Message from the President (as printed in the June 2020 edition of the Author's Voice)
SFWA Year in Review
I can’t believe a whole year has gone by since I was elected President of the South Florida Writers Association for a second term. I can say without a doubt that it has been an awesome experience. Thank you! And I look forward to serving our members for another year, spearheading new events, groups, community involvement and virtual programs. Super exciting!
There’s something for everyone here at the SFWA. We seek every opportunity to help our members read and critique their poetry and writings, showcase their work and sell their books. I’d like to use this occasion to acknowledge the amazing membership and collaborative community events we hosted over the past 12 months.
As in previous years, we continued to host interesting and informative guest speakers, offered writing contest topics that were both thematic and relevant, and brought our members together in fellowship and collaboration.
Our monthly critique groups were also a mainstay, giving our fiction, nonfiction and poetry writers the opportunity to review each other’s work and benefit from valuable feedback. Meanwhile, our monthly Authors Showcase Series at Books & Books at Suniland entered its second full year, giving our member authors the opportunity to present, sell and autograph their books. And our signature annual event, the Mango Writers Conference, was chock full of amazing speakers, writing exercises and fun.
The SFWA also believes in the importance of fostering young talent, and in that spirit we were again a proud co-sponsor of the Junior Orange Bowl Creative Writing Contest for Miami-Dade eighth graders, whose winning essays were published in the Author’s Voice.
The last couple of months have been unprecedented times, and I’d like to thank everyone for adjusting and finding ways to keep our writing community together during the pandemic. We’re here to lift each other up and keep our lives as normal as possible as we get through this together. As we look forward to a return to normalcy, I find it most important to point out that we are always seeking to improve and expand the services and programs we provide, and we welcome your feedback as members and hope you continue to let us know how we’re doing. Remember, without you, the SFWA Year in Review By Beverly Melasi-Haag SFWA President don’t exist.
Let’s also not forget that all we are and all we do at the SFWA depends heavily on the tireless efforts of our officers and Board of Directors. To them I say a heartfelt thank you for serving this year. You are an inspiration to everyone and the reason we can extend the valuable initiatives we offer our members. And to our departing board members, I say we look forward to continuing the great work that you began.
A special thank you to longstanding board member Dr. Steve Liebowitz, who chose to retire from the Board of Directors this year. Dr. Liebowitz served nearly 20 years on the Board, including as President of the SFWA twice, Director-at-Large and Secretary, and he will remain an active member of the SFWA. I also applaud Dr. Billy Jones, currently our esteemed Director of Website, who chose to leave the Board this year. He spearheaded many innovative projects and events, including creating our new website, hosting our very first virtual membership meeting and board meeting, and moderating our first Virtual Authors Showcase event. Dr. Jones will continue to be a member of the SFWA and help behind the scenes when needed.
Finally, to our members and friends: Thank you for being a part of this great Association. We look forward to continue serving you this year by working closely with you and our new board to make the South Florida Writers Association the best place for authors, poets, and writers to develop and grow.