“We have honored 950 amazing directors over the past 19 years, selected from submissions from students, colleagues, alumni, band parents, administrators and more,” says SBO editor Mike Lawson. “This country has so many great music educators. This year, we will reach the milestone of 1000 directors honored! We have band directors nominating their assistants, assistants nominating their directors, it's a wonderful process. Reading the submissions and working with our nomination team to make the final selections each year is a difficult but heartwarming process.”
Lawton worked briefly in London publishing prior to becoming, by the mid-1980s, a documentary television producer at the newly created Channel 4. In 1993 he settled in New York, and in 1995 won a WH Smith award for his third book Black Out. He went back into television in England in 1997, and by 1999 had dropped off the TV and books map completely. He returned in 2001 with Riptide (American title: Bluffing Mr. Churchill), which was snapped up by Columbia Pictures. For most of the 21st century, so far, he has tended to be elusive and itinerant, residing in England, the United States and Italy. He appeared in New York, in 2008, with a reading in Greenwich Village. Earlier the same year he was named in the Daily Telegraph (London) as one of '50 Crime Writers To Read Before You Die.' In October 2010 he read in Ottawa, Toronto, Portland and Seattle, ending up at the Mysterious Book Store in Tribeca, and later that year was named in the New York Times Review's 'Pick of the Year' for his novel 'A Lily of the Field'.