John-Roger’s book Divine Essence wins Benjamin Franklin Award by Nathaniel Sharratt, photos by Nathaniel
May 31st, 2001 at The Chicago Hilton and Tower’s ballroom
Players: John-Roger and his book, “Divine Essence”, Vincent Dupont, Stede Barber, Angel Gibson, Marilyn Dupont, Nathaniel Sharratt, & David Sand.
The Benjamin Franklin Awards are sponsored by Publishers Marketing Association (PMA), and celebrate excellence in editorial and design for titles published in 2000. The awards are open to all, meaning that the big publishing houses (Random House, Warner Books, etc) compete alongside small independent presses (such as Mandeville Press). Judges for the Benjamin Franklin Awards come from all areas of the industry: major newspaper and trade media reviewers, bookstore and library buyers and reviewers, non-competing publishers, artists and writers who serve the industry.
My legs squirmed under the table and the temperature in the room seemed to keep rising. Hearing the names of the winners being announced for each category, our name and category seemed as distant as my home in California. The nervous anticipation was barely tolerable though I knew it was just a matter of time…
The time did finally arrive, and on the oversized screen they displayed the old and the revised editions of “Divine Essence” and its two competitors (Canoeing and Camping: Beyond the Basics, The Globe Pequot Press; The Route 66 Cookbook, Council Oak Books).
“Finally.” I thought.
The screen went black…
The opening of the envelope echoed through the microphone, while under my breath, just below the hearing level of others, I cheered for J-R’s book, “C’mon. C’mon!”
“And the winner of this year’s Benjamin Franklin award for Most Improved Redesign:
DIVINE ESSENCE by John-Roger, published by Mandeville Press.”
“Ouuuuu!” cooed Angel.
Vincent shot out of his seat and was half way to the stage before Stede recovered from the shock. Marilyn was steadily holding the video camera, capturing the moment in its fullness. As for myself, I threw my arms into the air as if I had just won the Olympic gold!
Vincent gave the acceptance speech with Angel and Stede at his side. I took some photos while my hands shook with excitement.
After the award, we called J-R to tell him the good news, to which he replied, “Tell everyone in our group that dinner is on me tonight!”
And what a night it was!