“On Fire” wins its first book award of the year

Author Steph West joins the International Firebird Book Award Circle of Winners 

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Speak Up Talk Radio announced the recent 2023 FIREBIRD BOOK AWARDS contest winners. 

Award-winning journalist and producer Steph West won in the category of memoir for her debut book On Fire, a memoir that readers are calling a heartbreaking and sometimes darkly humorous mother-daughter, coming-of-age tale written with gritty authenticity.

Authors and publishers worldwide submitted their work to the International Firebird Book Awards. Two judges from a select panel of 27 read each book and independently scored each entry. All judges commit to a set of standardized criteria that evaluates the quality of the writing as well as production aspects. Only entries with the highest scores are awarded the coveted Firebird.

“The Firebird Book Awards adds a charitable twist that allows the author’s entry fee to be tax-deductible. In return, we make handmade fun and colorful pillowcases and send them with children’s books to women and children who are experiencing homelessness, including the shelter Enchanted Makeovers, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization,” said Patricia J. Rullo, the founder of the Firebird Book Awards. “In this way, authors get notoriety for their work while helping to transform homeless shelters into bright and happy homes. While it feels good to win a book award, it feels even better to do good and serve others.”

West has a long history of award-winning storytelling, starting as a journalist in traditional print media before transitioning to digital and video mediums. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing in 2020 from Ashland University, graduating during the pandemic, and is an alum of the New York Film Academy’s courses in line producing and filmmaking. She has taken multiple courses through the Sundance Institute’s Collab program, including directing and producing. She’s a regional Emmy-nominated film producer and director with a Telly Award credit for helming the video portion of a multimedia project on veterans through the Columbus College of Art + Design, where she taught film and video for two and a half years. She is also working on her first novel and her second narrative nonfiction book, due out within the next year.

“What drew me to this contest is not just the standard of excellence they require for winners, but also the charitable aspect of its entry fees,” said West. “Personally, and within my companies, I strive to give back to the communities that have been so generous to me and my daughter on our journey. We have been homeless. We know how much pain is associated with that life changing experience, and I’m thrilled that this contest offers hope and light to women and children during what is by all standards a difficult and trying moment in their lives.”

West details in her memoir how she and her daughter survived homelessness, among other harrowing tales.

On Fire is a poignant and uplifting exploration of the mother-daughter relationship and how it’s affected by weight, gender, mental health issues, and class inequities in the Midwest. West’s sharp observations of the systemic way our culture marginalizes single mothers—and contrasting intimate stories of raising her daughter within that culture—makes it a must-read for mothers and fathers of daughters, and children of single mothers.

You can purchase the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple Books.

West is also a GoodReads Author. You can follow her here.

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