Service Awards


In 2010 this award was instituted in memory of our founder to honor a member with years of outstanding service to the Redwood Branch, to be given in alternating years of the Jack London Award.  Helene served as the branch's first president after she and 45 charter members founded the Redwood Writers.

2020 Helene S. Barnhart Award Recipient




Under unusual circumstances produced by the Covid-19 global pandemic, it was announced during an online (Zoom) general meeting on May 17, 2020, that Joelle Burnette
was being awarded the Helene S. Barnhart Award for her service to Redwood Writers. The formal presentation of the award will have to wait until general meetings resume in person.

In 2014, Joelle became the website editor for Redwood Writers, and soon after, she became a member of the board of directors. During her tenure as web editor, she overhauled, updated, and re-designed the entire website to create a consistent, easily navigational, streamlined, professional style. Over the years, she also created a new sub-website dedicated to the RW conference, and designed all the graphics that go on the website (many of which carry over into, e.g., RW newsletters and fliers), among many more website features.

In addition to being the Branding Committee Chair and designing the Redwood Writers Press logo, some highlights of her service to Redwood Writers includes managing the chapter's Twitter page, as well as starting and managing the RW Pinterest pages that attract nearly 70,000 monthly views and 500 followers who visit 30 boards.

Joelle has worked on various RW anthologies, editing, proofing, participating in cover design, and offering a workshop presentation on editing pitfalls.

When she isn't working on RW books, the chapter's website, and its activities, she has authored several books, she recently became an award-winning screenplay writer, and she is an award-winning journalist (more info at Concurrently, she is an artist with her work in galleries, stores, and online at

Redwood Writers is so fortunate to have such a dedicated member. Congratulations, to the 2020 Helene S. Barnhart Award recipient, Joelle Burnette, and heartfelt thanks to you for your extraordinary service to our branch! You are what makes Redwood Writers so successful. You are a model for “writers helping writers.”


Eljumaily Malena




Juanita Martin


Ana Manwaring


Catherine Farrell



Past Recipients: Malena Eljumaily was awarded this award at the general membership meeting in April 2018. At the Redwood Writers Conference in April 2014, Juanita Martin was given this award for her long volunteer service to the Redwood Branch of the California Writers Club. Ana Manwaring was presented with this service award at the RW Conference in 2012. Kate Farrell was awarded the first Helene S. Barnhart Award from Linda Loveland Reid at Redwood Writers Club meeting in October 2010.


Jack London Award: Every other year, CWC branches may nominate a member to the CWC Central Board to receive the Jack London Award for outstanding service to the branch.


Redwood Branch
Jack London

Robbi Sommers Bryant

Robbi Sommers Bryant

Robbi Sommers Bryant was honored Sunday, July 21, at the California Writers Club "Jack London Awards" ceremony for outstanding volunteer service to the Redwood Branch of the California Writers Club. Presenting the award was CWC president Joyce Krieg.

Robbi has served on the Redwood Writers board of directors as member, vice president, and president. She is a current vice president and serves as the contest chair, Hot Summer Nights program chair, director of member professional services, and more.

Robbi also served as the editor-in-chief for the Redwood Writers 2018 anthology, Redemption: Stories from the Edge, and was the co-chair for Redwood Writers 2016 "Pen to Published" Conference. During her tenure on the board, Robbi has served as editor or judge on all our recent prose anthologies, and she has consistently helped or participated in all club events. Robbi’s creativity and leadership helped to shape the dynamic club that exists today.

Robbi’s award-winning books include a novella, four novels, five short-story collections, and a book of poetry. Her work has been published in magazines including Readers Digest, Redbook, and Penthouse, as well as college textbooks and several anthologies. As editor-in-chief of the Redwood Writers 2018 anthology, she supervised the creation and publication of Redemption: Stories From the Edge. Robbi’s work was also optioned twice for television’s Movie of the Week, and she appeared on TV’s Jane Whitney Show to discuss her article, “A Victim’s Revenge.” Besides writing, her professional focus is developmental editing, content editing, copy editing, and proofreading. She is also a professional writing coach. Find out more at

Past Redwood Branch Recipients of the
Jack London Award

2017: Sandy Baker
2015: Jeane Slone
2013: Linda Loveland Reid
2011: Linda C. McCabe
2009: Karen Batchelor
2007: Catherine Keegan
2005: Mary Rosenthal
2004: Gil Mansergh
2003: Nadenia Newkirk
1998: Barbara Truax
1997: Mary Varley

1995: Mildred Fish
1993: Alla Crone Hayden
1991: Waldo Boyd
1989: Mary Priest
1987: Margaret Scariano
1985: Ruth Irma Walker
1983: Inman Whipple
1981: Pat Patterson
1979: Peggy Ray
1977: Dianne Kurlfinke
1975: Helene (Schellenberg) Barnhart


Ina Coolbrith Award: Periodically, the CWC Central Board bestows the Ina Coolbrith Award to honor a member for exemplary service to CWC and/or the Central Board.

(No Redwood member has yet received this award.)