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Best Adirondack books of 2007 honored

June 18, 2008
Adirondack Daily Enterprise
BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE — Close to 80 writers, editors, publishers and book lovers gathered at the Blue Mountain Center on Sunday, June 8 to hear the announcements of the Adirondack Center for Writing’s third annual Adirondack Literary Award winners and to honor regional author Anne LaBastille with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Adirondack Literary Awards celebrate and acknowledge the books that were written by Adirondack authors or published in the region in the previous year.

One of the winning authors lives in the Tri-Lakes area: Randy Lewis of Paul Smiths.

In addition to the juried awards, the Adirondack Center for Writing annually offers the People’s Choice Award, which is voted on by ACW members for the best book of the year, regardless of genre. This year’s People’s Choice went to Lewis’ “Actively Adirondack: Reflections on Mountain Life in the 21st Century,” which was published by Hungry Bear Publishing, owned by Andy Flynn of Saranac Lake.

For the first time, an award of Special Appreciation was given to editor Lee Manchester and to his publisher, Nicholas K. Burns, for the collection and preservation of Mary MacKenzie’s “The Plains of Abraham: A History of North Elba and Lake Placid.” Manchester is a former Jay resident and Lake Placid News reporter who now lives in Staten Island and works for Wagner College.

For Best Book of Fiction, judges chose “Within a Forest Dark: An Adirondack Tale of Love and Suspicion,” by Michael Virtanen and published by Lost Pond Press. This murder mystery novel takes place in the Adirondacks, Saratoga Springs and the Albany area. Virtanen is a newsman for The Associated Press’ Albany Bureau. Lost Pond Press is owned by Phil Brown of Saranac Lake.

The poetry field, which officials said was particularly strong this year, resulted in a tie vote. “Wet Apples, White Blood,” by Naomi Guttman and published by McGill-Queens University Press, and “The Origin of the Milky Way,” by Barbara Louise Ungar and published by Gival Press, shared the top honor.

Best Children’s Picture Book went to author Hope Irvin Marston for “My Little Book Of Manatees,” published by Windward Publishing.

Best Children’s Literature, Young Adult, went to “Spitfire,” by Kate Messner and published by North Country Books.

Best Book of Nonfiction, Memoir went to “My Brother’s Madness,” by Paul Pines and published by Curbstone Press.

Best Book of Nonfiction went to Lawrence P. Gooley’s “Oliver’s War: An Adirondack Rebel Battles the Rockefeller Fortune” (Bloated Toe Publishing).

Finally, nationally acclaimed author, storyteller and publisher Joe Bruchac gave a tribute to writer and environmentalist Anne LaBastille, pointing out the scholarly achievements she made in the fields of biology and environmental studies. Bruchac described her as a lovely, small and seemingly delicate woman who could have led a comfortable life in any university setting but who chose to live her life alone in the remote wilderness, “a movie star, slightly miscast in a flannel shirt,” and who has been a role model for young women. LaBastille, author of the popular “Woodswoman” series and a member of ACW’s advisory board, could not attend the ceremony for health reasons but asked that her friend, Isabella Worthen, accept the award on her behalf.

The judges were:

Nonfiction and Memoir: Bibi Wein and Jerry McGovern

Fiction: Ellen Rocco and Joseph Bruchac

Poetry: Paul Pines and Maurice Kenny

Children’s Literature: Danielle Hoepfl and Nancy Beattie


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