I was lucky enough to attend the presentation of the 2023 St. Louis Literary Award to Neil Gaiman this past week. I’ve been a big fan of Gaiman’s work for some time and even went a bit out of my way to see him about five years ago when he visited Kansas University. He is included in my list of influential authors in the On Authors section of this blog. The St. Louis Literary Award is presented by Saint Louis University (SLU), so this was a little closer to home for me and I was thrilled at the opportunity to go. The award was presented Thursday evening on April 13th and a follow-up Craft Talk was held on April 14th. I attended both and bought probably too many signed copies of his books including books I already had at home on the shelf.
Despite living near St. Louis nearly all my life, I never even knew the St. Louis Literary Award existed until this year. The award began in 1967 and has been awarded to Margaret Atwood, Stephen Sondheim, Salmon Rushdie, Joan Didion, Chinua Achebe, Joyce Carol Oates, and Tennessee Williams to name a few. And now it has been awarded to Neil Gaiman.
Neil is a treasure and it is always fun to listen to him give talks or answer questions, and it is also fun to read his books. I’ve put a few that I have not yet read in my list of books to read soon, including The Graveyard Book after he talked about how long it took him to finally write it (25 years from idea to publication!). SLU recorded both sessions mentioned above, and I’ve included the award presentation below (as it was the only one available at the time of this post) for you to view if you wish so you can get part of the experience I had. Being in person is quite different than a recording, but sometimes we have to settle for less or nothing at all I guess. Similar to how a story is always different on paper than what you have/had in your head.
The day before he accepted the award, or perhaps that very day, it was announced that Neil was on Time‘s list of 100 most influential people of 2023 (talk about timing!). Both accomplishments are well deserved and add to Neil’s long list of awards and recognitions. Despite it all, he is a humble man who still feels imposter syndrome. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you’d prefer to hear things from Neil himself.
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