Two Encinitas residents among winners of 5th Annual San Diego Memoir Showcase Competition

Suzanne Spector

Executive Producer Marni Freedman, in association with the San Diego Memoir Writers Association (SDMWA), recently announced the 10 winners of the 5th Annual San Diego Memoir Showcase Competition. Among the winners are Nicola Ranson of Leucadia and Suzanne Spector of Cardiff.

Nicola Ranson
(Don Kelsen )

This year’s contest theme was “I Didn’t See That One Coming,” and almost 200 submissions were received and reviewed by a panel of judges.

Ten winning submissions were selected to be in the 5th Annual San Diego Memoir Showcase. The Showcase matches writers with local writing coaches and then hires professional actors and directors to bring their stories to life.

These pieces will be performed before a live audience at the North Coast Repertory Theatre on Oct. 28. This year, there will be two shows: a 4 p.m. matinee as well as a 7 p.m. performance.

In addition to the 10 Showcase pieces, an additional 20 writers will be matched with a writing coach and featured in the upcoming 2020 SDMWA Memoir Anthology, Shaking the Tree: brazen. short. memoir. – Volume 3. All the authors will have the opportunity to appear on the Shaking the Tree book tour as an anthology author.

The award-winning anthology, Shaking the Tree -- Volume One was published in 2018 and featured 29 stories from the first three years of the San Diego Memoir Showcase. The editors and writers were received the 2019 National Indie Excellence Award in Anthology.

Cardiff’s Suzanne Spector, 83, who won for “Dancing Hearts Emoji”, took up memoir writing in her late 70s after two successful careers and almost two decades of fulfilling retirement. She was formerly the director of the Center for the Studies of the Person, a humanistic psychology organization founded by world-famous psychologist Carl Rogers. Before moving to California, she was the director of the Center for Open Education, an innovative independent school that she founded in Bergen County, New 1968.

Spector expected to end the memoir she was working on with her 80th birthday celebration, but six months after her birthday, life called with a surprising, delightful new chapter. After 40-plus years as a happy, independent single woman, a wrong number phone call delivered a loving, romantic surprise to her life — which led to the subject of her Memoir Showcase story for the theme “I Didn’t See That One Coming.”

Nicola Ranson is a long-time Encinitas resident, writer and psychotherapist. Her publications include The Feisty Writer, Stage Directions, Advanced Computer Entertainment, Somatic Psychotherapy Today, and more. Ranson lives in Leucadia with her filmmaker husband, Ron, with whom she has recently co-written the screenplay for “Tattooed Trucks of Nepal - Horn Please.” Her Encinitas psychotherapy practice is “Tea and Empathy Counseling.”

Ranson’s winning entry, “The Visit,” is an excerpt from her upcoming memoir, “A Slice of Orange.”

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