National Book Awards Acceptance Speeches

Louis Sachar, Winner of the 1998 YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE AWARD for Holes

Well, thank you all very much. I've prepared just a... brief remarks, because I knew I'd be too nervous just to start speaking, although I spent a lot more time over... and energy over the last few weeks preparing myself to accept the fact that one of the other books would win. I read the other books, and I thought they were all outstanding. My 11-year-old daughter read them, as well, and when she'd finish one, I'd ask her how she liked it, and she'd say, "Bad news, Dad. It was really good." As you all know, writing requires self-motivation, self-discipline, self-criticism, and when I finish a book, whatever praise I receive usually also has to come from within.

I think this is especially true for those of us who write for young people. We get little adult recognition, so it is extremely gratifying to have my work acknowledged in this way by the adult literary community. I'm especially appreciative that young people's literature was included as one of the categories worthy of the National Book Award. Before I sit back down, I want to take some time to thank a few people.

First, Frances Foster, the editor and publisher of Holes. Frances and I had worked together on several of my earlier books, when she was with Knopf, and it was a delight to be able to work with you again, Frances. It's very reassuring to be able to work with an editor whose judgment you know you can trust.

I also want to thank Ellen Levine, a terrific literary agent, who continues to come through for me whenever I need her, and usually before I realize I need her.

And finally, thank you, Carla, for all your love, support, and patience. Thank you.