Darius the Great Is Not Okay: Adib Khorram's 2019 BGHB Fiction and Poetry Honor Speech

It’s a little surreal to be up here. If you had told me a year ago that a book about a nerdy, depressed, tea-loving, Star Trek–obsessed teenager would win this honor, I would have asked for a glass of whatever you were drinking. As I think of the young readers who are seeing themselves reflected in the books honored here, I’m amazed at the inclusion and the equity of this group of winners and honorees. Five years ago, We Need Diverse Books was founded, and we’re seeing the fruits of their labor tonight. Books like Darius could not exist without them, and I’m grateful to them and to all of you here in this room for furthering their mission. 

[Read Horn Book reviews of the 2019 BGHB Fiction and Poetry winners.]

I want to thank my editor, Dana Chidiac, for helping me bring Darius into the world — and a sequel, Darius the Great Deserves Better, next fall. Thanks to the entire team at Dial and Penguin Young Readers for supporting me. Thanks to Molly O’Neill, my agent, for always championing me. And thanks to Roger and The Horn Book, especially the judges, Cindy, Kim, and Monica. Monica can’t be here tonight, but I wish her a speedy recovery.

From the January/February 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. For more on the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB19.

Adib Khorram

Adib Khorram is the winner of a 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction Honor Award for Darius the Great Is Not Okay (Dial).

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