What we’ve been up to…
On behalf of everyone involved in the 2009 Florida Book Awards competition, we want to send out a heartfelt congratulations to this year’s winners. Thank you to everyone who entered the competition; not only do we wish to honor our Florida authors with the Florida Book Awards, our Florida authors truly honor us and everyone fortunate enough to live in our beautiful state through their rich contributions to Florida history and culture.
We’ve been busy in the FBA offices since we announced our 2009 Florida Book Awards Medalists in early March! Not only have we been organizing events to celebrate our winners and the Florida literary community that sustains us, we are also in the very early stages of planning for our 2010 competition (keep following the blog for updates about 2010… We’ve got some fantastic things in the works!)
First up was the inaugural Tallahassee Festival of Books and Writers Conference on March 19-21. Although we here at the FBA weren’t directly involved in putting the weekend together, (complements for that go to Tallahassee Writers Association and FSU, and they both did a fantastic job) we were certainly well represented! The festivities were kicked off with a panel discussion that featured our Director, Wayne Wiegand, and John Fenstermaker, a member of our Executive Board and co-founder of the Florida Book Awards. The rest of the weekend was filled with panels and talks by past and present FBA winners including Cynthia Barnett, Susan Womble, Michael Lister, Julianna Baggott, Mike Grunwald, Rodney Hurst, Barbara Hamby, David Kirby, and Glynn Marsh Alam. If you attended, you might have seen our very own Communications Director Micah Vandegrift working the used book sale!
On Wednesday, March 24th, we followed up our busy weekend with two lovely events to honor our 2009 FBA medalists. First, we celebrated the very first Florida Author’s Day with a luncheon at the Governor’s mansion. The afternoon felt like Florida at its finest–soft breezes, sunshine, white fluffy clouds, and lemonade with none other than the Governor himself. I can’t imagine a better setting in which to meet and really talk to our 2009 winners and their families for the first time. It’s always fun and little surreal to finally get to meet people with whom you’ve only corresponded through email; not only did we get to put names to faces for our winners, we also got to meet several important people who work so diligently on behalf of the FBA as a part of our partner organizations. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard (and at the last minute!) to put this event together.
Later that evening we honored our Gold medalists at the Florida Heritage Awards Ceremony. Dean of the FSU Libraries and FBA Executive Committee member Julia Zimmerman introduced our winners as Governor Crist and Secretary of State Browning looking on. Dr. Wiegand accepted the awards for our Gold medalists who were unable to attend (meaning he got 3 photos with the Gov!). As much as we missed our absent winners, I think everyone got a kick out of seeing Dr. Wiegand run laps around the stage. After the ceremony, our authors signed copies of their books for fans and friends alike.
A big thanks to all of our authors who were able to make it to either or both of these events–we were thrilled and honored to have you. Stay tuned for a new post next week about our trip to the Florida Library Association Annual Conference last week in Orlando!