Local Distinguished Author Award 2022
I’m deeply honored by this award from the prestigious SoLit Alliance. Literature is my passion and growing up in Bermuda’s 24 square miles, I explored the vast world through reading. You should have seen me with a pad of paper and a number 2 pencil while still in diapers. I published my first story at age 16 and wrote grants and newsletters for decades. But not until coming to Chattanooga did I blossom as a writer, and thought of myself as one.
Chattanoogans from every sector empowered me. Thank you to faculty friends at our schools and colleges. And thanks to community service organizations for your support. I’m truly grateful to the Human Resource Directors and diversity officers who encouraged me. Many thanks to local foundations, city and county departments, and, of course our local newspapers which turned me into a columnist. And hugs to the creative souls who helped surface my storytelling skills, almost a century after my mother’s publications about the science of storytelling. Love you, Mom!
A shout out to all my diverse colleagues with special thanks to friends who lifted me up when dire illness cut short my role as the Jewish Federation’s executive director. I thought my life was over, but you helped me find a new purpose.
My books, articles, columns, and scripts transformed me, as has the opportunity to give back. 16 years ago, advisors, writers, poets, editors and interns helped create the American Diversity Report. We’ve now published hundreds of writers, spreading our Inclusion message across the globe.
SoLit’s words are profound, “Literature has the incomparable power to connect, uplift and inspire people.” And this award magnifies that power. I feel the creative energy percolating inside me. Seeing my hubby’s grin, he knows that this moment will inspire new ideas to take shape and words to be written.
Thank you so much, SoLit. You’re elevating me to the next level, and the best is yet to come.
- Tonya Todd Podcast: Diversity in the Entertainment Industry - November 21, 2022
- Hate enablers should not prevail – by Deborah Levine - November 18, 2022
- SoLit Award Acceptance Speech – by Deborah Levine - November 18, 2022