2022 Own Voices, Own Stories Award Winners

Cherry Lake Publishing Group Announces 2022 Own Voices, Own Stories Award Winners

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Cherry Lake Publishing Group is thrilled to announce the 2022 recipients of its annual Own Voices, Own Stories Award. Launched in 2021 by Cherry Lake Publishing Group’s imprint, Sleeping Bear Press, the award recognizes new authors from BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ communities with a mission to highlight the universal experience of our shared humanity through diverse and multifaceted experiences.

Grand Prize winners receive a $2,000 cash prize and a publishing contract standard for new Sleeping Bear Press authors. Honor Award winners receive a $500 cash prize as well as one consulting session with a Sleeping Bear Press editor.

2022 Grand Prize manuscripts will be published as part of Sleeping Bear Press’ 2024 season.

2022 Grand Prize Winners

Gauri Dalvi Pandya worked for a decade as a writer in the advertising industry in three different countries (India, Malaysia, South Africa) before aspiring to be a children’s picture book writer. She is an active member of SCBWI, Storystorm and was a 12*12 member. Gauri is a Hindu Indian, born and brought up in India, and now living in the USA.

My story is about finding a way to carry the love of your loved ones and the love for your culture with you wherever you go,” said Pandya. “Own your voice, own your story!

Erica Lee Schlaikjer grew up as a mixed-race “Third Culture Kid” in a Foreign Service family, living in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Switzerland and the United States. She is comfortable shape-shifting and navigating between communities, accustomed to being an outsider, neither here nor there. Her mother is from the Amis tribe, indigenous to Taiwan. Her father is white American. Passionate about telling stories and curious about the world, she holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and international studies from Northwestern University. After working as a magazine writer and nonprofit marketer, she is now a brand strategist for a creative agency. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her Palestinian-American husband and Flamepoint Siamese cat.

I am so honored that my perspective and voice was recognized by Sleeping Bear Press,” said Schlaikjer. “I wrote the story to help preserve at least a small part of my Amis culture and language, and also to connect with other curious readers who find themselves, like me, exploring their identity, seeking belonging, and finding beauty in quiet, fleeting moments.

2022 Honor Award Winners

Jeanine DeHoney is a former arts enrichment teacher, Family Services Coordinator, and a freelance writer. She has been published in Essence, Today’s Black Woman, Beautiful Black Magazine, My Brown Baby, and Skipping Stones Multicultural Magazine among many others. Her essays have been published in multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies and she was a contributing writer to Dream Teen Magazine, a publication highlighting the achievements of teenagers. Jeanine has been the winner of multiple awards from The Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival Brooklyn Nonfiction Prize. She lives in Pennsylvania.

Nikoo Yahyazadeh is an instructional designer and former teacher who has worked in tech, higher education, and K-12. She is a first generation Iranian-American who left Iran during the 1980s with her family. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she enjoys hiking and exploring the outdoors.

The Own Voices Own Stories Award is sponsored by Cherry Lake Publishing Group. To learn more, visit our OVOS Submissions page. To arrange for an interview or feature regarding this award, email carrlee.craig@sleepingbearpress.com.

Own Voices, Own Stories Collection

A-Train Allen by Lesley Younge, Grand Prize Winner Coming Spring 2023
Happy With My Nappy by Gina Lewis, Coming Spring 2023
Who Am I by Julie Hopper, Grand Prize Winner Coming Fall 2023
La Mariachi by Isabel Estrada O’Hagin, Coming Fall 2023
Dancing The Tinikling by Bobbie Peyton, Coming Fall 2023

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