RS: Which is what I felt about SLJ’s report—“Surprise! The Newbery Goes to a Popular Book.”
NG: I thought SLJ had made this up, that people were saying, “Gaiman is a foul-mouthed yahoo!” I had just written a lengthy and well-considered blog entry, which, actually, was probably the only thing that kept me sane during the 40 minutes between getting the news I had won and being able to tell anybody. [Laughter] The Twitter just sort of went, “Waaaaaaaaaaaah! My God, I did it!”
RS: I thought that SLJ report was…
NG: I thought it was stupid. I’ve been reading the whole thing about what kind of book should win the Newbery with an interest that was not personal. I did not consider that The Graveyard Book would be in the running, or at least I figured that if it was, it would probably be in the top 30, if there was a top 30. It had not occurred to me that it was actually likely to be anything other than—if the gods smiled and the world was right—possibly a Newbery Honor Book.
My favorite comment honestly was the one from the Guardian, where somebody in the U.K. just wrote an essay that said, “Well, you know, they’ve been arguing about whether the Newbery winner should be popular or whether it should be excellent, and they’ve got The Graveyard Book, which effectively demolishes the entire argument, because it’s both. So there.”
Roger Sutton interviews Neil Gaiman at School Library Journal.