Georgia Writers Association will host the 47th annual Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) awards ceremony on June 11, 2011, at the KSU Center, located at 3333 Busbee Avenue, Kennesaw, GA 30144. The banquet, which is by reservation only, begins at 6 PM. The awards ceremony, which is free and open to the public, starts at 7:30 PM. Sponsored by the Georgia Writers Association and KSU's College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the event honors Georgia authors for books published during 2010. The Georgia Author of the Year Awards recognizes and acknowledges Georgia's wealth of outstanding writers, and celebrates the state's rich literary heritage.
All Georgia-resident authors who have been published during 2010 are eligible for the awards. There are 80 nominations this year in award categories including fiction, first novel, creative nonfiction, history, essay, biography, memoir, poetry, children's mid-reader, and young adult literature.
Georgia author Terry Kay will be receiving the GAYA Lifetime Achievement Award for 2011. A 2009 recipient of the Governor's Award in the Humanities and a 2006 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, Mr. Kay has been a sportswriter and film/theater reviewer (Atlanta Journal-Constitution), a public relations executive and a corporate officer. He is the author of eleven published novels, including The Book of Marie and his most recent novel, Bogmeadow's Wish. His other works include, To Dance with the White Dog, The Valley of Light, Taking Lottie Home, The Kidnapping of Aaron Greene, Shadow Song, The Runaway, Dark Thirty, After Eli and The Year the Lights Came On, as wellas a book of essays (Special K) and a children's book (To Whom the Angel Spoke).
Three of his novels have been produced as Hallmark Hall of Fame movies: To Dance with the White Dog, The Runaway and The Valley of Light. An essayist and regional Emmy-winning screenwriter as well as a novelist, Mr. Kay's work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Mr. Kay has received the Georgia Author of the Year award three times and in 2004 was presented with the Townsend Prize, considered the state's top literary award. In October 2006, he received the prestigious Appalachian Heritage Writer's Award from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV. In March 2007, he was presented the Brooke Baker Award from Dunwoody Library honoring his career as a writer. Also in 2007, Mr. Kay was presented the Stanley W. Lindberg Award, named for the late editor of The Georgia Review and considered one of the state's most prestigious literary honors, given for an individual's significant contribution to the preservation and celebration of Georgia's literary heritage.
Ms. Jessica Handler will emcee the awards ceremony. Ms. Handler wrote the book Invisible Sisters: A Memoir, which has been named one of the "Twenty-Five Books All Georgians Should Read." In addition, Ms. Handler has received a Special Mention for the 2008 Pushcart Prize, a merit scholarship to the inaugural Writers in Paradise conference, an honorable mention for the Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award, and a fellowship at the Hambridge Center for Creative Arts.
The GAYA has grown in prestige and participation since its inception in 1964 by the Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists. The Awards changed hands in 1990 to Georgia Writers Association (GWA), a statewide literary organization sponsored by Kennesaw State University under the executive directorship of Dr. Margaret Walters. GAYA nominations are judged by prominent authors from across the country, and submissions are evaluated for their narrative quality, creativity, enduring message, and ability to evoke emotion.
The competition guidelines are revised each year to parallel the changing literary marketplace, and the GAYA honors both independently published authors and those whose books are published by traditional publishing houses. Additional information can be obtained at authoroftheyear.org/.