To all of my readers and friends, I am thrilled to announce that I have been selected as a finalist (in the Self-Help category) for the 2020 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards (link here)! The nomination is for my second book, Your Turn: Ways to Celebrate Life Through Storytelling. This wonderful surprise has been a major development for me, and I am honored and excited to share the news with all of you.
This is truly a full-circle moment for me because I won a Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for my 2016 memoir, Where the Water Meets the Sand. After receiving my first IBPA award, I received several questions and requests for advice from budding writers who wanted to tell their own stories but were not sure where or how to start. Almost always, my answer was simply, “You all have stories. Write your stories and make a difference.”
This made me think about the importance that writing has had in my own life. With the passage of time, writing my stories was like revisiting my life’s journey, but with a fresh perspective and poignant feelings from the past. Writing our stories helps us make sense of the past, enables us to visualize our futures, and ultimately brings us to a place of healing. Although resurrecting times of great difficulty can be painful, the therapeutic and artistic payoff is invaluable; this is something that I have come to know deeply through personal experience. All my reflections on the value of personal writing started coming together, and eventually, I had the inspiration from writing Your Turn.
Every year, IBPA holds a conference and a lovely gala awards ceremony for the Benjamin Franklin Awards. As you may have guessed, this year’s events have been canceled due to the coronavirus. While I am disappointed, I am glad to have some fun memories from my first attendance at the ceremony. One favorite memory is of the moment it was announced that Where the Water Meets the Sand had won a Gold Award. They called my name, but I didn’t move initially because I still was in shock that I had won. Finally, my friends around me nudged me and said, “Tyra, get up! You have to go on stage…you won!” I still laugh about it when I think of it.
Of course, it would be wonderful to win again this year (the winners will be announced in May 2020), but as the saying goes, “It is an honor just to be nominated.” And I mean it. Being able to connect with others in a resonant way by sharing my personal stories is an honor. Whatever the result, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with other writers, and to have worked again with my wonderful publishing company, She Writes Press.
Thank you all for reading my stories, for supporting my writing endeavors, and for bringing your own stories to the world.
For those who have read Your Turn, what are the favorite lessons and stories you have shared with others after reading it?
© 2020 Tyra Manning