KIT’s Winning Awards!

THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN has had an pretty amazing run of luck these past couple of months. Truth be told, I’m still amazed that people are actually reading something I wrote. The fact that they are reading and liking it still feels pretty surreal to me. The fact that they want to give it an award is beyond shocking and completely humbling.

As you know, THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN won an Oregon Book Award in May – an event that still makes me giddy when I think about and resulted in my book being on the shelf at Powell’s with one of those nifty little cards underneath.

KIT at Powells |

But somehow the magic didn’t stop there. In the last couple of months, KIT has ended up on three other winner lists:

THE TRAGICWilla Award | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN is the Winner of the 2018 WILLA Literary Award Winner in Children’s/Young Adult Fiction & Nonfiction – an award given by Women Writing the West to recognize “outstanding literature featuring women’s stories set in the west.” I’ve been an avid reader of western literature for as long as I can remember – and as I child I actively sought out stories about girls and women in the west; stories that proved difficult to find. After a childhood of making up “girl in the west” stories in my head, it was a joy to get one published. It’s a real honor to be considered an award-winning writer of one, too.

osba |
KIT is also the winner of the Oregon Council of Teachers of English’s Oregon Spirit Book Award. The award is “given yearly to the author of a distinguished contribution to children’s literature or young adult literature that engages and encourages readers’ imagination, discovery, and understanding, reflecting the spirit and values held by Oregonians.” If you know me, you know I’ve spent 15 plus years as an Oregon English teacher. You also know that encouraging kids to read and discuss books that interest and inspire them is high on my list of things that matter in the world. To be chosen for this award by a group of people I admire – and people I know to be a pretty tough audience 🙂 – is simply amazing.

WRMA | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comFinally, KIT has been chosen as a finalist for The Will Rogers Medallion Award. The WRMA “recognizes excellence in Western literature and media.” I’m so honored to be included among so many great Western writers. The Award Ceremony is in Fort Worth, TX in October, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

I’m so happy KIT seems to be finding her place in the world. You never know what all those years of writing and rewriting, hoping and despairing will amount to. You don’t know if a book will ever get published, or, if it does, if it will ever be read, or even liked, let alone loved. It’s a real joy to see that KIT’s story has resonated with people, that a few of them may have even loved it, and that someone might be carrying KIT around in their head as they walk to school or go shopping or just sit in class daydreaming – the way I did (and still do) with the books and characters I love.

Thank you all for your support over the last year and a half. It means the world to me.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

KIT won an Oregon Book Award!

Winner winner, avocado-toast dinner!! (It was Portland after all).

2018-oba_media-kit_facebook01THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN won an Oregon Book Award! Specifically the ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE. (Want to learn more about Eloise Jarvis McGraw?Just click here).

I’m still stunned, but mostly I’m incredibly grateful.

The day to day of writing is mostly a solitary thing, but the the job of getting a book out into the world requires a lot of support. I’m so grateful for my friends, my family,  my agent, and my editor who all helped me write a book that people enjoy. It really does take a village. I only hope I give as good as I get.

I shared a lot of thanks in my speech that night – a speech I never imagined I’d have to give. I thought I’d share it here on my blog, too, for those of you who didn’t make it to the awards ceremony. *Note:  this may not perfectly match the deer-in-the-headlights, stammering speech I actually delivered in a state of shock that night. 🙂 But it’s pretty close to what I hope I said.

“I really didn’t expect it could get any better than seeing my little book on a list with so many authors whose work I enjoy and admire. To my fellow Children’s Lit. Finalists:  Kurt, Diane, Elizabeth, and Cynthia – your work is everything that is wonderful in kidlit. I’m honored to be in your company tonight.

As my character Kit learns in my book, you may start your journey alone, but it really takes the help of friends – both likely and unlikely – to get you where you need to go. And with that in mind, I have some folks to thank:

First Literary Arts. You championed this book far longer than you might know. First, with your Author Tours that brought workshops led by real life authors to my little town on the other end of the state. Then with a generous fellowship that helped me revise my story into something an incredible agent and later an editor would want. And now this. I can’t even begin to express how truly grateful I am.

Second, I’d like to thank our glorious community of Oregon Authors. I don’t know what writers are like everywhere else, but writers in Oregon are amazing. *Hardworking, talented, kind, and incredibly generous and supportive. I’m forever grateful to you for letting me into your organizations, for answering my emails and posts with grace and kindness, and for being so danged inspiring. It’s an honor to be part of your community and a gift that I get to call so many of you friends.

And finally I’d like to thank my husband John who believed in this book from the beginning –  and who does all the really hard stuff – like cooking dinner and navigating Portland traffic. None of this happens without you.

Thank you all so much. I’m stunned and beyond thrilled.”

*I may have said freaking amazing at the event – because they really are.

It was a pretty spectacular evening spent with pretty spectacular people. You can read about the other Oregon Book Award winners at Oregon Live and check out the other finalists in the Children’s Book category here.

Thanks again to Literary Arts! You made my year.

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTrishSignatureblue

I’m a Success? My Oregon SCBWI Conference Tale

Last year I almost didn’t go to the Oregon SCBWI Conference. I even told my buddy in Portland I wasn’t going to go. Not this year. I was just not up for it. Then, months later, something – the same something that tells me when it’s time to start a new story or go get that mole checked out – said “You should go, and you should do a manuscript critique.” I realize this may sound strange if you’re not someone used to helpful brain-based voices telling you what to do. But, I’m a writer, and I tend to listen to the voices in my head; they’ve never steered me wrong. So, I went to the website. I looked at the pictures of agents and editors still taking manuscripts; I read their bios; and I picked one. One with a friendly face. One who grew up in a small town in Oregon. One who looked like she’d be easy for someone like me to talk to. Then I paid my fee and sent in my pages.

On the last day of the conference, during the last consultation spot, I met with Kerry. We talked – but not about the manuscript. We talked about growing up in Oregon. About small towns and food trucks and trips to the coast. She told how much she loved my pages. She told me to send her the full.

So, I did. And she loved it. And she became my agent. All because of the Oregon SCBWI Conference.

This year I signed up immediately after I found out my book sold. It was my “you’re really a writer now” gift to myself. It was also a chance to say thanks. Thanks to my friends who I knew would be there, and thanks to the ladies who work so hard putting the event together. Plus, Matt de la Pena and Victoria Jamieson were going to be the keynote speakers. Who would want to miss that?



The conference was wonderful. I met new friends and hung out with old ones. I took a ton of notes – because every presenter had such good advice to share. It was so good, that for all of Saturday it was easy to just concentrate on listening and learning and being inspired. As long as I didn’t look at Sunday’s schedule – and the panel scheduled for the morning – everything was cool.


Yep, that’s my name in the program. Right ttinyIMG_3480rotatedhere with the likes of Rosanne Parry. She with her four novels, and me, with my teeny tiny book deal. The title of the panel? Local Success.

Three things you should know about me:

  1. I’m mostly shy.
  2. I’m a much better listener than I am speaker.
  3. The hardest part of working as a teacher was talking in front of large groups.

Thankfully, no one really wanted to hear about me. I could talk about SCBWI. About the great people I met there (like Catherine who took the panel picture). About how the organization helped me. And about how supportive the writing community is. So that’s what I did. Even though I was mostly terrified. Even though was certain I was not talking into the microphone right. Even though I was not 100% sure that what I was saying wasn’t coming out in some sort of high frequency gibberish.


And, I survived – without breaking out in hives or falling over in a freaked-out faint.  Which pleased me. But what pleased me more was the people who came up to me after. The people who said thank you. The one’s who said my story made them feel like they could meet an agent and get a book deal, too. Which is exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to dispel the myth that you have to be super cool or super connected or super important for this writing thing to work out. I wanted people to get that if I could do it – if I could sign up for a consult. If I could drive 5 hours to better my craft. If I could be brave and talk to people and share my work and ask for feedback, they could too.

Because I really think what  I said is true. Success lies in a succession of tiny brave steps. Writing the book. Taking classes. Asking questions. Chatting with strangers. Sending out the query. Meeting the “scary” New York people. And generally being kind and open and hopeful.

SCBWI is a good place to practice all of that. Plus you learn a ton – and even meet amazing writers like Matt and Victoria, and Rosanne. Who could ask for more?