First presented in 2010, the Don Argo Award recognizes the best in Florida writing by SCWG members in memory of beloved educator, author of Canaveral Light, founding member of SCWG, and longtime Florida resident Don Argo.
Originally from Arkansas, Dr. Don Argo was a mathematics professor at Brevard Community College (now known as Eastern Florida State College) for 38 years. He was also a founding member and president of the Space Coast Writers' Guild. He received a couple of awards for his historical novel Canaveral Light, which was published in 2001. Dr. Argo passed away from cancer at age 72 on October 19, 2008. He was survived by his wife of 33 years, Kathy; four children; and two grandchildren.
On October 19, 2019, Ashley McGrath presented the Don Argo Award to SCWG member and author Mark Lyons for his novel, Only in Florida: Mosquito Lagoon. If Mike Lyman needed something to add adventure to his life after a period of stale and humdrum, he found it in Mosquito Lagoon. The remote waterway with its many islands is thirty miles from his home, but it becomes the place where all his new questions can be answered. In his regular life, he has to fight each day for the motivation he needs just to go on and craves anything that will break up the grind. In a very short time, it becomes a big dose of "Be careful what you wish for."
Mark did not begin writing novels very early in his life, but since he began a few years ago he has completed three, with a fourth well underway. So far all of his stories involve big crimes perpetrated in Florida. These stories of fiction contain much more than purely crime elements. All are seen through the eyes of Mike Lyman, a nurse, and so have medical factors that are key in the stories.
For over 45 years, Mark worked as a nurse when not working on his farm in Minnesota. He was the only man in his nursing school graduating class, and he always said he didn’t even meet another male nurse for the first ten years of his practice. For seven years he worked with AIDS patients, at a time when every diagnosis was a death sentence. He sees his role as being a patient advocate, always eager to take on any personal issue for the benefit of those unable to advocate successfully for themselves. His biggest heroes have always been those who work toward the same end. Mark currently works in an assisted living facility.
Away from his job, his approach is much the same. He loved his farm and the outdoor life in Wisconsin and Minnesota, though Florida offers more year-round outdoor activities. One difference he likes to point out is that since he now swims in shark infested waters, he has given up skinny-dipping!
If you have written a book set in Florida or know of another author you would like to recommend for the award, please see our guidelines.
Authors may self-nominate or may be nominated by someone else. Submissions (which must include identification of author, address, phone, email, book title, and year published) are being accepted until August 18, 2019. The submissions will be reviewed and scored by three judges. The Don Argo Award will be presented at the October 19, 2019 SCWG meeting. The winner will receive a cash prize and an engraved plaque.