PRESS RELEASE: Norton, VT author Catherine Holm Wins Coveted President’s Award From The Cat Writers’ Association
Norton, VT author Catherine Holm won the coveted Cat Writers’ Association President’s Award, on Friday, June 24, at the CWA’s annual conference in Phoenix, AZ. Holm won the award for her short story “Sideways,” which is the story of her rescued cat Rama (told from Rama’s point of view) and is part of the anthology Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes (edited by Janiss Garza, FitCat Publishing). The President’s Award is given to the top entry in the CWA’s annual communications contest. There were almost 300 entries this year, across a variety of communications categories (newspaper article, illustration, online article, book, poetry, and many more). The President’s Award is chosen from the pool of winners across the categories.
The President’s Award includes a commemorative plaque and a monetary award.
CWA President Marci Kladnik presented the award with these words:
Now we come to the final award, the best of the best also known as the President’s Award.
Choosing the best of the best from 36 Muse-winning works is one of the most difficult duties I have faced so far.

How does one compare a heart-wrenching poem with a must-have encyclopedia, a beautiful piece of artwork with a life-saving article about new medical breakthroughs, a thoughtful video advocating rescue and adoption with a piece that made me laugh out loud. Each entry was a contender, but in the end my heart chose for me and this is why…

We who love all felines wish we could speak cat, I mean REALLY speak cat. I’m not talking about yawning and slow-blinking at a feral, signaling (we think) that we are no threat, but actually communicating on an intelligent level. It would be so much easier keeping my cats off the counters if I could just explain how their litterbox pawprints leave bacteria on the surfaces where I prepare food. I could also explain why they have to be inside kitties, and let them design their own catio and catwalks.

If I could speak cat, perhaps I could reach the hard luck cases, those rescued feral or abused souls found in shelters that you just want to take home and love. I live with one such cat, my gorgeous Nemo on page 37 of your program. For 9 years now I have told him with slow-blinks and heart-to-heart talks that I am no threat. He just began vocalizing to me two years ago and is now cruising by offering his tail for a gentle long stroking tug. Patience is not one of my virtues, but I will take what tidbits Nemo offers gladly.

And so my heart chose the entry that made me cry and my heart ache every time I read and reread it during the choosing process. It is a Nemo story.

The winner of the President’s Award this year is “Sideways” by Catherine Holm.


Holm is the author of two short story collections, a cat-themed memoir, and a cat fantasy novel.
Rescued is available at MAC Center for the Arts. Holm’s books are available at the MAC, and all the locations below, as well as online:

cwa presidential award 2016 catherine holm