Cece Bell, Jacqueline Woodson, Lauren Castillo, Mary GrandPré, Candace Fleming, Yuyi Morales, Jillian Tamaki, Katherine Roy, John Parra, Patricia Hruby Powell, Mark Siegel, Christian Robinson, Jon Klassen and Melissa Sweet. More speakers will be announced soon.

This is the first year that such a preconference will be held. The charge of the Awards Preconference Pilot Program Task Force is “to develop content and the program for a half-day preconference that will feature 2015 ALSC-only award honorees.” Based on the success of this year’s preconference, ALSC may or may not choose to hold similar events in connection with upcoming Annual Conferences. ALSC members receive a special discount (use code: ALSC2015) on registration.

The post Distinguished and Diverse at #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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8. Meet Our New Visions Award Finalists: Part II

Last month we announced the six finalists for our 2015 New Visions Award. The Award recognizes a middle grade or young adult novel in the sci-fi, fantasy, or mystery genres by an unpublished author of color (our first New Visions Award winner, Ink and Ashes, will be released this June!).

As our award committee gets to know the finalists through their novels, we wanted to give our blog readers a chance to get to know these talented writers as well. We asked each finalist some questions. Here are answers from our first two finalists, Grace Rowe and Andrea Wang.

Below, authors Shipla Kamat and Rishonda Anthony answer:

Shilpa Kamat thumbnailShilpa Kamat, “Fallen Branches”

Tell us a little about the main character in your novel.

My novel is narrated by a teen named Shloka. Her voice jumped out at me one day when I was free writing during a spare moment in a parked car, and I knew she would have to keep talking until her story was told.

Shloka’s name means “song,” but she’s shy about singing. One of her mothers is of South Asian descent and the other traces her history to early immigrants who came to the town in Northern California where her family lives. When someone is killed in their seemingly peaceful neighborhood, Shloka finds herself working in secret with her friend Dilly to solve the mystery of what happened–something she’s sure is not quite what everyone else believes…

What advice would you give your younger self about writing?

Trust yourself and finish your projects. They don’t have to perfectly match your vision. In fact, they probably won’t. You don’t have to limit yourself to just one project at a time, but follow through. Take risks.

You’re already your harshest critic; learn to be an ally to your art as well. Choose to bring your writing to life rather than stifling it under the weight of your fears and expectations.

No matter how fantastical, ground your writing in real emotions and the interpersonal dynamics you witness or experience. Represent a broad range of people and centralize the communities and experiences you understand best. Be vulnerable. Let your characters have faults and forgive them, whether the other characters forgive them or not.

Rather than limiting yourself to the consciousness of current times, write with a sense of possibility. Take for granted that the seeds of positive social change will take root and come to fruition and write beyond that.

What is your writing process? What techniques do you use to get past writer’s block?

Although some aspects of my creative writing process are pre-meditated, I don’t always know what turn a story will take or what its characters will say.

This, to me, is what differentiates creative from analytical writing. Analytical writing is relentlessly driven by a point; creative writing is inspired and emergent. While a poem or a novel may be tempered by the frontal lobes, its source lies elsewhere. It may wind up dancing aside from an initial course and taking another. I see it as my job to respect this process and allow space for it while occasionally pruning or uprooting and replanting paragraphs.

To keep myself motivated while working on one major projects, I kept a daily log of my word count and tracked the amount written. With another project, I abandoned this method entirely, occasionally checking progress on the number of pages but no longer needing a sense of production to drive me. I have no tolerance for outlines, but I am comfortable artistically representing goals or documenting completed projects–drawing the petals of a flower to write in, for instance. To successfully keep myself organized, there need to be wild elements and vibrant colors.

As for writers’ block, in my experience, it manifests as either anxiety or forcing. Whether caused by an impending deadline or a desire to plow through a portion of writing so that I can build a bridge to another, forcing kills the dynamism necessary for artistic expression. If I recognize that I am forcing, I step outside or hum or dance or stand on my head–whatever it takes to make myself relaxed and present.

Similar approaches can help to alleviate anxiety, but when I am anxious, I may distract myself endlessly or find other chores to busy myself with. On my most difficult days, I can’t manage to write until I am so tired I’m ready to sleep. Then I relax enough to channel another chapter or two.

Writing demands the cracking of idealized image, and that can be as disquieting as it is enlivening. It requires a deep intimacy with oneself, a revelation of one’s mind to others, that may be deeply uncomfortable. The cure for my writers’ block is to sit with this discomfort and work my way into it, whether in a direct or roundabout way, until the truth emerges.

Recently, there’s been quite a lot of debate over the idea of readers who choose to take a break from books written by a certain group, such as white male authors. What’s your take on this?

When I was in middle school, my Social Studies teacher announced that we were predominantly studying white men because they were the ones who shaped the course of history. My Language Arts teacher vehemently declared that “man” can be used not merely to describe a man but all of humankind.

The teachers were preempting challenges to those conventions, but no one can out-shout the truth: people are hungry for narratives that have been repressed throughout history. During the past two decades, the social histories of slaves, women, low-income people, indigenous communities, immigrants, and others who were not part of the elite have been increasingly sought after and have even entered courses of study in some mainstream schools.

In college, I recognized that unless I was told otherwise, if I had to imagine a character in a book, I would imagine a white person. This flattening of imagination is detrimental to everyone; when mythical imagination is constrained to the worldviews of only a fragment of humanity, literature fails to realize its potential for developing empathy for a broad range of others and an awareness of human experience.

If there are people who choose to focus on works by a specific group of authors for a period of time, I imagine that they are struggling to broaden their imaginations to include, centralize, and normalize the experiences of those who are rarely represented. For instance, if people decide to read only foreign novels for a year, they may broaden an insular lens into a more global one. As long as no group is being permanently written off, no author permanently clumped into a single category, I see no harm.

What are your favorite books or writers in the same genre as your manuscript, and why?

When I was a young adult myself, I enjoyed Cynthia Voigt’s work; A Solitary Blue, for instance, explored painful family relationships while rooting the characters in the natural world. I also enjoyed a number of other novels, primarily in the science fiction and fantasy genre, but I have not revisited most of them as an adult.

As for the mystery genre, a novel I remember liking as a child was The Westing Game, and a novel I enjoyed as an adult was The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. The latter left me with a lovely image of someone’s sitting at the bottom of a dry well to think.

Rishonda Anthony thumbnailRishonda Anthony, “Seraphim”

Tell us a little about the main character in your novel.

Cassandra Rose is a former child prodigy who won dozens of trivia contests, spelling bees, and brain bowls as a girl. After having a psychotic breakdown at the age of 12, she spent the next 5 years being home schooled in solitude. Now at 17, Cassandra is socially starved and desperate to fit in. But when she enrolls in a small private college, her past comes back to haunt her.

There are some autobiographical aspects in Cassandra’s character, which I believe is probably true for every author’s first book. In the case of Cassandra, I took them to the extreme. I was not a child prodigy who had a nervous breakdown, merely a gifted kid with anxiety issues. When I enrolled in a school rather similar to Cassandra’s college (in terms of size and atmosphere), I spent my entire first semester either alone in my room or going home on the weekend. This is where I formed the idea of a girl who is not an outcast due to social awkwardness, but because of a dark secret.

What advice would you give your younger self about writing?

First, don’t major in English. I’ve always loved books and have wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little girl (cliché, I know). But then I spent two college semesters analyzing deeper meanings and themes in genius level books. It gave me a complex, because I thought that if I couldn’t write anything as good as To Kill a Mockingbird or The Grapes of Wrath then there was no point in writing at all. Reading stopped being fun, and then writing became a chore rather than an escape. Even after I switched majors, it took a couple of years for me rediscover my love of writing.

Secondly, find a writing group! I’m the kind of writer who works well with a deadline, and when I’m writing a draft, my critique partners expect 10 pages a week, every week, from me. If I was writing for myself, I would procrastinate for years (see the third piece of advice). In addition, as part of the millennial generation, I crave instant gratification. Having someone review my work and give me feedback goes a long way towards motivating me to finish a project. All budding writers should check their local meetup.com and see if there is a writer’s group in their area. If not, consider creating one.

Third, keep at it! I started writing Seraphim when I was roughly Cassandra’s age. The story hasn’t changed much, but years of losing both faith and motivation quickly turned into more than a decade with nothing but a few vague chapters to show for it. I didn’t start seriously writing the story until I was in my late twenties, and only then when I found a writing group to support me.

What is your writing process? What techniques do you use to get past writer’s block?

I’m a huge fan of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Both Seraphim and my latest novel started out as NaNoWriMo “Brain dumps” that got poured into a word document at a rate of about 2000 words a day. The 50,000 word result is always a mess, but at least it’s on paper. After that, I spend the next six months editing that work into a proper draft.

The best technique to get past writers block is to stop reading. I’m a big reader (I know the location of every library in my city and have subscriptions with Audible, Amazon Prime, and Forgotten Books) and I believe that no one can be a serious writer unless they are also a serious reader. But when I can’t write, usually it’s because the books (yes, plural) I’m reading are hurting the process. For example, the author’s style might rub off on me, and I’ll unknowingly change a character or my voice. Then I’ll start to struggle, because the book doesn’t sound quite right, and I’m not sure why. Or I might come across an idea that I really like, and then decide to put something similar in my book. Suddenly I’m trying to add an alien into a book about witchcraft, or trying to create an entire fantasy realm for a story that really doesn’t need it. That’s a recipe for instant writer’s block. Forcing myself to step away from other people’s work and focus on my own (usually for no more than a week or two) gets me out of most ruts.

Recently, there’s been quite a lot of debate over the idea of readers who choose to take a break from books written by a certain group, such as white male authors. What’s your take on this?

In doing research to answer this question, actually had to face the uncomfortable fact that that there are very few authors of color sitting on my bookshelf (as you will see in the next question). This was not intentional, as I certainly want to read more diverse authors, but considering that publishing is still a very white business (white authors are more likely to get published and more likely to get coverage for their books), these stories don’t just fall into my lap.

However, I do believe in the power of the free market, and I think that if more people buy books by diverse authors, publishers will start putting out more books by diverse authors. For me, it involves deliberately seeking out books written by authors of color and including those books in my usual reading rotation. Despite this, I don’t think I would go so far as to cut out all white male authors. Ninety percent of the books are read are adult Urban Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, and Horror and there aren’t many authors of color who write in those genres. But one day, I’d like to count my name among those authors.

What are your favorite books or writers in the same genre as your manuscript, and why?  

In Young Adult, I’m a fan of Susan’s Ee’s Penryn & the End of Days series and The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. As for fantasy, I love Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files and George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. When it comes to the pinch of horror I like to put in every story, I have to recognize Joe Hill, and his father Stephen King, who I grew up reading and who wrote the first 1000 plus page book I ever read (It, age 15).

 Meet Our New Visions Finalists: Part I

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9. NCS announces Reuben Award Divisional Nominees


And, following the announcement that Roz Chast, Hilary Price and Stephen Pastis were up for THE Reuben, the nominees in the divisional awards have been announced by the National Cartoonists Society. The comics division has some new faces, led by Babs Tarr , who, it must be said, has had a meteoric, and well deserved, rise in the comics world. And the This One Summer juggernaut continues with a nod for Jillian Tamaki in the graphic novel category. The webcomics categories also show real diversity in format and esthetic since the category was initiated. GOOD STUFF.

Winners will be announced at the annual NCS banquet during the annual meeting.

Editorial Cartoons
Clay Bennett
Michael Ramirez
Jen Sorensen

Newspaper Illustration
Anton Emdin
Glen LeLievre
Ed Murawinski

Feature Animation

Paul Felix (production designer: “Big Hero 6”)
Tomm Moore (Director: “Song of the Sea”)
Isao Takahata (Director: “The Tale of Princess Kaguya”)

TV Animation

Mark Ackland (Storyboards- “The Void” : “Wander Over Yonder)
Patrick McHale (Creator “Over the Garden Wall”)
Kyle Menke (storyboards- “Star Wars” parody episode “Phineas and Ferb”)

Newspaper Panels
Dave Blazek (Loose Parts)
Mark Parisi (Off the Mark)
Hilary Price (Rhymes with Orange)

Gag Cartoons

Liza Donnelly
Benjamin Schwartz
Edward Steed

Advertising/Product Illustration
Kevin Kallaugher
Ed Steckley
Dave Whammond

Greeting Cards

Gary McCoy
Glenn McCoy
Maria Scrivan

Comic Books
Jason Latour (Southern Bastards)
Babs Tarr (Batgirl)
J.H. Williams III (The Sandman Overture)

Graphic Novel
Jules Feiffer (Kill My Mother)
Mike Maihak (Cleopatra in Space)
Jillian Tamaki (This One Summer)


Magazine Illustration
Ray Alma
Anton Emdin
Tom Richmond (above)

Online – Long Form
Vince Dorse (The Untold Tales of Bigfoot)
Mike Norton (Battlepug)
Minna Sundberg (Stand Still, Stay Silent)

Online – Short Form
Danielle Corsetto (Girls with Slingshots)
Jonathan Lemon (Rabbits Against Magic)
Rich Powell (Wide Open)

Book Illustration

Marla Frazee “The Farmer and the Clown”
Yasmeen Ismail “Time for Bed, Fred”
Shaun Tan “Rules of Summer”

Newspaper Comic Strips
Brian Basset (Red and Rover)
Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine)
Glenn McCoy (The Duplex)

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10. X. J. Kennedy Wins Poets & Writers Poetry Prize

Poet X. J. Kennedy has won the ninth annual Jackson Poetry Prize, an award given by Poets & Writers to honor exceptional American poets. The prize includes a $50,000 purse.

A panel of three judges chose Kennedy. The panel included the poets Heather McHugh, Vijay Seshadri, and Rosanna Warren.

“X. J. Kennedy’s forms are perennial, his rhetoric is at once elaborate and immediate, and his language and diction are always of the American moment,” explained the panel in a statement about their decision. “He translates the human predicament into poetry perfectly balancing wit, savagery, and compassion. His subtly dissonant rhymes and side-stepping meters carry us through the realms of puzzlement and sorrow to an intimated grace. The size of his poems is small but their scope is vast.”

Poets & Writers will host a reading and reception in honor of Kennedy in May in New York City.


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11. Hugo Awards Finalists Announced: The Graphic Novel Nominees, Without The Drama

hugo award headerHere are this year’s nominees, along with the voting results from last year.  (The Hugos release the data every year, giving an interesting peek behind the curtain.)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY (785 ballots)

  • Ms. Marvel Vol 1: No Normal written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)
  • Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)
  • Saga, Volume 3 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
  • Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate by Carter Reid (The Zombie Nation)

Here’s how the voting works.

Attendees (and sponsors) of certain Worldcons are allowed to nominate and vote on the Hugo Awards.

(It’s a popularity contest, although the ideals state that this is an award of merit, to select the best in each category, voted on by fans. As with any fandom, there is contention and controversy, but we’ll ignore that all for now.)

What is interesting is that the voting results are released each year, right after the awards banquet.

Here are the results from last year’s Hugo Awards, listing titles which were nominated, as well as the final voting tallies.

The nominees:

Best Graphic Story (552 Ballots)

  • 164 Saga, Volume 2 Written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples 29.7%
  • 68 Schlock Mercenary: Broken Wind By Howard Tayler 12.3% *
  • 36 “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who” Written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Jimmy Broxton 6.5%
  • 36 “Time” By Randall Munroe 6.5%
  • 28 The Meathouse Man Adapted from the story by George R.R. Martin and illustrated by Raya Golden 5.1%
  • 28 Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City Written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright 5.1%
  • 24 Locke & Key Vol. 6: Alpha & Omega Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodríguez 4.3%
  • 23 Girl Genius 12: Agatha Heterodyne and the Siege of Mechanicsburg Phil and Kaja Foglio; Cheyenne Wright 4.2%
  • 22 Boxers and Saints Gene Luen Yang and Lark Pien 4.0%
  • 21 Spacetrawler Christopher Baldwin 3.8%
  • 20 Young Avengers Vol. 1: Style > Substance Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie 3.6%
  • 19 Nimona Noelle Stevenson 3.4%
  • 18 Lazarus Vol. 1: Family Greg Rucka & Michael Lark 3.3%
  • 16 Hawkeye Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon Matt Fraction, David Aja, Javier Pulido 2.9%
  • 16 The Unwritten Vol. 7: The Wound Mike Carey & Peter Gross 2.9%
  • 15 Gunnerkrigg Court Volume 4: Materia Thomas Siddell 2.7%

*Not eligible in 2013

[For the record, “Schlock Mercenary” was the Sad Puppies recommendation.]

Just 5% of the votes cast are required to make the final list!

So, how did the final voting precede?

2014 Final Results for Best Graphic Story

3,587 total voters. 25% cutoff = 897 voters.

2,344 valid votes cast in Category.

Race for Position 1
Nominee Pass 1 Pass 2 Pass 3 Pass 4 Pass 5 Runoff
Time 715 716 742 820 1027 1511
Saga, Volume 2 566 566 597 667 810 0
Girl Genius, Volume 13 397 398 439 582 0 0
The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who 382 383 417 0 0 0
The Meathouse Man 186 187 0 0 0 0
No Award 98 0 0 0 0 223
Preference 2344 2250 2195 2069 1837 1734
No Preference 0 94 149 275 507 610
Total Votes 2344 2344 2344 2344 2344 2344
Race for Position 2
Nominee Pass 1 Pass 2 Pass 3 Pass 4
Saga, Volume 2 735 737 786 911
Girl Genius, Volume 13 582 586 637 865
The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who 498 500 550 0
The Meathouse Man 222 223 0 0
No Award 134 0 0 0
Preference 2171 2046 1973 1776
No Preference 173 298 371 568
Total Votes 2344 2344 2344 2344
Race for Position 3
Nominee Pass 1 Pass 2 Pass 3
Girl Genius, Volume 13 808 819 920
The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who 686 696 802
The Meathouse Man 300 304 0
No Award 188 0 0
Preference 1982 1819 1722
No Preference 362 525 622
Total Votes 2344 2344 2344
Race for Position 4
Nominee Pass 1
The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who 1020
The Meathouse Man 443
No Award 277
Preference 1740
No Preference 604
Total Votes 2344
Race for Position 5
Nominee Pass 1
The Meathouse Man 944
No Award 413
Preference 1357
No Preference 987
Total Votes 2344

6 Comments on Hugo Awards Finalists Announced: The Graphic Novel Nominees, Without The Drama, last added: 4/8/2015
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12. 2015 Glyph Award nominees announced, led by Matty’s Rocket


The nominees for this year’s Glyph Awards, recognizing  the best in comics made by, for, and about Black people in 2014, have just been announced.  The winners will be announced on Friday, May 15, 2015, from 6:30p.m. – 9p.m., at the at ECBACC  in PhIladelphia. This is the 10th year for the Glyph Awards, and they spotlight some very praiseworthy material that deserves wider attention.

The leader in nominations this year is Matty’s Rocket by Tim Fielder, a cool animatic-styled Afrofuturist “Diesel Funk” story about an interplanetary invasion and the woman who must stop it. Check it and the rest of the nominees out.


• BASS REEVES: TALES OF THE TALENTED TENTH ; Joel Christian Gill, Writer and Artist


• MATTY’S ROCKET; Tim Fielder, Writer and Artist
• SHAFT; David F. Walker, Writer; Bilquis Evely, Artist

• MATTY’S ROCKET; Tim Fielder
• TECHWATCH; Ernesto (Nesto) Vicente

• Keef Cross; DAY BLACK
• Tim Fielder; MATTY’S ROCKET

• Nelson Blake 2; ARTIFACTS
• Dan Mora; QUIXOTE
• Stacey Robinson; KID CODE

• Merce; DAY BLACK; Keef Cross, Writer and Artist
• Marsalis J. Parker; BLACKWAX BOULEVARD; Dmitri Jackson, Writer and Artist
• Bass Reeves; BASS REEVES: TALES OF THE TALENTED TENTH ; Joel Christian Gill, Writer and Artist
• John Shaft ; SHAFT; David F. Walker, Writer; Bilquis Evely, Artist

• Markesha Nin; KAMIKAZE; Alan and Carrie Tupper, Writers and Artists; Havana Nguyen, Artist
• Ajala Storm; AJALA A SERIES OF ADVENTURES; Robert Garrett, Writer; N Steven Harris and Walt Msonza Barna, Artists
• Emily Tanaka – The Geisha; PROJECT GEISHA; Eli Ivory, Writer and Artist
• Matty Watty; MATTY’S ROCKET; Tim Fielder, Writer and Artist

• Alverne Ball and Jason Reeves, Writers; Lee Moyer and Ari Syahrazad, Artists; ONE NATION: OLD DRUIDS
• Deron Bennett, Writer; Dan Mora and Khary Randolph, Artists; QUIXOTE

• BLACKWAX BOULEVARD; Dmitri Jackson, Writer and Artist
• KAMIKAZE; Alan and Carrie Tupper, Writers and Artists; Havana Nguyen, Artist

• ANT HILL THE ANTHOLOGY VOL 2; Starr Skills Studios
• TECHWATCH; Chameleon Creations

• BLAZE BROTHERS VOL 1; Vernon Whitlock III and Matthew Scott Krentz, Writers; Marat Mychaels and Dietrich Smith, Artists
• INTERCEPTOR; Brandon Easton, Writer; Russ Leach and Max Dunbar, Artists
• KAMIKAZE; Alan and Carrie Tupper, Writers and Artists; Havana Nguyen, Artist
• ONENATION: SAFEHOUSE; Jason Reeves, Writer; Samax Amen and Deon De Lange, Artists

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13. 2015 Hugo Awards Shortlist Revealed

The 2015 Hugo Awards shortlist has been revealed. The science fiction awards are organized into seventeen different categories including: Best novel, best new writer and best short story. Each category represents the top five nominees in the category.

Both attending and supporting (non-attending) members of the 2015 Worldcon can vote on the final ballot. The winners will be revealed at the show in August. We’ve got the shortlist for the best novel, best novella, best novelette and best short story after the jump. Follow this link to see the nominees for every category. 2015 Hugo Awards Shortlist

Best Novel (1827 nominating ballots)

  • Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
  • The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
  • The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
  • Lines of Departure, Marko Kloos (47North)
  • Skin Game, Jim Butcher (Roc Books)

Best Novella (1083 nominating ballots)

  • Big Boys Don’t Cry, Tom Kratman (Castalia House)
  • \"Flow\", Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, 11-2014)
  • One Bright Star to Guide Them, John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • \"Pale Realms of Shade\", John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • \"The Plural of Helen of Troy\", John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House)

Best Novelette (1031 nominating ballots)

  • \"Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium\", Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, 05-2014)
  • \"Championship B’tok\", Edward M. Lerner (Analog, 09-2014)
  • \"The Journeyman: In the Stone House\", Michael F. Flynn (Analog, 06-2014)
  • \"The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale\", Rajnar Vajra (Analog, 07/08-2014)
  • \"Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus\", John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)

Best Short Story (1174 nominating ballots)

  • \"Goodnight Stars\", Annie Bellet (The End is Now (Apocalypse Triptych Book 2), Broad Reach Publishing)
  • \"On A Spiritual Plain\", Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, 11-2014)
  • \"The Parliament of Beasts and Birds\", John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • \"Totaled\", Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, 07-2014)
  • \"Turncoat\", Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)

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14. 2015 Teen Tech Week Grant Winner – Sarah Ryan

When I started as the Teen Services Librarian at the Hancock County Public Library in 2013, one of the first things I noticed about HCPL teens was their love for comics and manga. My desk is located next to the teen room, parallel to our comic and manga shelving. Day after day at 3:30 p.m. teens would flock to that section and take over the entire space in the teen room. Inspired, I started a monthly comic book club and anime/ manga club – which just celebrated its 1st birthday!

During our clubs, teens discuss the respective genres. Many create their own art or have started drawing their own comic/ manga panels. Numerous teens expressed their interest in making comics at the library.

Our library uses the yearly Collaborative Summer Library Program themes, and this year’s focus is superheroes. While planning for Summer Reading 2015, superheroes and villains were dancing in my head. Teen Tech Week, Summer Reading, and the wishes of our library’s teens came together and formed a program plan. The grant funds awarded from YALSA and Best Buy were used to purchase 10-Wacom Intuos digital drawing tablets equipped with comic-making software.

The goal of the Creating Comics program is for teens come to the library during weekly open computer lab hours (Monday – Wednesday, 3 – 6 p.m.) to practice and master creating digital artwork and comics. I staff the lab, so teens can ask questions about using the tablets or the software. Teen Tech Week was a great success. We had eager teens in everyday to work with the drawing tablets, and they stayed the entire duration of the program. A total of thirty-five teens used the drawing tablets during our three-day Creating Comics kick-off. Since Teen Tech Week, we’ve consistently had five teens on drawing tablets daily during open lab. We’ve seen several short comics completed and fantastic artwork. We are also in contact with local high school art teachers and STEM educators who are helping direct students to the library to give as many teens the opportunity to use this new technology. We plan on taking a drawing tablet with us to schools when we do summer reading talks to promote the Creating Comics program.

3-9-15 Creating Comics poster

Between now and June, teens can use the tablets to develop their artwork for personal portfolios and college submissions. They can also start working on their own comics. During Summer Reading (June – July) we will be running a weekly Creating Comics program where teens will collaborate with their peers to create a comic storyboard, characters, and dialogue. Together they will create weekly web-comics that we’ll publish on the library’s teen webpage.  Teens will be learning a new technology, improving their artistic skills, and learning how to work in a drawing team.Teens Creating Comics 3-16-15

These tablets give teens the opportunity to work with technology and software they will encounter in college and the professional world. This drawing lab is the first experience many teens will have to this technology. We hope to reach as many teens as we can who are interested in careers in art, graphic design, or just looking to be inspired.

We are so thankful to YALSA and Best Buy for funding our Teen Tech Week and continuing programs through the summer. This grant has and will continue to make a huge impact on the artistic growth of Hancock County, Indiana teens.

You can follow Sarah and teen updates at Hancock County Public Library on Instagram or Twitter @HCPLibraryteens. Check out our web-comics over the summer at http://hcplibrary.org/teen/.



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15. 2015 Teen Tech Week Grant Winner - Penny Johnson


Last fall the Baraboo (WI) Public Library purchased two Xbox consoles, eight controllers and two large TV screens and introduced a drop-in Minecraft program for our teens.  Not surprisingly, our consoles have been well used.  But we wanted to find other uses for our investment.  Our goal for Teen Tech Week this year was to utilize our Xbox One consoles to offer some sort of digital literacy program.  Research found Project Spark, free software that works on the Xbox One and Windows 8.1.

Project Spark is a digital canvas which can be used to make games, movies, and other experiences.  A player can use the Xbox controller, keyboard and mouse, touch devices and Kinect to create environments, characters, events and story arcs.  Using if-then programming logic, players can design and customize a game down to the minutiae of the in-game object actions, such as dictating the movement of a tree branch every time a specific character is nearby.

Worlds and the created items and objects in those worlds are shareable.  Games can be saved and shared with friends and the greater gaming community if desired.

We asked local video game designer Kent Dance to spearhead five weeks of video game design workshops using Project Spark.  Kent is the creative designer at Wizard Quest, a popular attraction at nearby tourist town Wisconsin Dells.  Wizard Quest is an interactive life-size fantasy experience based on video game designs.

We applied for the 2015 Teen Tech Week grant sponsored by YALSA and Best Buy, and happily our proposal was chosen. We used the grant funds to purchase three Windows tablets that, coupled with our two Xbox One consoles, gave us five work stations for the workshops.  We also purchased an Xbox Kinect sensor bar to give us custom animation and audio input possibilities.  Grant funds were also used to rent a school bus to take us to Wizard Quest for a behind-the-scenes tour, an extremely popular finale to our workshops.

Kent did an excellent job of discussing game design as a career path.  He described his decision to earn a bachelor’s degree in video game design and what teens should be doing now if they are interested in this career.  He highlighted the different skills needed to create a video game and the types of specialists found on each design team.  He also discussed the more serious uses of video games, such as simulation training for doctors, pilots and the military.

We had about twenty participants at our weekly workshops, predominantly male.  They divided into “creative teams” and worked on each week’s challenge.  Completing the Project Spark tutorials, designing a landscape, determining an objective and writing a story arc, and creating a hero and a villain are examples of challenges given during the month.  Participants could name and save their games on the tablets or consoles and build on them each week.

Now that the workshops are over, teens can check out a game controller or tablet anytime and continue to work on their game during library hours.  The Project Spark programmers are now competing with the Minecraft players for use of the Xbox consoles!

Penny Johnson is a teen specialist at the Baraboo Public Library in Baraboo, Wisconsin. 


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16. National Book Awards Reveals Judges, Opens Applications

The National Book Foundation has revealed that judges for this year’s awards and has also opened up the application process.

The judging panels for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature brings together a combination of writers and literary experts. We have the full list for you after the jump. Publishers can apply to have their works considers at this link.

Each panel of judges will select a longlist of ten titles in each of the four categories. These titles will be revealed in mid-September. The shortlisted finalists will be announced on October 14. The winners in each category will be revealed at the 66thNational Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner in New York on November 18, 2015.

The Judges for the 2015 National Book Awards

Fiction panel: Daniel Alarcón, Jeffery Renard Allen, Sarah Bagby, Laura Lippman, David L. Ulin (chair)

Nonfiction panel: Diane Ackerman (chair), Patricia Hill Collins, John D’Agata, Paul Holdengraber, Adrienne Mayor

Poetry panel: Sherman Alexie, Willie Perdomo, Katha Pollitt, Tim Seibles (chair), Jan Weissmiller


Young People’s Literature panel: John Joseph Adams, Teri Lesesne, Laura McNeal (chair), G. Neri, Eliot Schrefer

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17. Yale Offers Scholarship For Summer Publishing Classes

Yale is offering scholarships for its intensive continuing education programs in book and magazine publishing courses.

The university will award four “Innovative Leader Scholarships” to mid- to senior-level book and magazine media professionals: one in book publishing in the US, one for magazine media publishing in the US, one in book publishing internationally and one in magazine publishing internationally.

The scholarship pays the $5,450 tuition cost for the Yale Publishing Course. Winners of the award must pay their own travel and housing costs. Applications for the 2015 Course are currently being accepted for July sessions. The magazine class will run July 12-17, 2015 and the book publishing class will run the week of July 19-24, 2015.

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18. ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’ Leads 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Award Nominations

Other multi-nominated shows include "Peg+Cat," the Moonbot short "Silent," and "All Hail King Julien."

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19. UN announces “Gender Equality: Picture It!” comics competition for Europe


Diversity is taking over the world! The UN Women, a department aimed at gender quality around the world, the European Commission, the Belgian Development Cooperation, and UNRIC (United Nations Regional Information Centre) is organizing a Comic and Cartoon Competition on Gender Equality. The competition is only open to European cartoonists between the ages of 18-28 (sorry US) but the winners gets a 1000EUR prize! Deadline is 20 April.

Somehow, I think they may just get a lot of entries.

Show us what comes to your mind when you reflect on women’s rights and empowerment and on the relationship between women and men. Get familiar with the Beijing Conference and its outcome document, the Beijing Declaration and its Platform for Action. Seek inspiration for your drawings in the 12 Critical Areas of Concern of the Beijing Platform!

The Competition is open to comic and cartoon artists and art students, from 18 to 28 years old, who are residents of an EU member state.

Please note that your comic or cartoon must be without words.


One First Prize: 1000 EUR
One Second Prize: 500 EUR
Three Third Prizes: 200 EUR each
The five finalists will be invited to Brussels to the Competition awards ceremony in summer 2015. The costs for travel and stay will be borne by the Organising Entities. In addition, the finalists’ and semi-finalists’ drawings will be published in a booklet and may be considered for exhibition as well as for further publication.

Finalists will be selected by a jury composed of professional comic artists, gender equality experts and communication experts:

Pierre Kroll, Belgian Comic Artist, Member of Cartooning for Peace
Marlène Pohle, Comic Artist, Vice-President of Federation of Cartoonists Organisations
Salla Saastamoinen, Director for Equality, European Commission
Alexander de Croo, Minister of Development Cooperation of Belgium
Sylvie Braibant, Editor-in-Chief TV5MONDE
Nanette Braun, Chief of Communications and Advocacy, UN Women
The submission deadline is 20 April 2015.


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20. Alexander Watson Wins Guggenheim Prize

Alexander Watson has won the Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History for Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I. The prize, which is awarded annually to the best book in military history in English, includes a $50,000 purse.

The winner was announced at ceremony at the New-York Historical Society last night. The book, from Basic Books, is an analysis of World War I from the perspective of the Central Powers.

The title was one of three works that were shortlisted for the prize. The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams, and the Making of Modern China by Julia Lovell (Overlook Press) and The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century by David Reynolds were also nominated for the award.


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21. Something something something. Caldecott Honor (!!!)

So many months (and so many adventures) have passed since my last post that I think I'm just going to have to skip over a ton of things and go straight to this:

It is still hard to believe this actually happened. I've been pinching myself a lot.

On the morning of February 2nd I received a phone call from a room of cheering Caldecott committee members, telling me that my book NANA IN THE CITY had won a Caldecott Honor. Wow. Whoa. Oh my gosh.
Just a few of the many emotions I've felt these last several weeks.
I am truly humbled.

To know that the committee saw something special in my little book just blows me away. I cannot wait to thank them in person and accept the award at the annual ALA conference in San Fransisco this June.

For now, here's a little Times Square marquee thank you.  ♡♡♡

Thank you, Caldecott committee! from Lauren Castillo on Vimeo.

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22. South Korean, Estonian Filmmakers Top Holland Animation Festival

South Korea took home the feature film prize at HAFF for the second year in a row.

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23. Man Booker International Prize 2015 Finalists Revealed

The Man Booker International Prize judges have revealed the ten finalists for its sixth annual prize, which honors writers for achievements in fiction.

The authors come from all around the globe and stand to win a purse of £60,000 award. Six new nationalities are represented on the list for the first time this year. This includes writers from: Libya, Mozambique, Guadeloupe, Hungary, South Africa and Congo. Eighty percent of the authors have been translated into English, a large proportion compared to year’s past.

We’ve got the complete list after the jump.

Man Booker International Prize 2015 Finalists

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24. Sjohnna McCray Wins Walt Whitman Award

Poet Sjohnna McCray is the 2015 recipient of the Walt Whitman Award, an esteemed first-book prize for poetry given annually by the Academy of American Poets each year. McCray’s manuscript for Rapture earned him the award.

McCray will receive $5000 and his first book will published by Graywolf Press as part of the prize. In addition, McCray will be invited to a six-week residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy.

An Ohio native, McCray’s work has been published in a number of journals, including: The Southern Review, Chicago Quarterly Review and Shenandoah. Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Tracy K. Smith selected McCray for the award.

“These poems are so beautifully crafted, so courageous in their truth-telling, and so full of what I like to think of as lyrical wisdom—the visceral revelations that only music, gesture and image, working together, can impart—that not only did they stop me in my tracks as a judge, but they changed me as a person,” stated Tracy K. Smith of his work Rapture. “Sjohnna McCray’s is an ecstatic and original voice, and he lends it to family, history, race and desire in ways that are healing and enlarging. Rapture announces a prodigious talent and a huge human heart.”

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25. Harvey Award nomination ballots are out—here’s how you vote


Awards seasons continues to barrel along, with the announcement that Harvey Awards nomination ballet is online and available. Nominations are for work published in the 2014 calendar year (cough cough This One Summer, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, cough cough) and the winners will be presented Saturday, September 26th, 2015 as part of the Baltimore Comic-Con.
Voting is open to comics professionals; the deadline is Monday, May 11th, 2014.
Sponsors for the last year’s 2014 Harvey Awards included Presenting Sponsors Cards, Comics & Collectibles and the Baltimore Comic-Con; Gold Sponsors BOOM! Studios and Comic WOW!, Silver Sponsors Akuna Entertainment, ComicMix, Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, Insight Studios Group; Painted Visions Comics, Top Shelf Productions, and Valiant; and Gift Bag Sponsors Abrams ComicArts, Archie Comic Publications, BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics, DC Entertainment, Del Rey Publishing, Dynamite Entertainment, First Second, Popfun Collectibles, and Valiant Entertainment. Companies interested in sponsoring this year’s awards can email harveys @ baltimorecomiccon.com.

Over the year’s there has been much controversy about voting blocks getting in various comics deemed “unworthy.” The best way to counter that is to up the number of votes by participating. If you can’t think of what to vote for there will soon be a number of online suggestions from publishers. Or if I might suggest this list of best graphic novels of 2014 just to jog your memory. IF you know of other best of lists as memory aids, post links in the comments.

2014 was an amazing and incredible year of comics with depth and width and everything else. The Harveys can reflect that but it depends on YOU!

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