For immediate release                                                              Contact Elizabeth Young -

June 1, 2008                                                                305-295-4369 -

Richard de Grasse Wins Writing Prize -

The Florida Keys Council of the Arts, in conjunction with the Key West Writers Guild, congratulates Richard de Grasse as the winner of the 2008 Key West Writers Guild Award.

Marathon writer de Grasse submitted an excerpt "Old Man in the Stream" from his novel in progress, titled Road to Havana. He will receive an award of $2,000. When Mr. de Grasse was reached at his Maine island home, he was “delighted and humbled" to learn of this prestigious award. -

This is the fifth annual award to be made. The cash prize is supported by an endowment under the administration of the Florida Keys Council of the Arts. -

Donna Smith received the first award for her novel in progress, “Let Me Tell You Where I Came From,” a fictional account of three generations in an Appalachian family.  Second-year recipient Cricket Desmarais won the award for her novel in progress “A Hundred Fires,” an historic novel set in the Keys during the ‘30s and ‘40s. Chris Yayas won the third annual award for an autobiographically-based work in progress, “Only One Way Out.” Last year’s winner, Brad Bertelli of Tavernier received the award for his novel in progress, “Wrestling Alligators”. -

The judge, Jennifer O’Lear, a local novelist and book reviewer for Solares Hill, also serves on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Library and the Montessori Elementary Charter School chose the manuscript which was identified by only a number. -

The announcement was made at the May 24th meeting of the Key West Writers Guild. -

Local scribes with works in progress may be encouraged to know that funds for aspiring writers are available annually. To qualify for the award, one must be a resident of Monroe County, a member of the Key West Writers Guild, and working on either a novel or a work of non-fiction. Applicants must read from their work at two meetings of the Writers Guild. Membership in the Key West Writers Guild is $10 annually, and meetings are held at 10:00 a.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of the month on the second floor of Kelly’s Caribbean Grill, 303 Whitehead Street, in Key West. All are welcome to attend. -

Submissions should include a completed application form and two copies of a manuscript or manuscript excerpt. The complete application and instructions are posted on Go to, select “Opportunities,” then “Grants,” and the application may be downloaded from the “Local” section. The next deadline will be March 2009. -

For more information, attend a Writers’ Guild meeting on the second and fourth Saturday of each month; or call the Florida Keys Council of the Arts at 305-295-4369. -