Lara Lillibridge: Inaugural Hippocampus Literary Citizen of the Year – More Dispatches from HippoCamp 2019

At the closing session of HippoCamp 2019, we made the following announcement and presentation:

“One of the best and most frequent things we hear about HippoCamp, our annual conference for creative nonfiction writers, is that it builds community. Before we had a conference, we felt our online magazine also did a good job at that.

We were founded with a three-fold mission: to entertain, educate, and engage. I want to focus on the engage part here.

It’s not enough to just create a venue where writers can publish and share work — to me, it also means supporting our contributors, publishing new voices, and promoting work of other writers through our reviews and interviews and, of course, to interact with people on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The same could be said for writers in the community — so many writers I know aren’t only focused on their own work and accomplishments: they think of others.

We’re starting a new tradition — a new way to formally recognize members of our extended community for their contributions to literary citizenship — or what I like to call LITIZENSHIP.

donna talarico lara lillibridge hippocamp litcit award 2019

Hippocampus Magazine founder Donna Talarico with Lara Lillibridge, the 2019 Hippocampus Magazine Literary Citizen of the Year Award.

Each August, we will present the Hippocampus Magazine Literary Citizen of the Year award. There’s the Emmy, the Grammy, the Webby – now there is the LitCi.

We would like to recognize Lara Lillibridge as our first honoree of this award.

Since I’ve known Lara, she’s been tireless in her promotion of others. In addition to her own successful writing career and raising a family, she’s been a champion and cheerleader for others. She frequently publishes book reviews on a variety of channels, and if you were to look at her Twitter feed, Facebook timeline, or Instagram account, you’re likely to see more mentions of other writers than posts about herself, more photos of books and literary events than images of hers. She also helps create opportunities for others: She co-edited and produced an anthology, and she’s been on a reading panel for a literary magazine.

Lara: this comes naturally to you. This all comes from the bottom of your heart, from a love of giving to others, and from a love of the written word. You don’t do this for recognition, but guess what: you deserve to be recognized. So get up here and accept our inaugural Literary Citizen of the Year Award.

[if you were there in person, this is where you would have seen Lara come to the stage for the award presentation!]

Along with this award comes $500 in prizes, which includes gift certificates to places that will allow you to focus on YOU for a bit — $250 toward an AirBnb stay so you can shelter up and get some writing done. $150 to 4imprint so you can create a promotional item or two to help promote your new book. And $100 in cash.

We wanted to reveal this new initiative at HippoCamp — but for 2020, we will accept nominations. So stay on the look-out for star literary citizens!

Congrats again, Lara.

[there was lots of applause here!]

In the past two years, Hippocampus has made strides, and what started as an online journal has grown into a literary organization that can no longer be managed by one person alone. We’ve had volunteer readers behind the the scenes since the beginning, but you’ve likely seen some new editors and voices and faces becoming more active. One of those amazing people is Rae Pagliarulo who joined us as Writing Life editor and is now our flash editor — I’m going to turn it over to Rae, so she can share more about how we’re growing.” [See that announcement here.]

-Donna T.

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