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Unpublished Writers Find Recognition From San Diego Book Awards

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Photo credit: Oriol Borrega Cepa / Flickr

Shelves of books are seen at the San Diego Central Library, Oct. 28, 2013.

Unpublished Writers Find Recognition From San Diego Book Awards


Jean Forsythe, president, San Diego Book Awards Association

Jeanne Ferris, vice president, San Diego Book Awards Association


San Diego novelist Chet Cunningham has written more than 300 published books. He started the San Diego Book Awards 22 years ago to inspire writers who were less fortunate in finding an outlet for their work.

The San Diego Book Awards Association, founded in 1994, honors both published and unpublished local writers. The deadline for unpublished submissions is Dec. 31 for the 2016 awards.

“He thought (unpublished writers) needed celebration and recognition in order to continue,” said Jeanne Ferris, the association’s vice president. “Not everyone has the fortitude to have the belief that their story is compelling after so many rejections.”

Association president Jean Forsythe has written four unpublished novels, and won the association’s award for best unpublished children’s novel in 2007. She won before she had any involvement in the association and said the award had the intended impact: a huge confidence boost.

“Winning made me realize I was probably better than I thought I was and that I should probably keep going with it,” Forsythe said. “When you write, you’re really isolated.”

Submissions for published work are accepted during January. In addition to awards for different genres, there is a best-in-show award named after Theodore Geisel. Past winners have included Lac Su’s “I Love Yous Are For White People” and J. Dylan Yates’ “The Belief in Angels.”

Forsythe and Ferris joins KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday with tips on finding success as an unpublished writer.

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