Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Vedette" an Eric Hoffer Prize Winner



highwayscribery wanted to take a few inches of your time to report the success of his novel "Vedette or Conversations with the Flamenco Shadows," in the Eric Hoffer Awards.

the scribe was nonplussed upon receiving the news a few weeks ago because the "grand prize" ($) went to someone else and all he got was a gold "badge" he used to have posted where the certificate now sits, next to a picture of Hoffer, until someone from the Hoffer Foundation ordered him to remove both "copyrighted" images.

You have to love it when, as an anonymous and ignored writer, you get the odd and rare comment on your blog and it's from someone threatening you for posting the badge you won, but still had to pay for.

the scribe is sure Hoffer would be thrilled working writers are being treated in such a way, in his name.

Anyway, and as the scribe was saying, he wasn't too raved up about the distinction, but then we had a dinner guest over who gave Scribe Jr. a book about which she was very excited because it had just won the Eric Hoffer prize (different category). The fact this literary event had repercussions outside our own home's echo chamber was cause for great excitement and so we pass the news along in all lack of humility.

We have never heard of Hoffer whose big book - out of nine total - was called "The True Believer," and which highwayscribery will read and report back on with "all deliberate speed," as the Warren Court put it.

Apparently, Hoffer was a migrant worker, Nevada gold miner, and longshoreman with almost no schooling and bad eyesight, which should give you parents struggling to pay for Montessori and expensive eyeglasses pause.

He read, wrote and worked throughout the Great Depression counting himself amongst the new pioneers of migrating Okies and Arkies. By 1964, he had graduated to the post of research professor at UCal-Berkeley.

Eric Sevareid called him the "first important American writer, working class born, who remained working class in his habits."

The Hoffer people put out an annual collection of "Best New Writing" and the 2008 edition says of the novel:
Siciliano's "Vedette" is a fantasy, brilliantly intertwined with the myth of flamenco and the history of the Spanish Civil War. Vedette is part Lolita and mostly a survivor, and much to the author's credit, her story is told in shaded points of view that only increase the mystery. Like the people she supposedly haunts, Vedette's story frequents your thoughts long after reading.



The Hoffer people put out an annual collection of "Best New Writing" and the 2008 edition says of the novel:

Siciliano's "Vedette" is a fantasy, brilliantly intertwined with the myth of flamenco and the history of the Spanish Civil War. Vedette is part Lolita and mostly a survivor, and much to the author's credit, her story is told in shaded points of view that only increase the mystery. Like the people she supposedly haunts, Vedette's story frequents your thoughts long after reading.

Finally, a word about art and literature.

"Vedette," often classified as difficult for the time and place it seeks to portray, was entered along with "The Sidewalk Smokers Club," a follow-up effort at being more current, more easy to relate to, more topical and, hence, more commercial.

"Smokers," although it has had a respectable showing in this year's round of contests, did not place in the Eric Hoffer Awards and "Vedette" did, which should give pause to all you working scribes out there about the intentions and reasons for writing what you write.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have posted both a copyrighted picture of Eric Hoffer and the Eric Hoffer Award gold seal. Please remove it immediately.

the highway scribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.