I tend not to mention social events here because I worry about people feeling envious, left out, or suspicious that I’m being bought. But I must mention my Thursday lunch with Lois Lowry because in her blog post about it, she wrote, “… Two of them just back from serving on the Newbery Committee! and though of course they can’t describe their process of deliberation…at least I was able to tell them what a wonderful choice I thought they had made with this year’s winner. “
And now since I did mention the lunch, I might as well tell all. We were at the elegant Eleven Madison Park and the food was superb and beautiful. Lois is right that the beet salad was exquisite in presentation. I can’t comment on how it tasted as I had the excellent mushroom risotto followed by red snapper. (Boy, does this sound like a really bad restaurant review? That is another reason I don’t write about these events — I can’t do it well at all!)
More important was the conversation. A charming and smart woman, Lois told an extremely amusing story about her stint as a National Book Award judge and others related to The Willoughbys. How terrific that she ranges so far and wide as a writer, trying out new forms all the time. I have read part of the book and so far it reminds me of M. T. Anderson’s Thrilling Tales more than Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events to which it is already being compared. But even more so, she seems to be placing herself consciously, tongue-in-cheek, into an even older tradition of snarky children’s book writers — Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll, and P. L. Travers come to mind. In fact Dahl and Travers are included in the book’s bibliography. Yes, there is one along with a witty glossary.
A pleasant coda to my Newbery week.