If you missed John L. Smith’s presentation of “Amelia’s Long Journey: The Challenge of Writing What you Know” at the Clark County Library in Las Vegas, you can download the podcast through the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s website. If you were lucky enough to see the presentation, what a great way to remember the evening!
by Krissy Hawkins
Each year, the Vegas Valley Book Festival (VVBF) presents its Crystal Book Mark Award to an individual who has significantly advanced the cause of literature in the Vegas Valley. This year Jim Frey, chairperson of Nevada Humanities, presented popular columnist and author, John L. Smith, with the award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the advancement of literature in the Vegas Valley.
Smith carries the distinction of being a fourth-generation Nevadan, an award-winning columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the author of a dozen nonfiction books, including Sharks in the Desert and Bluegrass Days, Neon Nights, as well as a contributing author to Restless City, the serial novel project of the book festival.
This event marked the second annual presentation of the Crystal Book Mark Award. The first went to Kris Darnall, one of the originators of the Vegas Valley Book Festival and a colleague at Nevada Humanities. The rules dictate that the award cannot go to anyone currently on the planning or literary committee of the VVBF and that the recipient must have made a major contribution to the encouragement of reading in the community through service or through a body of work that enriches, clarifies, or encourages reading and writing in and about the Vegas Valley.
This year’s presentation took place at the Clark County Library at a panel led by Smith entitled “Amelia’s Long Journey: The Challenge of Writing What You Know.” In Amelia’s Long Journey (Stephens Press) Smith tells of the joys of becoming a parent and raising a beautiful little girl, and the terror of almost losing her. With the skill of a journalist and the heart of a father, Smith lovingly chronicles Amelia’s life: her early carefree years, the diagnosis of a cancerous brain tumor, the surgeries, the treatments, the remissions, the relapse, the recovery, as well as the courage, humor, and optimism she showed throughout.
Amelia’s Long Journey is not only a story about a brave girl’s fight against cancer, but a story about a precious little girl’s love for life. Proceeds of the book benefit Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Nevada, Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, and St. Baldrick’s Foundation.