PRESIDENT – TIFFANY VAKILIAN
Author. Editor. Performer. Christ child. Queen & priestess. Entreprenartist. Singer. Poet. Geek.
“I integrate Transformative Language Arts into any work I do, and I work with people all over the world, but I can’t tell you who they are (due to NDAs)! I was once told, “you exude art.” So, I decided to spend the rest of my life helping other like-minded individuals get to do the same.”
With a Masters in Transformative Language Arts and TLA Certification, she is not only a voracious reader and exceptional performer but a professional writer and editor. Tiffany earned her MA in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College and continues her quest to use her word-art as a facilitator of social commentary and change through community involvement in her hometown area of San Diego. In her first book of poetry, Ugly Drawers, Pretty Panties, published by A Word With You Press, she shares verbal vignettes of dreams, experiences, perspectives, and people. She’s been a part of the San Diego Book Awards since 2015 and is honored to lead this local organization of scribes and readers. Tiffany is also a San Diego Kingdom Writers Association Vision Lead, a member of ASCAP, The National Forensics League, and a writer and editor for the Transformative Language Arts Network magazine, Chrysalis.
She’s the quintessential Renaissance Gal.
VICE PRESIDENT – DAVID URBAN
David Grant Urban is a San Diego native who has done a little of everything in life but prefers writing most of all. At nineteen he bicycled border to border and lived briefly in Vancouver, Canada, before traveling coast to coast by train several times. Out of money, he lived and worked in New Orleans for a year before returning home. Back in San Diego he lived aboard a sailboat a few years, started a chemical compounding firm, worked his way through college, and spent far too many years working in retail. He is the author of the noir thriller, “A Line Intersected,” published by Fat Dog Books, California. Dave currently lives in San Marcos, California, and is quietly at work on another novel and a volume of short stories.
TREASURER – MONETT HEREFORD
JEAN FORSYTHE – UNPUBLISHED JUDGING CHAIR
Jean Forsythe started making up stories in kindergarten. Since then, she has completed four novels, published several short pieces, and has won four writing awards–including Best Unpublished Novel for Children from the San Diego Book Awards. She has an MA in psychology and is now president of the San Diego Book Awards. Jean lives in Oceanside with her fur-kids who, along with her human daughter, Diane, and grandson, Cole, are her biggest inspirations. She is currently working on a cozy mystery series and a nonfiction series for kids about dogs.
JOAN GERSTEIN – POETRY JUDGING CHAIR
Joan Gerstein, originally from NY, has resided in CA since 1969. She is a retired educator and psychotherapist with several advanced degrees in both education and clinical psychology. Joan has been writing poetry since childhood, and her poems have appeared in SD Poetry Annual, McGee Park Anthology, A Year in Ink, Tidepools, and Expressions as well as national and international periodicals. She loves her volunteer job as a creative writing teacher with incarcerated veterans at the Vista jail and is editor of the Veteran’s Section of the SD Poetry Annual.