The 34th Annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards

Remarks by Pamela Hamilton, Author of Lady Be Good,
on Receiving the 2022 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award
in the Historical Fiction Category

April 30, 2022
New York, New York

This is truly a great honor. I’m grateful to the Independent Book Publishers Association, to the librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, and editors who participated in this program, and to Ingram. You are all leaders in this incredible community that supports independent publishers, and champions authors who have poured their hearts and souls into the art of storytelling. Thank you.

Lady Be Good was a long time in the making, so this is especially meaningful to me. I’ve been living with the story and the main characters in my mind for many (maybe too many!) years, and it’s deeply gratifying to know that others are connecting with them as well.

In their time, the glittering era of the 1920s and ‘30s, Dorothy Hale and Clare Boothe Luce were darlings of the press and the public; but for decades now, their story has been buried under sensational headlines, a striking reminder that our legacies are fragile – and precious. It’s been a great joy to celebrate their lives, honor their story, and introduce them to a new generation. They defied tradition to pursue their dreams on their own terms. They fought to succeed and find their voices in a society that silenced women. They celebrated each other’s successes, sparred, and broke each other’s falls. Vibrant, resilient, and magnificent in all their complexity, Hale and Luce define the modern woman of the 1920s—and the 2020s. I hope their courage will inspire readers to persevere and live life to the hilt.

All my thanks to the IBPA awards jury and to my publisher, Koehler Books. As Clare Boothe Luce said, “Male supremacy has kept woman down. It has not knocked her out.”