Monday, June 17, 2013

Ann Patchett Wins Women's National Book Association Award

I was lucky enough to be in Nashville last week, attending the the annual national chapter meeting of the Women's National Book Association, when the marvelous Ann Patchett accepted the WNBA Award. (WNBA-- the group is about books, not basketball!)

From PW Daily (Publishers Weekly), June 12:

Author and bookstore owner Ann Patchett accepted her WNBA Award at a reception at Parnassus Books on June 9 from Award chairperson Nancy Stewart of Ingram Book Group and Women’s National Book Association president Valerie Tomaselli of MTM Publishing. (left to right).
Photo Credit: Annette Haley 

From my iPhotos:

Yup, that's me chatting with Ann Patchett about her books. We are in her bookstore, Parnassus Books, in Nashville, Tennessee. (She opened this independent bookstore in 2009 when the brick-and-mortar independent bookstore options in Nashville had become slim-to-nonexistent.) I told her how much I loved her sentences . . . how they draw me back to the books over and over again. She thought that was interesting because she doesn't consider sentences to be her strength in writing. "What do you consider your strength to be?" I asked. "Plot!" she said, and very decisively, too. "I'm good at plot." Well, she is, of course. It's just that that's not what I would zero in on as the main reason I read her work. Fascinating, and great to think about.

What is the Women's National Book Association Award? It's an award given every other year to "a living American woman who derives part or all of her income from books and allied arts, and who has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties and responsibilities of her profession or occupation." 

The Award has been given continuously since 1940. A few of the many other recipients have been: Pearl Buck (author), Eleanor Roosevelt (former First Lady and author), Barbara Knopf (publisher), Barbara Bush (First Lady, literacy advocate), Doris Kearns Goodwin (historian, author), Nancy Pearl (librarian, author NPR personality). 

The WNBA also gives out other awards and grants, and runs an annual writing contest. You can be part of this organization, which is open to all women (and men) who are involved in the world of books, from publishers to librarians to writers to readers, and everyone in between. There are networking and publicity opportunities involved. To read more about the WNBA and a Chapter near you that you can join, go to the national website at From the site's home page you can access the list of Chapters, and go to their websites to find out more about them and apply for membership. (You don't have to live in a city where there's a chapter. You can join as a network member and affiliate with a chapter of your choice.)


  1. Awesome she won and that you were there.

  2. Congratulations to Ann! It is very well deserved. And I'm so jealous that you got to be there!

    1. It was cool to get to be there, I've got to admit. : )

  3. Linda, I am so excited to hear about your trip. What an honor for her to receive this award, and for you to meet an incredible woman!