It's finally starting to sink in. A THOUSAND STEPS INTO NIGHT is on the longlist for the 2022 National Book Award.
Yesterday, when I read the news, I thought at first that it must be a mistake. My book? My silly Ghibli-esque adventure? My tongue-in-cheek romp? My episodic road trip through a magical world teeming with demons and spirits? My haunting Japanese-inspired folktale? My critique of American patriarchy in the guise of an escapist fantasy? My unapologetic declaration of joy?
Was important? Literary? Worthy of recognition?
That’s what this incredible recognition says to me. Yes, there is value in adventure, in laughter, in critique and fantasy and joy. Yes, these things are necessary, noteworthy, and engaged in a national conversation about gender and sexism and power, hierarchy and marginalization and the making of a better, more inclusive world.
They’re also (I hope) fun. And there’s value in that too.
As I come to grips with the news, I find that I’m excited. I’m tickled. And I’m so, so grateful.
My bird boy is on the National Book Award longlist.
My trash monkeys are on the National Book Award longlist.
My demon girl in all her awkwardness is on the National Book Award longlist.
Congratulations, little heroes. Today, you are seen.
Thank you to my editors, Catherine Onder and Emilia Rhodes, and to the entire team at Clarion and HarperCollins. Thank you to the National Book Foundation and the judges for recognizing this story among so many notable and important titles. And my deepest congratulations again to all the longlisters! It is truly such an honor to be here with you.
Kelly Barnhill, The Ogress and the Orphans
Isaac Blum, The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
Johnnie Christmas, Swim Team
Anna-Marie McLemore, Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix
Sonora Reyes, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School
Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, and Dawud Anyabwile, Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice
Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage
Sherri Winston, Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution
Lisa Yee, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance