October 21, 2021, Tampa, FL — The Florida Writers Association, Inc., (FWA) has announced that Vanna Nguyen of Valrico, FL, won a prestigious Royal Palm Literary Award (RPLA). Ms. Nguyen’s winning entry, The Life She Once Knew: The Incredible True Story of Queena, The Bloomingdale Library Attack Survivor, won a Gold award for the Published Biography/Autobiography/Memoir category.


The awards were announced at FWA’s recent remote awards ceremony. This annual competition, which received 577 submissions, was RPLA’s twentieth.


“Even in these difficult times, writers are writing—and marvelously,” said Chris Coward, RPLA chairperson. “And the RPLA team rose to the challenge.”


In all, the competition covered 27 adult genres and 5 Youth genres, with published and unpublished entries considered separately. There were four grand awards, as well.

  • Published Book of the Year: Tales from the Eerie Canal, General Catch-All, by Barbara Rein
  • Unpublished Book of the Year: From Hell’s Heart, Thriller or Suspense, by Dana J.Summers
  • Best Children’s Book: Pling’s Party, Children’s Picture Book, by Arielle Haughee
  • The Candice Coghill Memorial Award for the best youth entry: “Ode to Rain,”
  • Unpublished Poetry, ages 12 to 15, by N.M. Collett


“It is our sincere wish that all RPLA awards help the winners to market their manuscript or published book. We also hope that the detailed feedback from the judges, which all entrants receive, is useful, as well,” Ms. Coward said.


“I am humbled to be included among all these talented writers,” Ms. Nguyen said.


“Queena is still waiting on God for her full and complete healing. Waiting sure can be hard, can’t it? But we have faith and trust in His timing. Even in the waiting places, she is still smiling and that is a spot of joy.”


The Florida Writers Association, 1,600 members strong and growing, is a nonprofit
501(c)(6) organization that supports the state’s established and emerging writers. Membership is open to the public.


The Royal Palm Literary Awards competition is a service of the Florida Writers
Association established to recognize excellence in its members’ published and unpublished works while providing objective and constructive written assessments for all entrants.


For additional information, visit the FWA website at floridawriters.org, where you’ll also find more about RPLA and the complete list of 2021 winners. Or, visit https://thelifesheonceknew.com/ for details about Ms. Nguyen and her daughter Queena.


2021 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition

Local Author Receives National Recognition 


Lake Buena Vista, FL (7/31/2021) – The Annual 2021 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Awards recognized The Life She Once Knew: The Incredible True Story of Queena, The Bloomingdale Library Attack Survivor by Vanna Nguyen in the category of Biography/Autobiography/Memoir as a Bronze medal winner.


Hosted by the Florida Authors and Publishers Association, this prestigious national award is open to books published between 2019 and 2021. The judges for this national competition are librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.


“The FAPA President’s Book Award exists to promote excellence in the publishing industry by recognizing talented contemporary authors who put both heart and soul into their work. FAPA is proud to be a champion of authors and publishers going the extra mile to produce books of excellence in every aspect,” said Pat Stanford, Past President of FAPA.


The Life She Once Knew: The Incredible True Story of Queena, The Bloomingdale Library Attack Survivor is a nonfiction inspiring memoir published by Ambassador International, in which Nguyen recounts the beating and rape of her eighteen-year-old daughter, Queena, outside a Tampa Bay-area library and her own path to healing through faith.


“We are proud to announce this year’s winners who truly embody the excellence this award was created to celebrate. Their works are representative of creative storytelling, bold concepts, and innovative ideas which make the President’s Book Awards so well respected by librarians and those in the publishing industry. We salute all of our winners for their fine work.” said FAPA’s President, Renee Garrison.


The Florida Authors and Publishers Association is an organization for authors, publishers, illustrators, editors, printers, and other professionals involved in the publishing industry. It focuses on providing the highest quality of information, resources, and professional development to members and others interested in the writing and publishing profession.