Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Adam Johnson has always been a winner in my book



The announcement of a major literary award is always cause for celebration, but how much more exciting when it's a book you love, by a really delightful author. Such was the case earlier today, when it was announced that San Francisco novelist Adam Johnson was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel, The Orphan Master's Son.  (And BTW, Pulitzer Committee, see how much more fun it is when you pick a winner?)

Now, I'd encountered Adam around San Francisco at various literary events over the years, and he was always pleasant, but I never quite got around to reading his first novel.  He really came onto my radar when his editor, the awesome David Ebershoff, sent me a galley of The Orphan Master's Son, along with a personal letter.  I, of course, geekily wrote about that here, and suffered further embarrassment when Ebershoff left a comment on the blog post.  D'oh! 

When I finally got around to reading the galley, I absolutely loved it!  You may read my review here.  Ultimately, out of the 202 books I read last year, it made my top 10 list.  The Orphan Master's Son is simply an extraordinary novel.

I was fortunate not only attend Adam's local book launch at the Booksmith, but I filmed his talk and posted the video to the blog.  I had my first substantive interaction with the man when he signed my galley.  Now, you know that thing where people say, "It couldn't happen to a nicer guy"?  Read on. 

We talked for a few minutes, I asked if I could posted the footage here, and must have given Adam my calling card.  I know this, because a couple of weeks later, I received the sweetest note in the mail.  Snail mail, people!  Believe me, that's a first.  He thanked me for posting the video I shot, and for all the support I give to books and authors.  And he meant it.  Plus, the man walks the walk, because I continue to run into him occasionally at other--often less established--authors' lit events.  He comes out to support his peers.

The next time I bumped into him it was months later, and I just wanted to thank him for the thoughtful note.  He was talking to some people, so I approached quietly in order to reintroduce myself.  Before I even could, he greeted me warmly by name.  I was stunned.  He then launched into this... this... ridiculously flattering introduction to his friends and we all chatted in the most convivial way.  Seriously, what a nice guy! 

Suffice it to say, I was rather jubilant upon hearing the happy news.  Great book, great guy!  I'm sorry
the excitement of the day was quickly overshadowed by deeply sad news out of Boston, but I'm thrilled for Adam Johnson.  I hope to have the opportunity to congratulate him on this honor in person sometime soon.  And more than anything, I hope that this new visibility brings new readers to his fantastic novel. 

4 comments:

  1. I think I must be the only person who hated Johnson's book.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, you're not the only one, but you're definitely in the minority. It's very different, so I can see how it might not be for everyone. Personally, that's what I liked so much about it.

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    2. I don,t know why you hated Johnson's book.

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