To elevate and commemorate Girls Write Now’s 15th Anniversary of mentoring the next generation of women writers, we launched the first-ever Girls Write Now Awards honoring women whose lives and work inspire girls every day to find their voices and tell their stories.
Our goals for this event were two-fold: to raise funds to support our unique programs, and to do it in true Girls Write Now style — no podiums, no hotel ballrooms, and no boring food! Thanks to the incredible generosity of our sponsors and guests, as well as the hard work of our Board, staff, and volunteers, we sold out three weeks in advance of the event — and raised just shy of $60,000!
With the tremendous support of our Board of Directors, led by Chair Kamy Wicoff, we created the Awards to recognize outstanding women who are role models for girls in their dedication to hard work and craft; commitment to honest, fearless storytelling, and creative leadership in a world where the stories of women and girls are often dismissed or invisible. The 2013 Girls Write Now Awards were chaired by Girls Write Now Board member Unyi Agba and our friend Suzzy Roche, who together harnessed the power of our Spring Event Task Force.
In this inaugural year, we honored three outstanding women: Tamra Davis, a producer, director, and author who has found success in male-dominated fields thanks to her refusal to listen to anyone who said “no”; Emma Cookson, Chairman of award-winning advertising agency BBH, who is committed to helping women take leadership roles in her creative industry; and Tayari Jones, novelist and former Girls Write Now Board Vice Chair, who has won an astounding number of prestigious awards for her writing.
The 2013 Girls Write Now Awards were held at the exclusive venue 632 on Hudson, and featured delicious fresh and local food from Noah Cain & Gen Sato, including cheese and truffle mini-quiches, steak crostini, and a fresh oyster bar. Before and after the Awards presentation, guests circulated around the venue, taking in the sights from the Art Deco Room to the flowering roof deck. During the program, we were treated to a performance of a song written by mentees Priscilla Guo and Najaya Royal about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen activist fighting for education for girls. Tinderbox singer/songwriter Denitia Odigie had the entire crowd singing along with her for the rousing chorus.
As we look ahead to 2014, our Board is already laying plans and scouting locations for an even bigger and better Girls Write Now Awards. If you are interested in getting involved as a sponsor or otherwise, please contact development@girlswritenow.
“Advertising is a profession with far too few female creative leaders, so I passionately look to organizations like Girls Write Now to help address the situation.” — Emma Cookson (Chairman, Bartle Bogle Hegarty)
“To mentor someone is a special position. My torch is bright enough to share and to light the way for others.” — Tamra Davis (Producer, Director, and Author)
“Girls Write Now represents the coming together of purpose, passion, art, and vision, which enriches all our lives, our communities, our nation, and our world.” — Tayari Jones (Novelist)
- Denitia Odigie is a Brooklyn-based, soul/R&B artist, songwriter, and producer. A native Texan who grew up on country music and Motown, Denitia spent almost a decade in Nashville before settling into the Brooklyn indie scene. Denitia is a performer with the Tinderbox Music Festival.
- Priscilla Guo: “My name is Priscilla Guo but I have been called many other things in my life: Junior, P-Killa, Riscilla, Scilla, La, cake friend, medium short, Queen of the Desert, artist, and now writer. It’s my third year here at Girls Write Now and it’s official: I’m a girl who writes now, anything and everything.”
- Najaya Royal: “I fell in love with poetry at the age of seven and since then I’ve been writing poetry and performing my work. This is my second year with Girls Write Now. I’ve been published in seven books, had two poems set to opera music and one performed at Carnegie Hall, but this is only a few of my many accomplishments.”