Courtesy of Queens Public Library
Ama Karikari-Yawson, Chae E. Blount, Carol Osborne, and Jamee-Marie Edwards were honored at the Cambria Heights Branch of Queens Library at a celebration for southeast Queens authors.
By Naeisha Rose

The Cambria Heights’ branch of Queens Library held a Celebration of Southeast Queens Authors Saturday, hosting 17 authors ranging from 8 years old to senior citizens, and from first-time writers to those with an established history.

Honorees had written fiction, non-fiction and poetry books for children and adults.

Guests had a chance to meet the authors for free at the library located at 218-13 Linden Blvd.

The Celebration of Southeast Queens Authors was the brainchild of Sharon Banks, manager of the Cambria Heights Library.

“A year ago, I said wouldn’t it be great if we did a celebratory program honoring the authors from this particular community?” Banks said. “Frankly, without authors you wouldn’t have libraries. It just made sense to me.”

Banks thinks it’s important to commemorate authors, no matter what phase of the journey they are on in their careers.

“Some of our authors are first-time writers, and I’ve always maintained that the first time you do something, it’s the hardest,” Banks said. “So it’s a salute to them for being fearless enough to act upon their dreams. Other authors have been publishing for years, and it’s a salute to them for their tenacity and the success they have garnered for themselves.”

Two-time writer, Kyshia Lawrie, who goes by the pen name, Jamee-Marie Edwards, was one of the honorees at the festivities and was humbled to be a part of such a collective.

“It was an honor and pleasure to be a part of this inaugural event,” Lawrie said. “It was definitely an event to glean from, as I was empowered and inspired by the literary camaraderie that was present.”

Lawrie is the author of the 2013 children’s book “But I Am a Cat!” which is about self-acceptance and overcoming self-doubt.

She is also a co-author in the compilation series “Delayed But Not Denied: 20 Inspirational Stories About Life and Resiliency.” Her chapter in the series, entitled “Courage to Soar: Releasing Your Butterfly Within,” follows her voyage on maintaining her faith after losing her eyesight for three months.

“Our stories are platforms to inspire, empower and encourage others on their life journey,” Lawrie said about the book.

She was thrilled to use that positive attitude to embolden new authors.

“The motto I live by is ‘Become Inspired To Be An Inspiration,’ and I wholeheartedly welcomed the opportunity to share my journey in hopes that it would inspire other emerging authors,” Lawrie said.

Banks thought the event was a long time coming and worth it for both the authors and the library.

“It’s a celebration and a thank you to our literary lights – people who write books and enliven our lives. We are a library, so why not!” Banks said.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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