For the last few weeks my to-do list has read something like this:
Write thank you notes
Pick up dry cleaning
Try to get to gym!
But last week, I set aside all those everyday tasks because it was time to glam up for the NAACP Image Awards. I was nominated for Outstanding Literary Debut (for my novel The Girl Who Fell from the Sky) along with my friend Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Wench), Isabel Wilkerson (The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration), Maaza Mengiste (Beneath the Lion’s Gaze), and Peter Akinti (Forest Gate).
I love to get gussied up and gussy up I did: I got my toes and nails done, and went to the hair salon twice in one week!
Thursday night was the cocktail gala and my first red carpet ever. At first, I thought I might faint dead I was so nervous. I calmed down a bit when I spotted my friend, the event photographer Wilki Tom, who always takes a good photo! I was grinning like crazy as I made my way into the building—I’d experienced a tiny little moment of fame.
The highlight of the cocktail party had to be when the talented poet Camille Dungy (also a nominee for Suck on the Marrow) introduced me to actor Anthony Mackie. Be still my heart. That is a most handsome man.
Friday was the awards presentation, another red carpet, and another fabulous night. I was so glad to catch up with the extraordinary writers Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Bernice McFadden, and Carleen Brice (whose book to film won an Image Award–go Carleen!). And how lovely is Terry McMillan? She gave a shout out to me and the other writers nominated. A class act that lady is. I am so excited to do the Algonquin Book Club event with her on August 18.
The night ended on a surreal note when I ran into Vanessa Williams (yes, THE Vanessa Williams!) who I met several years ago when I sent her my manuscript. She remembered meeting me! We ended up sitting and talking for a long while and then Holly Robinson-Peete and her husband, Rodney Peete, joined us.
I ended the night thinking: I’ve got to hurry up and write the new book finished so I can have an opportunity to go to the Image Awards again! I am still buzzing from the excitement of the night.
Oh, yeah, and I didn’t win the Image Award (it went to Isabel Wilkerson), but it sure was a winning night!
–Heidi Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
Tags: Algonquin Book Club, Anthony Mackie, Berneice McFadden, Camille Dungy, Carleen Brice, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Heidi Durrow, Holly Robinson-Pette, Image Awards, Isabel Wilkersen, Maaza Mengiste, NAACP Image Awards, Peter Akinti, Rodney Peete, Terry McMillan, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, Vanessa Williams, Wilki Tom