Children of Men author P.D. James and screenwriters Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby were honored at the 19th-annual USC Libraries Scripter Award ceremony on Sunday, February 18. The event, sponsored by the Friends of the USC Libraries, drew a crowd of 300 to Doheny Memorial Library, including all the Academy Award-nominated film's screenwriters.
On hand to honor the writers were a number of literary luminaries and Hollywood personalities. Movie critic, television personality and USC faculty member Leonard Maltin accepted the award on behalf of James, while actor and director Danny Huston presented the award to the screenwriting team. Howard A. Rodman, chair of the USC School of Cinematic Arts writing division as well as this year's Scripter selection committee chair, highlighted the book-adaptation process.
Comedy legend Hal Kanter served as grand master of ceremonies, while pop-culture icon Henry Winkler entertained the library's supporters as emcee.
Via a videotaped acceptance speech filmed at her London home, James commented on her appreciation for libraries.
"This occasion combines two of the great enthusiasms of my life--writing and libraries," James said. "When I was a child, it was the public library in Cambridge which gave me the greatest joy and helped me to discover books and indeed has partly formed me as a writer."
In accepting the Scripter Award, Cuaron said, "Speaking here tonight made me think very carefully about the process of adaptation. Making this film about the future required us to fully understand the present." He then went on to cite the influence of such diverse thinkers as Naomi Klein and Wole Soyinka in informing the screenplay's vision of the future.
Marje Schuetze-Coburn, dean of the USC Libraries said, "As USC grows in stature as a premier research university, events like Scripter support the USC Libraries' mission to help students and faculty excel in our dynamic academic setting."
Pointing to the role of libraries in helping to inspire creative artworks, Schuetze-Coburn said, "Our special collections preserve scholarly materials across the disciplines, from arts and letters to the regional history of Southern California--ensuring that students and faculty can study the legacies of the world's greatest writers, scientists, artists and thinkers."
The evening culminated with USC Trustee and president of the Friends of the USC Libraries Glenn A. Sonnenberg surprising Winkler with a card-catalogue drawer in Doheny Library's Hall of Honor for his work in support of the USC Libraries.
The USC Libraries flagship fundraising event, Scripter was created in 1988 to recognize both the author and screenwriters behind the year's best film adaptation of a book. Proceeds from this year's black-tie gala will support the creation of the Friends of the USC Libraries Lecture Hall as well as new spaces for instruction, collaboration and materials preservation.