Kentucky Fried Lyga

Last week, I was honored to attend the Kentucky Library Association/Kentucky Association of School Librarians annual conference in Louisville, where I was presented with the Kentucky Bluegrass Award for I Hunt Killers. The award was great, the ceremony was great, the librarians were great, but even before all of that, I spent a few days in Northern Kentucky (so far north, the natives call it “Southern Ohio”), where I visited a bookstore, two schools, and a library.

Blue Marble BooksFirst up was Blue Marble Books, pretty much as soon as I got off the plane! A quick stop at the hotel and then I was at Blue Marble, where I talked about I Hunt Killers and After the Red Rain and answered questions and signed books and admired some appropriately bloody cookies.Deadly cookies

Goodnight Moon roomBlue Marble has a very cool room modeled after the classic Goodnight, Moon. Apparently every single item in the room comes from the book. That’s attention to detail!

Library display at Campbell County HighThe next day, I spent the day at Campbell County High School. I spoke to the entire senior class, then the entire junior class, then spent some time with a small group of about a dozen kids who were aspiring writers. In every case, I had a blast. The big groups were incredibly enthusiastic, and the kids in the small, focused group had some terrific questions. It was a lot of fun.

Newport Branch newsletterThat night, I spoke at the Newport branch of the Campbell County Public Library, where a twelve-year-old girl asked the most incredible, mechanical question about paragraph transition. I almost never get technical questions at these things — people always want to know big picture stuff. I was amazed and impressed that this kid was so deep into writing already, and I blurted out, “You’re kick-ass!” Her father was sitting right next to her. Fortunately, he laughed.

The next day, I awoke at the ungodly hour of 5:45am (seriously, even the sun was asleep) to make the trip to Boone County High School. Again, I spoke to two large groups (this time mixes of all four grade levels), then hung out with a smaller group in the library. This group had had to produce pieces of art inspired by I Hunt Killers, so I got toMe w/kids from Boone County High see some cool artwork and listen to some very, very gruesome poetry! They were a great bunch and we had a lot of fun.

That afternoon, I traveled to Louisville, where I had dinner with a group of librarians. The following day, I attended the KASL award luncheon, where I was formally given the Kentucky Bluegrass Award. I gave a talk on why I write what I write and why I take the risks I take, a talk made more amusing than it deserved to be when we discovered the projector was showing my presentation upside down!

As the luncheon wended towards its end, I was called to the podium again, much to my surprise. This time, I was presented with a certificate from the Governor of Kentucky, naming me a Kentucky Colonel.1 Now I’m in the same club as George Clooney, Muhammed Ali, Betty White, and Elvis Presley. How cool is that?

Needless to say, I was quite surprised — I didn’t expect two honors in the same day!

It was humbling to receive both awards, but I have to admit I have a special place in my heart for the commission from the Governor, mainly because now I insist all my friends call me “Colonel.”

Kentucky Colonel certificate

Thanks, Kentucky!

  1. Yes, just like Colonel Sanders. Read the link.