Albuquerque, New Mexico — September 28, 2018 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (“WFWA”) announces the winners of the 2018 fifth annual RISING STAR Award given to unpublished writers of women’s fiction.

WINNER - Angel Falls by Shelby Riley
SECOND PLACE - Up a Gum Tree by Robin Facer
THIRD PLACE - Love You Better by Rachel Berros

If you would like the winners' contact information or to request their manuscripts, please email RISING STAR Award chair, MM Finck.

RISING STAR Award Winner is Shelby Riley for Angel Falls wherein three adult sisters, tricked into returning home by their dysfunctional mother, find themselves drowning in the past. When they realize their mother’s using the claim of death, and her subsequent request for a mercy killing, to manipulate them, they are forced to make sense of their family roles and must go to great lengths to break free from the dysfunction, while still remaining connected as a family. Riley recently accepted literary representation.

SECOND PLACE is awarded to Robin Facer for Up a Gum Tree. Protagonist Lynne Frank just wants to go home already. Being dragged from the suburbs of Boston to the wilds of her husband’s West Australian hometown has only inflamed her fear of flying, crocodiles, and being judged a bad mother. When she wakes up to her mother-in-law’s plan to keep her son Down Under long-term, Lynne must forge a path through her own fear - embracing unlikely allies and dodging cockatoos - while she struggles with the meaning of the word home.

THIRD PLACE is awarded to Rachel Berros for Love You Better which is the story of one woman who abandons her family for her children’s benefit, and another who says goodbye to the man she loves so they can both fulfill their dreams. When a postcard entwines their lives, the women discover how change can help them fulfill their hearts’ desires without abandoning their goals.

"The RISING STAR Award contestants have proven once again the depth and breadth of the women's fiction genre, from contemporary to historical, mainstream to literary, realistic to paranormal, and everything in between," said MM Finck, RISING STAR Award Chair. “My favorite email from this award season came from one of our agent-judges. ‘Gimme, gimme!’ Five requests for full manuscripts were made before the final results were even tallied.”

Christine Adler, WFWA President, said, “Each year, the caliber of writing submitted to the Award gets better. It’s a testament to the quality of women’s fiction that the RISING STAR has become known for, and we’re proud to offer this opportunity to writers.”

The WFWA Rising Star Award is open to all unpublished manuscripts of women’s fiction, regardless of the authors’ membership in WFWA. Each entry consists of the first 35 pages of the manuscript and a synopsis. A maximum of 75 entries were initially assessed and scored by three published authors of women’s fiction each. The five top scoring manuscripts moved to the final round where they were judged by literary agents actively acquiring women’s fiction. The winners were announced at the 2018 WFWA Retreat Awards Dinner.

“I want to thank WFWA and the judges for their time and feedback. I’m so honored to receive this award,” said Shelby Riley, the 2018 RISING STAR Award winner.


WFWA expresses its gratitude to the 2018 Final round judges, in alphabetical order:

Kerry D’Agostino, Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Sonali Chanchani, Folio Literary

Cherise Fisher, Wendy Sherman Associates, Inc. Literary Management

Mark Gottlieb, Trident Media Group Literary Agency

Abby Saul, The Lark Group

Ann Leslie Tuttle, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC

Further details of the Rising Star Award are at: http://womensfictionwriters.org/Rising_Star_Award