Hereville Wins An Oregon Book Award And I Am Surprised

I attended the Oregon Book Awards tonight with my friend Becky Hawkins; Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite was nominated for the “Graphic Literature” category, but had no chance of winning, since the competition included Joe Sacco and Craig Thompson, both of whom are 600-pound gorillas of cartooning awards (and deservedly so). And also nominated was my pal Shannon Wheeler, who is a friggin’ New Yorker cartoonist, and an award-winning gorilla himself, albeit perhaps more of a 450-pound gorilla.

So I had NO chance.

And then I WON!!!!!!!


I can’t possibly describe how surprised I was. (And thrilled. And honored.)

BTW, Joe Sacco wasn’t there tonight, but Craig Thompson greeted me afterwards with a big hug and congratulated me. (I had only met him once before, but he seems very nice). And Shannon was also very nice, but of course I know him well enough to expect him to be gracious.

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16 Responses to Hereville Wins An Oregon Book Award And I Am Surprised

  1. 1
    marmalade says:

    O frabjous!


  2. 2
    gin-and-whiskey says:


  3. 3
    Grace Annam says:

    Woo hoo! NICELY done, Barry!


  4. 4
    Eytan Zweig says:


  5. 5
    nobody.really says:

    Having seen umpteen Academy Awards, PLEEEZZE tell me you didn’t stumble through an acceptance speech saying, “Gosh, it never occurred to me that I’d win. Well, um, um, um, let me thank, uh, my mom….” : -)

    Congrats, dude.

    (I’m suddenly having a vision of Mr. Moneybags — the Monopoly guy — as depicted on the card “Bank errs in your favor – Collect $40,” except that Mr. MoneyBags is a cartoon version of you, and instead of getting $40, you’re getting the Oregon award.)

  6. 6
    Jake Squid says:


  7. 7
    RonF says:

    Well deserved. Congratulations! You’re a fantastic artist and writer, Barry! You need not take a second seat to anyone.

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks, everyone!

    Nobody.really, to answer your question, a local arts editor live-tweeted the ceremony. Here’s what he wrote when my category came up:


    That said, I think my entirely off-the-cuff acceptance speech – which was mostly spent telling an anecdote about my grandmother, Sonya Hirschberg, who shares a last name with Mirka from Hereville – was pretty good. At least, a LOT of people came up to me afterwards to tell me they enjoyed my speech.

  9. 9
    sharon cullars says:


  10. 10
    Sebastian says:


    And by the way, you were being too modest when you thought you had no chance of winning.

    ‘Habibi’ is great, and as a simple consumer, I don’t have to wonder whether it is better than Mirka, but “Journalism” is nowhere as good (and not just because I feel it’s seriously biased in its attempts to simplify the narrative)

    As for “Between Gears”, it’s a nice read, but I am sure that in a couple of months, I’ll remember it about as much as I remember the ‘Jim’ comics from twenty years ago.

    “Oil and Water” does nothing for me.

    Of, by the way, what is it about Portland and cartoonists? I had no idea that Sacco and Thompson were from there as well.

  11. 11
    Denise says:

    Congratulations! That’s awesome!

  12. 12
    Ann Queue says:

    Congrats! Well done!

    Portland and cartoonists: it rains nine months of the year. Portland draws cartoons, Seattle plays grunge. Both drink copious amounts of coffee.

  13. 13
    nm says:

    Oh, well deserved!

  14. 14
    Eva says:

    Fantastic. I’m so happy for you. Well earned and deserved. Love knowing you honored your grandmother at your acceptance speech. Well done!

  15. 15
    Zina says:

    What wonderful news! Congratulations!

  16. 16
    mythago says:


    Also, what Ann Queue said. Columbia Sportswear used to have an ad campaign that went “Take heart! Soon it will be spring. Then it will be warm and rainy.”