Sunday, January 20, 2008

Noble Woman and Writer Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Everyone is fortunate to find mentors and role models to look up to. For a writer, trying to make her way in the lonely, rejection-filled world of writing, finding a writing mentor is a treasure. I am lucky to have generous, warm, thoughtful writing mentors, one of whom is Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Carolyn is the author of the newly released The Frugal Editor -- a must-read for any writer, beginning or advanced, along with her fabulous companion book The Frugal Promoter. If you don't have copies of these two writing-shelf-must-haves, go to right now and consider it an investment in your writing career.

Carolyn was also kind enough to mention me in her blog, (scroll down to the January 3 post...) Her blog is a terrific resource for writers and readers alike.

And, I just found out Carolyn has a new endeavor: her annual "Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize for Literature."

Carolyn says, "Praised or maligned, the Nobel Prize for Literature is always news. It selects the best from the world and therefore misses much of value." So Carolyn, “Back to Literature” columnist for, aims to close the gap with her annual “Noble Prize for Literature.”

Over the last years the Nobel committee has recognized authors for their literary expertise but there has also been a trend toward awarding the prize for, as Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Tim Rutten says, “an author’s particular relevance to the moral moment in which the world finds itself.”

Carolyn’s prize therefore concentrates on books that address these same issues. For her Noble Prize, Carolyn considers books written in English (which narrows the field of prospects considerably) because writers who write in English have been rather neglected over the years and, she admits, because that is the language in which she . . . ahem, reads well enough..

Carolyn’s Noble Prize lists have included well-known authors who explore discrimination in their writing like Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison but she tries to concentrate on authors who have not been posted to bestseller lists or won major awards. Some past winners are poet Lloyd King and LA's Leora G. Krygier, Randall Sylvis and Suzanne Lummis.

The winners for 2007 are: Christopher Meeks, Ken Kreckel, Magadalena Ball, Rolf Gompertz, Joyce Faulkner and Pat McGrath Avery, Christine Alexanians, Sona Ovasapyan, Alison Bechdel, Diane Ackerman, Joshua Ferris, Lionel Shriver, Karla Brundage, John F. Nienstedt and Yvonne Perry.

My amazing mentor Carolyn Howard Johnson is no stranger to literary prizes. Her first novel, This is the Place, won Sime-Gen's Reviewers’ Choice Award after it was published in 2001 and went on to win 7 other awards. Her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening, has won three awards, and her Frugal Book Promoter and her Frugal Editor were both named USA Book News' Best Professional Book in their years of publiciation. Learn more about Carolyn at


Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Dallas, I found this on my Google alerts. I have to say, I am just so touched by it. What a pleasure--real warm fuzzies--to think you have made a difference in another's life. How lucky we are to have found one another. How lucky we are to be developing so many meaningful connections.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

LogosEther said...

Yes, that's excellent that you have support from such a great writer. In the past, I've caught myself daydreaming about being buddies with and getting pointers from Orson Scott Card.

So I agree with your advice for writer's block. It's good to just give the writing a break for a while so that when you come back to it, you're seeing it with a fresh perspective.

For people who are decent with photo editing and graphic design and stuff like that, I have an alternative cure for writer's block. They can do what I did and design a book cover. It's fun, it's productive, it gets your mind off of writing for a while, and it can also serve to get you pumped up for starting the writing up again. I put my cover up on my new post.