"Paperboy" Honored

Posted by Leonard Gill on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 10:55 PM

"Thank you, Thank you, Thank you … Thank you."

Those were the words of author Vince Vawter when news reached him by phone earlier this week — 6:43 a.m., Monday, January 27th, to be exact.

The news was that his novel Paperboy (Delacorte Books for Young Readers) has been recognized by the American Library Association as a 2014 Newbery Honor Book. But as Vawter recently wrote on his website, "Instead of having something witty and original to say, I was the perfect bumbling and blabbering Academy Award recipient I always chastise. They have my sympathy now."

Paperboy_jacket.jpg
Vawter — former news editor of the Memphis Press-Scimitar, former president and publisher of the Evansville Courier & Press in Indiana, and resident today of Louisville in East Tennessee — has our congratulations. So too Anna Olswanger, Vawter's agent for Paperboy. Home town for both: Memphis, which is where Paperboy is set — the Central Gardens neighborhood of Midtown, to be exact.

The Flyer spoke to Vawter and to Olswanger back in May 2013, when Paperboy appeared. The Flyer reached Vawter this morning for further reaction to this week's good news.

"One of the most interesting by-products of Paperboy was hearing from several dozen residents and former residents of Central Gardens," Vawter said by email. "I even heard from at least four former paperboys who had routes in the neighborhood. I did want the neighborhood to be almost a character in the novel, and apparently I accomplished that.

"One reader, though, chastised me a little for getting the number of the Crosstown bus wrong. I remembered it as the No. 5. He said it was the No. 7. I stand corrected.

"My true appreciation for the Newbery Honor is that more people now will have a chance to read my story, a story which I continue to believe to be worthwhile in the telling."

The Newbery judges certainly thought it worth telling. As did Vawter's agent, Anna Olswanger, who recognized Paperboy's value early on.

"Somewhere along the line, I think after Vince had finished his revisions for Delacorte, I remarked to him that Paperboy was the book he was put here to write," Olswanger said, also by email. "With his years of experience as a reporter for the Press-Scimitar, Vince knew how to capture the paperboy's world of 1959 Memphis, its racism and its humanity. It is a book I am proud to be the agent for."

Look for Paperboy in paperback in early April. •

Comments (3)

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Congrats! Great kids books are always needed.

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Posted by Ed Arnold on 01/30/2014 at 11:35 AM

I have know Vince and Betty since the early 70's and they are really good people. This award is well deserved. I recently read "Paperboy" and really liked it. I didn't know it was supposed to be for young readers. I certainly enjoyed it, and I think anyone, old or young, will enjoy this book, especially if they ever lived in Midtown. I sure hope Vince writes another one.

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Posted by Drift Boat on 01/30/2014 at 12:19 PM

Great book. Read it out loud with my kids then drove around the area. Congrats

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Posted by homersimpson on 02/02/2014 at 11:49 PM
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