Heidi Durrow reports from the NAACP Image Awards

Heidi Durrow and Vanessa Williams

For the last few weeks my to-do list has read something like this:

Pack
Unpack
Write thank you notes
Finish essay
Laundry
Wash dishes
Pick up dry cleaning
Try to get to gym!

But last week, I set aside all those everyday tasks because it was time to glam up for the NAACP Image Awards. I was nominated for Outstanding Literary Debut (for my novel The Girl Who Fell from the Sky) along with my friend Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Wench), Isabel Wilkerson (The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration), Maaza Mengiste (Beneath the Lion’s Gaze), and Peter Akinti (Forest Gate).

I love to get gussied up and gussy up I did: I got my toes and nails done, and went to the hair salon twice in one week!

Thursday night was the cocktail gala and my first red carpet ever. At first, I thought I might faint dead I was so nervous. I calmed down a bit when I spotted my friend, the event photographer Wilki Tom, who always takes a good photo! I was grinning like crazy as I made my way into the building—I’d experienced a tiny little moment of fame.

The highlight of the cocktail party had to be when the talented poet Camille Dungy (also a nominee for Suck on the Marrow) introduced me to actor Anthony Mackie. Be still my heart. That is a most handsome man.

Left to right: Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Terry McMillan, Bernice McFadden, Heidi Durrow

Friday was the awards presentation, another red carpet, and another fabulous night. I was so glad to catch up with the extraordinary writers Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Bernice McFadden, and Carleen Brice (whose book to film won an Image Award–go Carleen!). And how lovely is Terry McMillan? She gave a shout out to me and the other writers nominated. A class act that lady is. I am so excited to do the Algonquin Book Club event with her on August 18.

The night ended on a surreal note when I ran into Vanessa Williams (yes, THE Vanessa Williams!) who I met several years ago when I sent her my manuscript. She remembered meeting me! We ended up sitting and talking for a long while and then Holly Robinson-Peete and her husband, Rodney Peete, joined us.

I ended the night thinking: I’ve got to hurry up and write the new book finished so I can have an opportunity to go to the Image Awards again! I am still buzzing from the excitement of the night.

Oh, yeah, and I didn’t win the Image Award (it went to Isabel Wilkerson), but it sure was a winning night!

–Heidi Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

2 Comments On This Post:

March 10, 2011
10:43 pm
Hira H. says...

Dear Ms. Durrow,

You’re a winner in our eyes, and I must say, your dress rocked! :)

Also, I can’t believe you got to meet Terry McMillan, I love her work! AND Anthony Mackie?!?!?! Wow, I’d give an arm and a leg to meet him, he truly is an incredibly handsome man! Thank you for sharing your night with us.

Sincerely,
~Hira H.

March 22, 2011
9:39 am
Slow Reader says...

Thanks for this fun commentary on a “star-studded” evening!
Meeting Vanessa Williams? I am sure I would become speechless.
But of course I must ask, did you get to see Terrence Howard or Denzel Washington there? I’m quite sure I would faint if I were in the same room with either of them …
Anyway, your book The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is just brilliant — thank you for writing it, thank you Algonquin for publishing it! The audiobook is very well-done adn engaging also …

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