There was much happiness on display at the tenth annual Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Event (BBSAWE) on May 18 at Recycled Reads in Austin. People were talking, laughing, eating, exchanging e-mail addresses and phone numbers, eating, reading out loud, giving gifts, taking pictures–did I say eating?
The BBSAWE was created in the spring of 2005, after the tragic death of Ms. Smith, who was a published cozy mystery author. She was past president (International 1999-2000) of Sisters in Crime and was known for her helpfulness to other writers. Dynamic, energetic, and talented, her loss was greatly mourned by her family and the Austin writing community. To honor her memory, the Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation was dedicated in her honor to support and provide a mentoring community for aspiring mystery writers.
Every year Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter calls for submissions of the first
500 words of a mystery story or novel from unpublished authors. The aspiring writers are then matched up with published mystery authors for mentoring.
This tenth BBSAWE was a joyous occasion. Six mentors and seven aspiring writers were introduced to the audience. The writers read aloud the synopses and first 500 words of their submissions. We were treated to a diverse and imaginative display of literary talent.
W.D. Smith, son of Barbara Burnett Smith and head of her foundation, presented certificates to mentors and aspiring writers, as well as copies of his mother’s mystery novels. Russ Hall, prolific mystery writer and all-around Sisters in Crime volunteer, spoke about mentoring, calling on his long-term experience at the job.
“In life, you will realize there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, some will love you, and some will teach you. But the ones who are truly important are the ones who bring out the best in you. They are the rare and amazing people who remind you why it’s worth it. I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”
Read more about the BBSAWE here.