Blowing the Horn: This Is MAJOR

With Scott Green, Colonial Williamsburg's "Benedict Arnold." Photo courtesy of Steve Sheinkin.

Back in June 2011, well before I was making a living as a writer, I got an email from Deirdre Langeland, my editor for The Notorious Benedict Arnold, which had come out the previous fall. The subject line said, “Very good news.” The first line (I just checked) was: “Before I tell you this, I have to swear you to secrecy. This info is not to be shared for another week or so, so NO SHARING!” Then she told me Arnold had just been selected as the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner for nonfiction. Minutes later, I got an email from my then-agent, Ken Wright: “This is MAJOR. You know that, right?”

Rereading these notes, I’m struck by the tone—they were excited, but also talking to me like I was a little kid! And I was, in publishing years. As I prepared for the ceremony, I tried to remember if I’d ever spoken to a roomful of adults. Definitely at my bar mitzvah, which went badly. I lost my speech and had to wing it and later found the folded paper beneath a seated aunt.

The Horn Book event in Boston was better. I talked about my passion for this very nerdy thing I was starting to figure out how to do, and Roger Sutton and everyone at the Horn Book—everyone in the place—made me feel so welcome and encouraged. As Ken said, it really was MAJOR. I’ll never forget it!

May/June 2024 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Our Centennial. For more Horn Book centennial coverage, click here. Find more in the "Blowing the Horn" series here.

Single copies of this special issue are available for $15.00 including postage and may be ordered from:

Horn Book Magazine Customer Service

Full subscription information is here

Steve Sheinkin

Steve Sheinkin is the author of Impossible Escape, Fallout, Born to Fly (all Roaring Brook), and Bomb (Flash Point/Roaring Brook), among others. Accolades include a Newbery Honor, three National Book Award finalists, and he is the winner of a 2017 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Award for Undefeated; the 2016 BGHB Nonfiction Award for Most Dangerous, the 2014 BGHB Nonfiction Award for The Port Chicago 50, and the 2011 BGHB Award for Nonfiction for The Notorious Benedict Arnold (all Roaring Brook).

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.