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  • LISWire: Valdosta Author Wins Georgia Author of the Year and Shares with Sister

    June 27th, 2011LISWire aggregatorLISWire

    Craig Rikard, Valdosta resident, wins Georgia Author of the Year for his memoir "Hidden Epidemic." The story is about how his mother's drug addiction effected his family.

    Valdosta author Craig Rikard’saward-winning memoir, Hidden Epidemicchanged the “period” at the end of his sister’s life to a “comma.” Rikard, therecipient of the 47th Georgia Author of the Year Award for Memoir, writes instrong narrative about his mother’s destructive and secret addition toprescription drugs. In his first time out as a memoirist, Rikard describes hisbook as the “story of two children disconnected from the wonder of childhood bykeeping the secret of private drug abuse." Rikard survived his childhood,but his sister did not. Jenny ended her young life.


     In a ceremony on June 11, 2011 Craig Rikard accepted theGeorgia Author of the Year Award (GAYA) at Kennesaw State University Center onJenny's behalf, “Today I feel the period has been removed, and a comma standsin its place.  Jenny's life anddeath speak powerfully to others in Hidden Epidemic, allowing them to identifywith her pain, and hopefully seek the help that is now available.”


    Dr. Craig Rikard, former pastor ofMacon’s Mulberry Street United Methodist is a family therapist in the Valdostaarea. Macon publisher, Tiger Iron Press, has had yearly GAYA nominations, but Hidden Epidemic is its first winner.Rikard’s publisher, A. Louise Stamen comments on Rikard’s unique authority tospeak about this issue in his book, Hidden Epidemic:


    “Rikard is in an excellent position to know about hidden substance abuse. As a family therapist he has oftentreated children and young adults like himself Prescription drug addition is epidemic and the children of the addict are expected to keep the secret –hidden from others.” Rikard became emotional when he realized that this was not only his award, but his sisters as well: “Jenny's voice still speaks through our story, calling victims to hope and recovery.”
    The Georgia Author of the Year Awards
    For books written in 2010 over 80 books were nominated for Georgia Author of the Year. The Georgia Author of the Year Award encompasses the traditional categories of Poetry and Fiction, while accommodating the growing Creative Nonfiction genre. The guidelines are revised each year to parallel the changing genres. Guidelines will be online November 11, 2011 for books written by Georgia Authors in 2011
    The Georgia Writers Association gives the GAYA each year recognizing Georgia's authors of excellence and has the distinction of being the oldest literary awards in the Southeastern United States. The GAYA recognizes books published by independent publishers, small presses, self-publishers and traditional publishers. The Awards have grown in prestige and participation since its inception in 1964 by the Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists. The GAYA changed hands in 1990 under the Georgia Writers Association and The Georgia Author of the Year Award in 2006 GWA began a strong affiliation with Kennesaw State University's Department of English in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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