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Dean Nelson Receives Community Leadership Award

Dean at the Writer's Festival

More than 1,200 people experienced the inaugural San Diego Writers Festival on April 13, 2019, at the San Diego Central library in downtown San Diego. The event celebrated writers of all kinds, including authors of poetry, spoken word, music, screenplays, books, plays, graphic novels, comic books, and more.

Dean Nelson, the director of LJWL’s Journalism program and founder of the Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, joined a panel for this year’s Writer’s Conference entitled "Breaking Down the Walls – The Power of Immigrant Stories” with Masid Hager, Alephonsion Deng, and Jean Guerrero.

The event also included a time to recognize community leaders who are making an impact for the writing community in San Diego. 

Nelson was presented with their Community Leadership Award for hosting the Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, an event he founded 25 years ago with the hopes of inspiring PLNU and the San Diego community to read and hear from great writers.

Marni Freedman, the Director of Programming of the Writers Festival, had plenty to say about why they decided to honor Dean Nelson with this year’s award:

“Having been a writing teacher and ‘in the field’ for many years, so to speak, you get to know the landscape and you get to know who is making their mark and changing the landscape for the better.

Dean getting an award

Dean Nelson has always been of those people. His writing is amazing, thought, provoking and inspiring. No matter where we went, when his name would come up, it was always with respect and affection. People would say, ‘Oh, I love that guy.’ or ‘He really helped me’ or ‘He made a huge impact on my life.’

Over the years we have had the pleasure to experience his impact on our community. Every Writer’s Symposium by the Sea was thoughtful, thought-provoking, well run, and downright inspiring. There is no way you left one of those sessions feeling anything but enlightened and excited.”

Congratulations to Dean Nelson and the Writer’s Symposium by the Sea!

The 25th Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea will take place February 25-27, 2020. For more information on the event and to sign up on the mailing list,

For more information about San Diego Writers Festival,