Oct. 22, 2023: And the Winner is....
Last night my husband and I attended the Royal Palm Literary Awards Banquet. An annual state-wide gathering of writers and other professionals in the publishing industry, to honor the award winners of the Royal Palm Literary Competition.
This literary competition has a wide range of categories, so the room was filled with all kinds of writers. Writers of romance, horror, poetry, picture books, graphic novels, memoir, nonfiction, science fiction, historical fiction, writers for adults, writers for children,…and the list goes on. There were also agents, publishers, editors, illustrators, self-published authors, traditionally published authors, and pre-published authors. In other words, a room filled with all kinds of people involved in all kinds of roles, in the publishing of books.
I knew a handful of the people there from past writing events and gatherings, but most I had not previously met, so it was an opportunity to network and widen my circle of professional relationships. It was also a chance to fill my bucket and build my village.
Being surrounded by others who share your passion for books and writing is soul-nurturing. It helps to affirm that your pursuit of your art, the art of writing, is not in vain. While this kind of support is always important, it seems even more critical right now.
Book bans, the silencing of diverse voices, even the erasing of historical facts, is no longer an outlier, but the norm in so many places across our country. As a teacher and a writer, I am on the front lines of this current attack on the foundational principles of democracy. It can be disheartening, exhausting, stressful, and disturbing, to experience first-hand the chipping away of liberties and rights that as Americans, we took for granted.
But it is encouraging and inspiring to gather with so many people who are committed to supporting the rights and responsibilities we have, and to resist the forces of intolerance and hatred.
One of my yet-to-be-published novels was a finalist in the Middle Grades Novels category. I am thrilled to report that it not only won the Gold Award for that category, but was second runner-up for 2023 Unpublished Book of the Year. Such a humbling and incredible moment for me, and all of the other authors whose books were honored.
When we gather to honor strong writing, we all win!