Tag Archives: london book festival

THE LOS ANGELES BOOK FESTIVAL

The Los Angeles Book Festival named “Sweet Mary” by two time Pulitzer Prize Winner Liz Balmaseda its 2010 Grand Prize Winner—congratulations Liz! My novel “Stan Lerner’s Criminal”, as it did at the London Book Festival received the First Honorable Mention. So “Criminal” has now won the Grand Prize at the Hollywood Book Festival and received the First Honorable Mention at both the London and Los Angeles Book Festivals—not so bad for a UCLA dropout, I suppose. In the case of the London Book Festival I wrote a blog that explored my feelings with respect to my expectations of always having to win and ultimately the journey of writing and publishing “Criminal”. If you haven’t read my London Book Festival blog please do so, because the words I am now hoping to conjure up won’t be of the recycled variety.

The results were announced online (Feb 25th 2010) as I sat at my favorite coffee house in Montebello, a suburb of LA and my hometown. A few days earlier I had just returned from the continuation of my much written about journey “Road To Nowhere”. This time the “Road To Nowhere” had picked back up in Missoula Montana and gone as far as Washington DC—I had been planning to write about this affair of the road until the moment the news of “Criminal’s” most recent festival result appeared on my screen. Happily, I did not experience the angst previously described in my London Book Festival blog, rather I felt, for lack of a more literary term, relaxed—basically I’m okay with things these days.

Yes, it would still be nice if the publishing establishment and big booksellers could find a way to work with artists such as myself that don’t exactly fit any kind of mold or formula. And it would be great if the motion picture studios and or production companies sought out award winning artists and their works, instead of relying on simply what’s fed to them by a few powerful agencies that can throw in a star or two as part of a package. And as I mention these major shifts of paradigm I would like to see happen one day, I can’t help but to think of a recent article in the Los Angeles Downtown News, which focused on downtown’s writers, it had a nice picture of them at Metropolis Books on Main Street (I’ve done two reading at this store, lived downtown for fifteen years, and have won more awards than the entire group combined.)—no picture or mention of Stan Lerner though. And I mean this genuinely from my heart—it’s okay. I don’t understand it, but I’m okay with it… Continue reading

THE LONDON BOOK FESTIVAL

A few weeks ago the London Book Festival announced the names of its winners. “Stan Lerner’s Criminal”, the novel, which is probably my most recognized work, received the First Honorable Mention.

As I stared at the screen of my computer my heart sank—I had in my mind contemplated nothing less than being named the Grand Prize Winner. A year earlier “Stan Lerner’s Criminal” had won the Grand Prize at the Hollywood Book Festival and set the standard for my expectations. To complicate matters, as a blogger I felt compelled to announce the results even though they were not to my liking and I knew in doing so it would also be incumbent on me to congratulate the winner (Stan Goldberg for “Lessons For The Living”), which didn’t bother me at all—I’m happy for Stan Goldberg, it’s an incredible feeling to win. So I began by posting the results to my status on facebook and to my surprise friends from all over the world began to congratulate me for my honorable mention. This gave me pause…I decided to delay writing a blog…I realized the matter required more thought than I had been able to give to it.

Now that time has passed, and with some help from my friends, I feel good about being honored with an honorable mention. My nature, of course, demands that my future work be so extraordinary that to be anything other than a Grand Prize Winner—impossible! And yes, I say this somewhat in jest. But also during these few weeks of reflection the whole journey, that is “Stan Lerner’s Criminal”, meandered through my mind. Although the story of “Criminal” could be a literary work unto itself I’d like to take a few moments to share some of my thoughts with you about this road less traveled.

I should start by saying that the act of writing a novel is a sure sign of insanity. And there were plenty of people, including friends and family, who believed that I had indeed lost what little touch I did have with reality. 

I gave “Stan Lerner’s Criminal” my own name as part of its title because I have been dismayed over the years by people who claim to have done work attributed to others. I put my name and face on all of my work, and document the creative process, not as a matter of ego, but out of necessity to insure that there is not doubt as to the integrity of my work. 

“Stan Lerner’s Criminal” was an intensely personal endeavor that took four years to write. A not so well known fact is that I originally wrote “Criminal” in the voice of the first person. This version of “Criminal” took two years to write, at the conclusion of which I had written a book that was too disturbing for anyone to read. It took two more years to rewrite “Criminal” into the book that was published—utilizing the traditional voice of a novel.

Lerner Wordsmith Press (my company) published “Stan Lerner’s Criminal” not because I wanted to be the publisher, but rather I was reasonably sure that no other publisher would publish a book like “Criminal”. And by “a book like ‘Criminal’” I mean a serious literary work that did not pander to either social and or political correctness.

Subsequent to “Stan Lerner’s Criminal” receiving superlative reviews and winning the Grand Prize at the Hollywood Book Festival both Barnes & Noble and Borders refused to put it in their respective stores. And because of this, no studios or production companies have tried to acquire the rights…Yet “Criminal” goes on, selling almost every book ever printed. Garnering international acclaim. And providing to me a seemingly infinite number of people who say that it is the best book they have ever read. A conundrum I suppose… Continue reading