The 2009 Whitney Awards

Before I start chattin' about the Whitney Awards, I need to announce the winner of the "Who's Those Mostly Bald Guys?" contest. The answer  is . . . 

John Ferguson & BJ Rowley!
The winner of the contest is Noble M Standing! 
Please email me your snail mail address.

The first time I attended The Whitney Awards was for the 2008 Awards. (If you don't know what the Whitney Awards are, go here to check it out.) As a wanna-be author, I sat in awe as I watched emotions play across the finalist’s faces – anticipation, disappointment, and a few who radiated joy as their books were announced as the winner in their categories.  In that aspect, this year’s 2009 Whitney Awards were no different. But there were a few changes that made this year stand out from years past.

This year’s gala was much more formal. This is me and my very handsome hubby in the lobby.

Attendees checked in at a ticket table hosted by two lovely women – Erin Wells and Danyelle Ferguson (um, yep – that’s me!).  In this pic, Erin & I are seated with my hubby & Crystal Liechty standing behind us.

Once tickets were in hand, guests were greeted by dashing ushers and gorgeous usherettes, one of whom led an attendee or group to their assigned tables and seats. Pictured above - Marion Jenson, Robison Wells, Crystal Liechty, Sheila Staley, and John Ferguson.

Below: Dave Wolverton (aka David Farland)

The award presentations were quite different as well. Last year, attendees found themselves chuckling and outright laughing at all the jokes the award presenters came up with. This year though, the presenters took a much more insightful and inspiring approach. Dan Wells’ speech introducing Dave Wolverton for the Outstanding Achievement Award had me and most of the room in tears, as he spoke of how Dave’s influence had spread and touched the lives of each person in the room. It made me (and hopefully other guests) think about how the things I do not only directly affect those around me, but are passed on to everyone they come in contact with as well. Dave encouraged all of the attendees to continue sharing and influencing the writing world for good. The 2009 Whitney Award Gala was most definitely both an entertaining and uplifting night for all who attended.

 Below: Elder Gerald N. Lund

Elder Gerald N. Lund was honored as with the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was quite funny and asked if this award meant that he was supposed to stop writing because he had accomplished his life's work in this area. He said he hoped not because he has a lot more stories to tell. I enjoyed hearing a bit about his writing journey and love for church history. It reminded me of when he was a fireside speaker when I attended LDS Business College.

As a member of the Whitney Committee, it was quite interesting to see the awards progress from reading tons of books, to narrowing down the nominees to five finalists in each category, and then the grand coup – the winners. The crème de la crème of each category. Some of the winners surprised me and others I had been hoping and crossing my fingers for their names to be called, then was elated to see them walk to the stage and accept their awards.

 Dan Wells, author of I am Not a Serial Killer
Whitney Award for "Best Novel by a New Writer"

But honestly, one of my favorite parts of the Whitney Awards Gala is when it’s over. Not only is the work done and the Whitney Committee breathes a huge sigh of relief, but most of the authors stay and visit.

Danyelle Ferguson, Jennifer & Daron Fraley, and John Ferguson

 Danyelle Ferguson, Mary & David Wolverton, and John Ferguson

If you choose to attend the Gala next year, be sure to plan for extra time to meet the finalists! They are each delightful in their own way and completely down to earth. 

 Lisa Mangum & Danyelle Ferguson

Danyelle Ferguson & Janette Rallison

Eliza Nevin (editor, Covenant Communications), Heather B. Moore, and Danyelle Ferguson

Although some nominees and guests, like Howard Taylor, are complete goofballs and tend to attract a LOL rowdy group. 

Julie Wright and Howard Taylor showing off what I call his testosterone power boots.

How is it I tend to find my hubby in the middle of all the silliness?
Dan Wells, John Ferguson, and Jessica Day George

Now, truly, Jessica Day George is a sweetheart. 
Now, if only I could have a sit down chat to talk about those goofballs she hangs out with . . .

It’s groups like these that come up with the most interesting picture poses – such as Julie Wright and her crowd of friends eating their consolation Chocolate Mousse pie.

Seriously - Jessica Day George, James Dashner, Julie Wright, and Janette Rallison had totally AWESOME books. Still scratching my head and wondering how they didn't win. Although Jessica & Janette were in the same category, so . . . Yeah. Well, they all deserve awesome rewards. I hope that pie was super delish!

And finally . . . our two James Bond wanna-be's

Howard Taylor and John Ferguson

So, did I have fun at the Whitneys? If you didn't figure it out already, the answer is HECK YEAH! Congrats to this year's Whitney Award winners!

Would you like to comment?

Angie said...

It looks like it was incredible. I am so going to go next year!

* said...

It was fun meeting you @ LDStorymakers! I'm already looking forward to next year. The Whitneys looked like fun, too!