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Press Release
Contact: Liz Young


Mary Lou Condike wins 2023 Key West Writers Guild award

The Florida Keys Council of the Arts, in conjunction with the Key West Writers Guild, is pleased to announce that Mary Lou Condike has garnered this year's writing award for her manuscript, “The Doll from Dunedin”.  Mary Lou specializes in taking historic cold cases from public and police files, devising a solution with “What if…” scenarios, and then imagining solutions.

This year marks the twentieth annual award which is supported by an endowment under the administration of the Arts Council. Past winners include: C.J. Geotis, Kristina Neihouse, Dale Dapkins, Lisa Mahoney, Joanna Brady Schmida, Richard DeGrasse, Harry Schroeder, the late Elizabeth Warner, Eddie Goldstein, Rusty Hodgdon, and Janette Stone. Mary Lou attended Massachusetts public schools, graduated from Worcester State University (BS Mathematic) and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MBA). Before retiring, she was a computer programmer, a systems analyst, manufacturing operations manager, and a small business owner. After retirement, she completed the Southern Methodist University’s Writer’s Path in Dallas 2019. Her stories are published in Strange & Sweet, Stories from the Granbury Writers’ Bloc, 2019. Her story “A Cowgirl Farewell” won 1st Place in the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards, Mystery/Crime Category, 2019. Recently, “A Cowgirl Returns” was published in the Sisters in Crime North Dallas anthology, Malice in Dallas in 2022. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Key West Writers Guild, and the Granbury Writer’s Bloc.

The manuscript was anonymously reviewed in a competitive field of submittals and selected by three distinguished judges: Susann D’Antonio of Big Pine Key is an accomplished artist, Chair of the Monroe County Art in Public Places Committee, a Board Advisor to the Arts Council, a member of Florida Association of Pubic Art Professionals, owner of Framing in Paradise, and Independent Title Abstractor;
Richard Ericson of Key West is a professional theater director and producer with special expertise in Shakespeare and American musicals. Formerly, he was a producing artistic director, commercial theater and tour producer, and university-level teacher; Juliet Gray is a creative producer, performer, and writer, is the Chief Creative Officer of The Performing Arts Project, which she co-founded more than 10 years ago alongside Broadway, television, and film professionals in order to provide vibrant theatrical training to the next generation of performers. Juliet has also written more than 1,000 articles for various national publications and a travel book on the Florida Keys published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Local writers with works in progress are encouraged to apply for the 2024 award of $2000. To qualify, 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 Key West Writers Guild. Membership is paid annually, and meetings are held at 9:00 a.m. on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. For more information – please visit the Arts Council website