Lois Hayna is the first recipient of the newly established Colorado Authors’ League Lifetime Achievement Award that will be presented at the 2014 Colorado Authors’ League awards banquet on May 8th at the Courtyard by Marriott Denver Cherry Creek. (Click here for banquet information.) Denver-based novelist Robert Greer, author of the C. J. Floyd series, is the featured speaker. The Tattered Cover’s Joyce Meskis is also being honored with the CAL Author’s Advocate Award.
Lois Hayna is 101 years old, and is legally blind. The acclaimed poet didn’t start writing until she was in her 60s, and has now published seven books of poetry. Her latest, The Praying Mantis, was published in 2013 through Outskirts Press, Inc. She has an honorary Ph.D. from Regis University, and is the namesake of the Lois Beebe Hayna Creative Writing Center at Regis University. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, and she is still helping other writers, hosting 2-3 writing groups a week.
The award – to be presented annually – recognizes “the outstanding work, significant contributions and distinguished achievements of a Colorado Authors’ League member during a long and successful career in the publishing arts.” The basis for receiving the award includes “longevity in professional writing, the honoree’s body of work, and contributions to the profession of writing, and distinctions and honors.” The poet was selected by a panel of Colorado Authors’ League past presidents from a group of distinguished candidates nominated by CAL members.
The select panel of Colorado Authors’ League past presidents who chose this year’s recipient was comprised of Doug Hawk (2011-13), committee chair; Sandra Lamb (1985-86); Sally Stitch (1993-95); Leslie Petrovski (2001-03); and Pam Novotny (2009-11). Their collective membership in, and service to, CAL totals more than 110 years, and their writing experience ranges from magazine articles to fiction and non-fiction books.
The Colorado Authors’ League, the oldest professional writers’ organization in the state, was established in 1931 “to foster the art and craft of authorship.” Today, CAL’s membership includes more than 240 authors of fiction and non-fiction, magazine journalists, children’s book writers, playwrights, screenwriters and poets. CAL sponsors a variety of professional enrichment programs, writing grants for members, an annual scholarship for an aspiring writer and other programs to promote the work of professional writers in Colorado. For more information, go to coloradoauthors.org.