Three board members of the San Diego Book Awards (SDBA) spoke to us about their efforts to expand awareness and participation in SDBA by writers in San Diego County. SDBA has operated for 23 years but, said President Jean Forsythe, SBDA is “the best kept secret” within the San Diego writers community.
Evidence of their lack of visibility is that they had relatively few entries for this year’s book awards. As a result, SDBA this year will only be giving awards for “unpublished works.” They had to suspend their “published works” competition due to a dearth of submissions.
To illustrate the impact and value of the SBDA awards, board member Aida Dennehy described how her life as a writer dramatically changed when she won last year’s “Best Unpublished Novel.” Before, her writing was shared only with her family; but now she realizes she has a voice and a message to share as a writer and a Syrian. She is an active SDBA board member and, to her own amazement, leads a writers group in North County.
Board member Tiffany Vakilian, a poet, emphasized that SDBA is deeply committed to strengthening and promoting awareness of the group’s annual book awards. A key right now, she explained, is reaching out directly to other writer organizations (like SDWEG) to educate local writers, enhance their appreciation of these book awards, and solicit their participation in the coming years.
Jean, Aida and Tiffany concluded their presentations by actively encouraging advice and involvement from SDWEG members. They were hopeful that groups like SDWEG would help spread the word about the annual San Diego Book Awards; that our members would submit entries in future competitions; and that some even become active members of SDBA. If you are interested, you are encouraged to go to their website: sandiegobookawards.org.