The Speculative Literature Foundation is pleased to announce that its eighth annual Older Writers Grant is to be awarded to Shauna Roberts. The $750 grant is intended to assist writers who are fifty years of age or older at the time of the grant application, and who are just starting to work at a professional level.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Roberts grew up in nearby Beavercreek. From childhood, she dreamed of writing fiction, but that dream took a back seat to her nonfiction writing career and other activities when her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 and died soon after.
With a keener sense of her own mortality, Roberts joined the New Orleans chapter of the Romance Writers of America and a critique group. There, she began squeezing in time between magazine articles to write short stories and work on a novel.
In 2009, Roberts attended the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers' Workshop. Just a couple of years later, she was accepted as an associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
Recurring themes in her novels and short stories include loss, prejudice and tolerance, and social issues such as class, sex, and religion. Roberts also enjoys reworking old ballads and folk tales.
A former Katrina refugee, Roberts has recently written several short stories set during the aftermath and failure of the federal levees in New Orleans. "Bosphorus Dreams," which was Roberts' entry for the Older Writers Grant, will be the first of those stories to be published. Slated to appear in the anthology, A Quiet Shelter There, it is scheduled for publication in 2012 by Hadley Rille Books. The anthology is edited by Gerri Leen and will benefit an animal shelter.
Grant Administrator Malon Edwards said of Roberts' entry, "Bosphorus Dreams": "Judith is an emotionally-fragile woman in the beginning of the story, but through curt and witty dialogue with cats and a gradual bolstering of her confidence, she gains emotional strength. By the end of the story, she's more than just a grieving woman who has fled New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina for Istanbul. She's a woman who has saved a city."
Honorable Mentions for the Older Writers Grant go to Marcelle Dubé, Anne Pillsworth, Ada Milenkovic Brown, F.J. Bergmann, and Lou Antonelli for their intriguing and entertaining submissions, which made the selection of the winner a competitive but enjoyable process.