Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Philadelphia Literary Legacy

Philadelphia Literary Legacy
It's Official ! I am now part of Philadelphia History!
(I know, I know . . . I still can't believe it myself!)
Since the writing of the nation’s Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Philadelphia has been home to many celebrated authors. Fifty authors were selected by librarians from the Free Library of Philadelphia who represent the breadth of the region’s literary creativity past and present. – (from the WaWa Welcome America event announcement webpage)
The 50 authors picked to represent the Philadelphia Literary Legacy, in the photo exhibit unveiled at the The Philadelphia International Airport on Tuesday, July 2, 2013, are:
Louisa May Alcott, Lloyd Alexander, L.A. Banks, Berenstains, Ben Bova, Sandra Boynton, Charles Brockden Brown, Rosellen Brown, Pearl S. Buck, Bebe Moore Campbell, Lorene Cary, Noam Chomsky, R. Crumb, Gardner Dozois, W.E.B. Dubois, Ben Franklin, Charles Fuller, David Goodis, Carolyn Haywood, Quiara Alegria Hudes, Solomon Jones, Ken Kalfus, Beth Kephart, George Lippard, Alain Locke, Diane McKinney-Whetstone, Margaret Mead, James Michener, Katherine Milhous, Karen E. Quinones Miller, Thomas Paine, Richard Powell, Tom Purdom, Joe Queenan, Anna Quindlen, Deborah Kogan Ray, Agnes Repplier, Sonia Sanchez, Judy Schachner, Lisa Scottoline, Sara Shephard, Jerry Spinelli, I. F. Stone, Michael Swanwick, Jennifer Weiner, David Wiesner, Owen Wister, Teri Woods
Yes, that's right I'm included. And no one is more surprised than me!.
In fact, I was notified in February, but didn't let anyone know until May . . . because I was sure it had to be a mistake. I mean, Louisa May Alcott was my mother's favorite author! And now I was on the same list as her, Ben Franklin, W.E.B. DuBois, and Sonia Sanchez! I was blown away; and sure that someone was going to soon tell me that my placed was with these literary greats in error.
More than half of the authors being honored were dead, but, sure enough, on Tuesday, July 2nd, at 10 a.m., there I was at the Philadelphia International Airport along with Lorene Cary, Charles Fuller, Solomon Jones, Beth Kephart, Diane McKinney-Whetstone, Sonia Sanchez, Judy Schachner, Michael Swanwick, and Teri Woods . . .
. . . and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter 
Yes, this really was one of the memorable  days of my life.
I opened the pages of The Philadelphia Inquirer  . . . and here is part of what they wrote:
More than 200 years of Philadelphia literary greats were at Philadelphia International Airport on Tuesday.
On the walls of the international Terminal A-East.
The exhibit, "Philadelphia's Literary Legacy," will display for one year the photographs, book covers, and biographies of 50 authors, playwrights, and poets from the time of the Declaration of Independence to the present day.
That evening, Lorene Cary, Solomon Jones, and I hosted a Philadelphia Literary Legacy Celebration at Warmdaddy's, and more than 100 people came out to celebrate with us. We also used the occasion to pay special tribute to Sonia Sanchez, Poet Laureate of Philadelphia.
 For all those who were there on Tuesday morning or evening to help me celebrate, I hope you all had a good time. And for all my fans, readers, and those who have supported me throughout the years . . . thank you!
Because without you, this wonderful honor would never have come to pass!