Writer’s Delight, 2nd time in a week a Maplewood writer(s) has been honored!

By mark-slade February 28, 2011

Maplewood Husband and Wife Snag LA Times Book Prize Nomination

Marina Budhos and Marc Aronson are nominated.

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Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos, Maplewood residents, are finalists for a 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  The husband-and-wife team were lauded for Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom and Science (Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) in the Young Adult Literature category, it was announced Tuesday. The 31st annual prizes list five finalists in each of ten categories.
“It’s absolutely thrilling,” said Budhos, the morning after the nominations were announced. She is especially pleased that Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom and Science has found a broad readership, both Young Adult and Adult. The book, which Budhos and Aronson were inspired to write when they discovered the role of sugar in their two families’ histories, follows the trail of sugar through history from India, through the European Middle Ages, to the Atlantic slave trade.
Budhos is excited about the nomination she says, especially since the Los Angeles Times Book Prize recognizes work that “you might not expect, books that are a little different.” She further notes that Maplewood resident Pamela Erens was also a finalist for her work, The Understory.
“Sugar,” as they call it for short, was a team effort for the husband and wife. The process was “great,” says Budhos, who explains that they began writing together knowing their individual strengths and weaknesses. “Marc drove the structure,” she recalls, “while I provided the narrative voice.” Their styles of working and writing are “very different,” she notes, but “when there is a creative spark, you expect to butt heads a little.”
While both writers would happily collaborate again, Budhos and Aronson have numerous individual projects in process. Budhos is in a final phase of a historical novel set in the Caribbean. At the same time, she is at work on The End of Everything, a social memoir of her own upbringing in an international, mixed-race community in New York City.
Aronson has completed Trapped, a book for children about the Chilean miners trapped underground. He is also completing a book about J. Edgar Hoover.
Budhos’s recent work, Tell Us We’re Home, also published in 2010 is set in the fictional town of Meadowbrook, which bears a striking resemblance to Maplewood and South Orange.
Three immigrant girls, the daughters of maids and nannies, live in the less well-to-do part of town. Yet they share classes with the kids whose clothing their mothers wash. Their friendships with one another grow over the course of a middle school spring. Budhos researched the book by sitting in on middle school classes and watching nannies and their charges in the park.
Marc Aronson saw into print If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge, published by the National Geographic Society. To research his book, Aronson joined renowned archaeologist Mike Parker-Pearson and his research team at Stonehenge in Surrey, England.
For now, Budhos and Aronson have a trip to plan. The 31st annual 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on April 29.