Clap When You Land: Elizabeth Acevedo's 2020 BGHB Fiction and Poetry Honor Speech

I am delighted to be an honoree of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards. From years of following this award [ed. note: and winning it in 2018 for The Poet X], I know that the judges tend to be readers who are thoughtful and with a high standard of excellence. It means the world to me to have my novel chosen to be alongside so many other admirable honorees and winners.

[Read Horn Book reviews of the 2020 BGHB Fiction and Poetry winners.]

Clap When You Land is a novel that follows true life events. In 2001, two months and a day after the attacks on the World Trade Center, a plane on its way from New York City to the Dominican Republic crashed. The plane was full of Dominican nationals, and the news rocked my community. It seemed like everyone knew someone who was on that flight. But despite its being the second deadliest crash in U.S. history, once the spectacle of intrigue died down, so did interest in the lives that were lost.

While inspired by that tragedy, I wanted to take my own look at grief and loss, and I wanted to challenge myself to attempt to capture two very different voices. As always, my project in writing was to be honest, to be tender, and to be wonder-filled. I hold this honor as a vote of confidence that I’ve done just that.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. For more on the 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB20. Read more from The Horn Book by and about Elizabeth Acevedo.

Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo is the author of The Poet X, winner of the 2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction and Poetry Award and National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and Clap When You Land, a 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Fiction and Poetry Honor Book.

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