Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valiska Gregory Wins the Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Grant!

Jane Yolen teamed up with SCBWI and established this grant to say to published mid-list authors, "We honor you.  We recognize you.  We are still paying attention to your work.  And we want to help..."

And the 2013 winner of the Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Grant is Valiska Gregory!

Valiska being cheered onstage by the thousand attendees at the 2013 SCBWI Winter Conference!

I interviewed Valiska to find out more...

Lee:  While it's all still fresh, tell me about finding out you won the Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Award!

Valiska: I received a conference call from Lin Oliver and Stephen Mooser and Lin told me I'd won the Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Award. I was so startled that I'm convinced I sounded like an idiot. I was delighted, of course, but uncharacteristically tongue-tied. I kept wanting to say, "Really? Are you sure?" but I restrained myself. So I'll say how I felt now: "How wonderful!"

Lee:  How do you see this recognition helping your career?

Valiska: I think recognition from the SCBWI often helps a book or an author find a new niche, and after a long time in which illness prevented me from writing, I hope to re-enter the profession I have loved so much. I'm hoping for a jump-start now that I have been awarded a fancy battery.

Lee:  You've won Parent's Choice, Booksellers' Pick of the Lists and State Awards, and now this Award. What's your advice to other writers about defining success?

Valiska:  I don't think there's any one definition of success that fits all writers. For some writers, just having a story written for a grandchild will be enough while others aim directly for the Newbery. I think what's important is to figure out what success means for you. For me, it's the writing itself that brings me the most joy, or perhaps hearing from a reader who found that something I've written touched them or made them laugh. On the other hand, receiving an award is a delight, in part because the attention an award receives can often help books and readers connect more quickly.

Lee:  Tell me more about your plans for the Podcast Books section of your website.

Valiska:  Perfectly good books go out of print every day, and I decided that rather than seeing the last ten copies of one of my books wasting away in a box, one way for children to have access to them would be to put them on a podcast that a child (or parent) could download and listen to.

Lee:  What's the next project you want to get out in the world? (pitch me!)

Valiksa:  I have several picture books completed that I want my agent, Tracey Adams, to start circulating, and I have wanted for a long time to continue work on a novel inspired by Inuit legend. I also have an I-Can-Read series about a library mouse who learns to write by using the torn cereal box litter in his cage. I've been lucky to have editors who allowed me to try different genres—from comedy to tragedy, from real life to myths—and I can't wait to get started on one of the too many ideas I currently have in my head. 

Congratulations, Valiska! 

You can find out more about Valiska at her website here.


Kristi Valiant said...

Congrats, Valiska! What a well-deserved honor.

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Teresa Robeson said...

Hooray for your award, Valiska! Like Kristi said, it is well-deserved. :)

rebecca said...

I am so proud of Valiska! And proud of SCBWI and Jane Yolen for establishing this award, and for honoring Valiska. I just know good things are around the bend and can't wait to see them unfold.

Peggy said...

Congratulations, Val! You are the perfect winner of the first Jane Yolen Award! I look forward to reading more of your books.