One of our favorite 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 readers and writers of creative nonfiction. I want to focus on the engage part here. It’s not enough to just create and manage 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 (and, when we can, in-person events).
The same could be said for writers in the creative nonfiction community — so many writers I know aren’t only focused on their own work and accomplishments: they think of others, through and through.
In 2019 we started a new tradition — a way to formally recognize members of our extended community for their contributions to literary citizenship — or what I like to call LIT-A-ZEN-SHIP. It went on hiatus, just as everything did in 2020, but now, it’s back. Each August, we will present the Hippocampus Magazine Literary Citizen of the Year award during our annual conference. There’s the Emmy, the Grammy, the Webby – now there is the LitCi.
Introducing the 2021 Literary Citizen of the Year: Allison K Williams
During HippoCamp 2021’s closing session, we recognized writer, editor, retreat leader, (among other roles!) Allison K Williams as our second honoree of this award.
Allison tirelessly serves the writing community in many ways, from co-moderating a large and super-active CNF-related online group to, during the pandemic, launching The Writer’s Bridge Platform & Social Media Q&A, co-hosted with author Ashleigh Renard, bi-weekly on Zoom. Allison also is the social media editor (and frequent contributor to) the Brevity Nonfiction Blog. And, for years upon years, Allison has shared her wisdom at conferences, seminars, and other guest speaking engagements — and, more spontaneously, via Twitter @replies and Facebook threads (seemingly around the clock). Simply put, helping others comes naturally to Allison.
Another reason we wanted to recognize Allison is that she’s a shining example of how someone being a genuine literary citizen can positively impact their career. Along with Brevity founder Dinty W. Moore, she’s created a successful international writing retreat series (held online during the pandemic) called Rebirth Your Book, and this month Allison celebrates the birth of her own book, many years in the making: Seven Drafts: How to Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book.
She’s one of the most engaged literary citizens I know, and we’re so thrilled to share that she’s this year’s honoree.
From Allison, in response to the announcement:
“When Donna was describing this year’s literary citizen, I found myself nodding, thinking “Oh, I can’t wait to hear who this is! They sound really cool!” And so it’s a real treat to have found out that it’s me, and that I have in fact been practicing what I preach as we all build literary community together.
The silver lining of the pandemic has been that so many online events are now accessible for people with disabilities, people with less discretionary income, people who can’t get away from home for a week-long retreat, but they can steal an hour for their writing and close the door.
I’ve been lucky enough to build the Writers Bridge with Ashleigh Renard and meet so many wonderful writers who want to increase their reach to readers, and to co-host several writing intensives (and now travel retreats) with Dinty W. Moore. I’m truly honored to have our time and work recognized, and delighted to be a part of the Hippocampus literary community. Thank you!”
The Award Details
Along with a physical engraved award comes $400 in prizes, which includes gift certificates to places that will allow our literary citizen of the year to focus on themselves a bit: $150 toward an Airbnb stay to shelter up and get some writing done; $150 toward promotional items to help promote your new book; and $100 in cash.
Please join us once again in congratulating Allison on this honor. We wish you the best of success with the launch of Seven Drafts!
-post by Donna T, on behalf of the Hippocampus Magazine team
P.S. Author Lara Lillibridge was our inaugural honoree in 2019.