Local Blind Author Receives National Writing Award


Columbia resident Carmella Broome, author of Carmella's Quest: Taking on College Sight Unseen, published by Red Letter Press, is the 2011 recipient of the Ned E. Freeman Excellence in Writing Award. This award is presented annually at the American Council of the Blind's national convention. Ms. Broome received this award for an article she wrote about partnering with the South Carolina State Library's Talking Books Services department to record her book so that it could be enjoyed in audio format by blind readers.

Her article, In My Own Voice: the Carmella's Quest Collaboration, was published in the March issue of the American Council of the Blind's (ACB) monthly magazine, The Braille Forum. "I used this experience to encourage readers to think outside the box if there is something they want to accomplish that might be possible with a little creativity," Ms. Broome explains.

Carmella's Quest was released in print in February of 2009. Later that same year, Ms. Broome recorded her book (a memoir about her first year at North Greenville College) at the South Carolina State Library. "I was able to read the book myself using my own adaptive technology combined with the technology available through the Talking Books Services department," Broome says. "When I came to them with the idea of how to do this, they were open and willing to try something a little different. The finished product turned out better than I could have imagined."

The Ned E. Freeman Award is awarded annually by the American Council of the Blind's Board of Publications (BOP). Any piece published in The Braille Forum, or another ACB affiliate publication, can be nominated for this award. Mastery of the craft of writing is a major consideration by BOP voters. Interesting subject matter, originality in recounting an experience, and novelty of approach are also considered. A Freeman Award winner receives a plaque inscribed in print and Braille and $100.

"I read The Braille Forum so I know how many excellent pieces of writing were published this year," Ms. Broome says. "The fact that the Board of Publications chose mine is really humbling and such an honor."

The Ned E. Freeman Award, instituted in 1970, is named for the first president of the American Council of the Blind who, after completing his term of office, became editor of "The Braille Forum."

For more information, contact Carmella Broome at 803-256-3271 or CarmellasQuest@hotmail.com.