It takes a village to raise good writers, and the Florida Writers Association’s annual flagship writing competition, the Royal Palm Literary Awards (RPLA), engages hundreds of “writers helping writers” annually. This year, 25 dedicated RPLA coordinators and nearly 200 judges reviewed an astounding 577 entries, providing in-depth critique geared toward helping each writer continue to improve in our craft. There are no RPLA losers.
However, there are winners, and this year’s were announced during a live Zoom event on October 16, beginning with the Grand Awards.
RPLA Published Book of the Year 2021
Barbara Rein’s Tales from the Eerie Canal won top honors as the RPLA Published Book of the Year. Barbara writes horror short stories with delightfully creepy twists, and quirky personal essays inspired by the oddities that bounce her way. She admits to being addicted to dachshunds.
RPLA Unpublished Book of the Year 2021
Dana J.Summer’s From Hell’s Heart was awarded the RPLA Unpublished Book of the Year. Dana is an editorial cartoonist and comic strip artist turned author. He has written five novels and lives with his wife in Orlando.
RPLA Children’s Book of the Year 2021
Arielle Houghee’s Pling’s Party won Children’s Book of the Year. Arielle, owner of Orange Blossom Books, is a five-time RPLA-winning author, editor, speaker, and executive vice president of the Florida Writers Association. Arielle’s expertise also helped me update this very blog last year!
The Candice Coghill Memorial Award for Youth
NM Collet’s Ode to Rain, submitted in the category of Unpublished Poetry, ages 12 to 15, won this year’s youth award. This award was established in memory of Candice Coghill, who was an active member of Florida Writers Association, a youth writing advocate, and a tireless contributor to the writing community.
RPLA Winners 2021
This year’s roster of winners includes Al Pessin, a five-time RPLA winner and fellow critique group member, whose thriller BLOWBACK — set in Syria, the second in the Task Force Epsilon series — won Silver. A well-deserved win! I wrote about SANDBLAST, the first in the series that takes place in Afghanistan, move over Homeland, here comes Sandblast. Order your books, check out the reviews and read this longtime journalist’s thoughtful piece on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan here.
And check out all these other remarkable RPLA 2021 winners: Doug Alderson, Marty Ambrose, L. Reynolds Andric, Sophie Bartow, Nancy Beaule, Kerry Blaisdell, Barbara Bond, Diana V. Braddom, Bonnie Hoover Braedlin, JC Bruce, Lisa Buei-Collard, Edward Burke, Nancy Buscher, Kip Cassino, Stephen Charles, Bette Lee Crosby, Shutta Crum, Arthur M. Doweyko, Kristin Durfee, Jessie Erwin, Linda Feist, Catherine Underhill Fitzpatrick, MR Gallows, KE Garland, Juliette Godot, Lee Gramling, Elle E. Iré, Raymond Hall, Chris Hamilton, Robert Hart, Veronica H. Hart, Michael R.Howard, Donald Jay, Claire M. Johnson, Catherine Kean, Krista Keating-Joseph, Patrick Kendrick, Susan Kite, Linda Kraus, Coby Lee, Loren Leith, Joan Levy, Susan Lloyd-Davies, Lawrence Martin, Claire Matturro, Sharon L.Menear, Mark H. Newhouse, Vanna Nguyen, Virginia Nygard, Dakota Orlando, Elle Andrews Patt, Ken Pelham, Jack Pendray, Craig Pennington, Amarilys Rassler, Vicki Riley, Wendy L. Sanford, PhD, Kelly Sanford, Lynn Schiffhorst, Cliff Sharke, KL Small, Alison R. Solomon, DG Stern, Betsy K. Stoutmorrill, MR Street, Mary T. Wagner, Ryan Wakefield, Patty Walsh, Elizabeth Weiss Vollstadt.
[Whew! I’ve been singing the ABC song all week as I worked on this little project!]
How great to celebrate these authors and the Florida Writers Association, truly “writers helping writers.” Here’s to gathering in person next year to celebrate those who garner the 2022 RPLA wins. The process begins in February!