This year’s contest attracted 3,175 total entries, with over 2,500 entries in the national categories and over 600 entries in the regional competition. Books came from 49 U.S. states (come on, North Dakota!), D.C., and U.S. Virgin Islands; 9 Canadian provinces (get with it, Northwest Territories!), and 16 countries around the world: Trinidad to Thailand, Croatia to Czech Republic, and France to Finland.
I’ve gone over some of the past winners of different categories – famed Canadian author Ray Robertson won for Best Regional Fiction (Canada East) in 2007 for his novel Moody Food, Dave Eggers won in 2007 for Best General Fiction with his novel What is the What, and Jim Harrison took home the gold in 2001 with his collection of novellas The Beast God Forgot to Invent. Pretty heavy hitters to be in company with. I’d better start lifting weights or something.
So, I humbly accept this award – although I won’t be at the ceremony next week in L.A., I have been informed by my publicist that a representative of ECW will be in attendance, and will accept the award with a photocopied image of my face adhered with scotch tape to his visage. Classy.