Saturday, November 7, 2009

Boca Raton Writer Deborah Shlian Wins Prestigious RPLA Awards

Florida Writer Deborah Shlian wins Prestigious RPLA Awards, Announced at Statewide Florida Writers Association Conference

The Florida Writers Association (FWA) has announced that Deborah Shlian of Boca Raton, Florida, won two prestigious Royal Palm Literary Awards (RPLAs). Dr. Shlian’s winning entries, Rabbit in the Moon and "Second Chance" both won First Place awards for Published Thriller (the novel was co-written with her husband, Joel Shlian) and Published Short Story, respectively.

FWA is a statewide nonprofit trade association with some 1,000 members. Ms. Bridgman’s award was announced at the awards ceremony at FWA’s recent three-day annual conference in Orlando, Florida. The conference attracted nearly 300 member-attendees and offered a mix of workshops and opportunities to network with a faculty of agents, acquisition editors, publishers, and industry professionals from across the United States. The ceremony was the conference’s crowning event.

Other RPLA winners included Chris Roerden’s educational/information book, Don’t Sabatage Your Submission, and Erwin Wunderlich’s historical novel, Salvos on the Backwater, tied for 2009 Published Book of the Year.

This competition was RPLA’s eighth, and to date it is the largest. Some 236 entries were submitted for 23 categories of writing, including book-length nonfiction (six genres), short nonfiction (two genres), poetry, book-length fiction (twelve genres) and short fiction (two genres). Awards were given separately for published and unpublished works.

“RPLA is special.” said Chrissy Jackson, FWA’s vice president. “Like all writing competitions, it recognizes excellence, but this competition also provides comprehensive, constructive feedback to all entrants. I don’t know of any other competition that guarantees that at least three judges will read and thoroughly comment on all entries.”

This year, RPLA had 64 active judges, the largest number in its history. Each read an average of 12 submissions, for a total of 776 rubrics completed. The judges are current or retired teachers, librarians, professional editors, college professors, published authors, former RPLA winners, journalists, and leaders of writing and reading groups. A good percentage have advanced degrees. Most are Floridians, but others hail from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New York. All entries were blind.

“The judging was first-rate,” said Chris Coward, RPLA’s 2009 chairperson. “Collectively, the judges donated thousands of hours of time to this competition, and because they’re anonymous, they got absolutely no public recognition for it. They truly live the FWA motto, ‘Writers Helping Writers’.”

The Florida Writers Association, 1,000 members strong and growing, is a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization that supports the state’s established and emerging writers. Membership is open to the public, and membership forms are posted on FWA’s website,

The Royal Palm Literary Awards competition is a service of the Florida Writers Association established to recognize excellence in members’ published and unpublished works while providing blind, objective, and constructive written assessments for all entrants.

For additional information about FWA, visit the FWA website: For a list of 2009 RPLA winners, complete with submission summaries and author biographies, visit

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