Effie Lee Morris Literary Awards

WNBA Names Literary Award Winners

July 14, 2020
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The Women’s National Book Association San Francisco Chapter is pleased and proud to debut the first-ever Effie Lee Morris WNBA Literary Award. Ms. Morris was a pioneering Black librarian and the founder of this chapter of the Women’s National Book Association in 1968. The Virtual Awards Ceremony will take place on July 24th, 5pm PST (see link below).

Effie Morris first started her library career in Cleveland, Ohio. She became the first female chairperson of the Library of Congress and was the president of the National Braille Association for two terms. She was dedicated to literacy in children as well as underserved children and those who learn differentlyShe moved to San Francisco where she was the first Coordinator of Children’s Services at the San Francisco Public Library. She established the Children’s Historical and Research Collection at the Children’s Center of the San Francisco Library and became the first African American president of the Public Library Association. The WNBA SF Chapter is continuing our advocacy for the voices of women and diverse authors. In honor of Ms. Morris’s important work and legacy, we are announcing the first winners of the Effie Lee Morris WNBA Literary award.

The WNBA SF chapter received many wonderful entries in the genres of fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry. With the help of judges specializing in each genre, we found first, second, and third place winners for each genre. 

 

 For the genre of FICTION: 

 

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First Place: Butterfly Girl by Anne Marie O’Brien

Anne Marie O’Brien grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay area where she teaches writing courses at UC Berkeley Extension, Stanford Continuing Studies, and Pixar. She is known for writing dog books for children, especially her book Laura’s Gift.

 

 

 

 

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Second PlaceThe Mounted Position by Vera Chan 

Vera Chan is a content strategist, reporter, and storyteller from Oakland California. She has worked as an editor for web companies such as Yahoo! and has worked to share cultural insight to reporters for companies like The New York Times. She has contributed chapters to Asia in the San Francisco Bay Area and Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation.

 

 

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Third PlaceSomeone Else by Harriet Garfinkle

Harriet Garfinkle is an award-winning painter, dancer, and choreographer who danced professionally in San Francisco. She has choreographed the original play “Purple Breasts” and has her own experimental theatre group called The Bureau of Western Mythology and dance group TALLGIRLS. She teaches Pilates and is currently working her way through a novel. 

 

 

 

 For the genre of NON-FICTION: 

 

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First PlaceRefugees in the Promised Land by Ellie Bozmarova  

Ellie Bozmarova is a Bulgarian-American writer and writing coach who received her B.A of English from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. Her work has been featured in The Common, phoebe, TIMBER Journal among others.

 

 

 

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Second Place: And Now for the Beloved Trees by H.L. Onstad  

H.L Onstad is the founder of H2O content strategy which aims to provide engaging digital experiences. She has over 15 years of experience working with developing teams in education technology and trade book publishing. She uses her acute storytelling ability to help her clients in communicating their ideas through visual components. 

 

 

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Third PlaceI Was Just Three by Maureen Lechwar 

Maureen Lechwar is an alumna of the University of San Francisco. She is a big fan of the Don’s basketball team and was featured in a YouTube video highlighting USF athletic fans. 

 

 

 

 For the genre of POETRY: 

 

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First PlaceThe Blues by Joan Gelfand 

Joan Gelfand is an award-winning author and writing coach. Her reviews, stories, and poetry have appeared in both national and international literary journals and magazines. She is a lecturer on her “4 C’s” system which boasts how to become a successful writer and is also a past president for the WNBA SF Chapter. Her poetry has had both a film based on it and has won a Certificate of Merit in a juried art show at the International Association for the Study of Dreams.

 

 

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Second PlaceSeoraksan by Lucille Lang 

Lucille Lang received an M.F.A in creative writing from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in mathematics/science from UC Berkeley. She married at age 14 and had her first child at 15, which led to both a pause in her education from ages 14-17 and her memoir Married at Fourteen: A True Story. Her memoir received a 2013 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award and was a finalist for the 2013 Northern California Book Award in Creative Nonfiction.  She had a successful career as a science writer and director of the Hall of Health in Oakland which has since closed and has numerous full-length poetry collections. 

 

 

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Third PlacePivot by Joan Gelfand Image

Joan Gelfand is an award-winning author and writing coach. Her reviews, stories, and poetry have appeared in both national and international literary journals and magazines. She is a lecturer on her “4 C’s” system which boasts how to become a successful writer and is also a past president for the WNBA SF Chapter. Her poetry has had both a film based on it and has won a Certificate of Merit in a juried art show at the International Association for the Study of Dreams.

 Congratulations to all of the winners and those who entered the competition! Our Virtual Awards Ceremony will take place on July 24th, 5pm PST. Please join our celebration of literature and legacy by RSVP’ing here:

https://wnba-sfchapter.org/july-24-effielee-morris-writing-awards-mixer/  

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