On January 5, 2022, A dear member of the Austin SCBWI passed on: Betty X Davis. She joined our community from the very beginning and was an active member for more than twenty years. Giving up her license at one hundred years old barely slowed her down with seven children and many, many children and grandchildren to drive her to meetings and book launches.
Betty’s enthusiasm for writing and children spurred the creation of Austin SCBWI’s Betty X Davis Young Writers of Merit Award, which has been organized by members Lindsey Lane at its inception and now Meredith Davis.
Lindsey Lane and Meredith Davis attended Betty’s 106th birthday on November 25 and shared these thoughts:
Lindsey Lane: “Betty was passionate about books, children and writing. The order of importance depended on what time of day you might call her. She thought that books opened children’s minds and writing gave them power. I shouldn’t have been surprised that she wanted to start a writing award. Kids needed to feel the power of their words on the page. I am so glad we took up her cause. In my mind and heart, she will always be seated on the front row of our conferences and launches, listening and cheering, for all of us and all the words we write.”
Meredith Davis: “It takes a village, and Betty was part of our village from the very beginning. I had the privilege of being in her critique group, hearing her stories, both the ones she was writing and the ones she had lived. She had a full life, full of children and grandchildren, a loving husband and travel, a career and sports (she loved tennis). And yet she wanted more. She was pushing herself, still learning and inspired. Still meeting new people, going to conferences, sending out manuscripts, spinning new tales. Maybe that’s why she lived so many years, why some of her last words were Shakepeare’s. Words mattered to Betty. Maybe that’s why she chose to have an award set up that would give future generations the ability to strive to write and pursue their dreams, too.”
We were lucky to have this wonderful woman in our midst for so long, and we’re excited that her dedication to children and writing will continue with the Young Writers of Merit Award. Click here to learn more and donate to keep this program going.