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Georgia Independent Author of The Year Award (GIAYA) 2020

Congratulations to the finalists and winners of the second annual GIAYA, which was held on September 26, 2020 in Monroe, Georgia.  The GIAYA recognizes Georgia authors who are independently or non-traditionally published.

(L-R) Georgiana Fields:  Romance (finalist), Tarrant Smith: GIA winner Romance, Vickie Bley: Director of the GIAYA , Christy Breedlove:GIA winner Mystery, Marlene Ratledge Buchanan: GIAYA winner First Novel

Decision making was extremely difficult.  There were large numbers of submissions in each category.  The Southern Pen Team had to narrow the submissions to two deserving writers within each category. Listed below are the finalists and winners.

Categories & Finalists:

Short Story
Skating On the Septic Tank – Genie Berstein (winner)
Big Foot and Other Stories – Susan Lindsley

Young Adult
Stolen – Marlena Frank
Porkington Hamm  — M.M. Rodeheaver (winner)

Historical Fiction
With Kisses from Ceceile – Anne Armistead (winner)
Winter Sisters – Tim Westover

First Novel
Life is Hard. Soften It with Laughter – Marlene Ratledge Buchanan (winner)
Ain’t Nothing But the Devil – Lorelai Watson

Follow My Journey – Dr. Shakra LynnPeaceful Heart, Healthy Body – Michelle Watson (winner)

When Bees Buzz – Christy Breedlove (winner)
Red Blood on White Cotton – John W. Long

Crimson Haze – Georgiana Fields
The Love of Gods – Tarrant Smith (winner)

The Georgia Writers Association decided in the fall of 2018 to no longer include non-traditionally published writers of the state in their annual Georgia Author of the Year Award. A non-traditionally published author, often referred to as an Indie Author, are writers who either self-published or used a hybrid publisher to produce their books.  This often entails the author paying either all or a portion of the cost to publish their works.  Vickie Bley, owner of The Southern Pen Book Shop and an independent author herself, decided these authors should be recognized.  She founded the Georgia Independent Author awards in response to the Georgia Writers Association’s decision.  The first annual GIAYA was held in May 2019.

Since then, Ms. Bley and The Southern Pen Book Shop have recognized and promoted independent authors in achieving their goals.  She offers numerous events show casing authors.  Her annual Southern Pen Conferences are outstanding events for authors to learn and share information. 

Ms. Bley’s Southern Pen Book Shop is located in Monroe and online. For more information for GIAYA 2021 submissions and other details: