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Nancy Pearl Action Figure

Nancy Pearl, once called the “global rockstar of the literary world”, is a Northwest treasure. Best known for her book and program on the Seattle Channel called “Book Lust”, she has won award after award, including Librarian of the Year from Library Journal and the 2021 Librarian Award for Outstanding Service presented by the National Book Foundation. She even has her own action figure,

She has also leant her name to the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association contest for published authors. To say that I’ve had my eye on this contest for a long time is putting it mildly. Young writers lust after publication like a cosmonaut after a distant star. They dream of the day they will bask in that burning light, secretly doubting they can reach that far. When I first entered PNWA’s unpublished contest, I was fresh out of grad school in 2008. Year after year, I submitted drafts of all three of my novels. Where Are We Tomorrow? won the Literary/Mainstream contest in 2016. I was there at the awards ceremony, one of the most exciting moments of my life. In 2021, my Middle Grade novel was a finalist in the contest (though I did not win). But the Nancy Pearl contest for published authors, that was another level altogether.

Judged by librarians.

My heroes.

Entering the Nancy Pearl contest seemed very far away in 2016.

And so, it was with hope and trepidation that I sent my book into this year’s contest. I didn’t dare dream I would win. I saw Nancy Pearl speak a few years ago when she and NPR host Steve Scher came out to our island. Her breadth of knowledge about books is unequaled. What I love about her is that she reads in every genre, on every subject and her suggestions are always surprising and informative. The best librarians help people find books they would not have known about.

Now, having won the Nancy Pearl Book Award, perhaps I can dare dream Nancy Pearl herself will find one of my books and lead readers to them.

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