While attending the ALAN Annual Convention in Chicago in November of 2011, I had the pleasure of looking forward to Laurie Halse Anderson give the keynote address. I was pumped. She is one of my favorite YA authors because she (and her books) don’t compromise. I had met her twice already (briefly) at the ALAN reception and signing autographs at her publisher’s booth at the NCTE exhibits. Little did I know that Anderson’s speech would be memorable not only for its kick-ass message about fighting ignorance and censorship, but also that Anderson would finish the speech under circumstances that would make normal humans rush home to Mama.
My conference clique and I were camped out right next to the staging area for the featured authors. We actually chatted with Anderson a few moments before she went on stage and she told us she wasn’t feeling well. We were worried about her because-I mean, she’s a warrior! If she was saying, OUT LOUD, that she didn’t feel well, something was wrong. A few minutes in to her speech it was clear that she was truly unwell. She finished her speech in true LHA-superstar fashion.* The next day, ALAN-ites were told she had a bad case of food poisoning. While that was true, it seems there’s more to the story and it started way before NCTE/ALAN IN 2011.
Read Anderson’s own words about her health with her trademark humor and panache.
*See video within linked post.