September 29, 2016 (Washington, DC) – We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) has selected the winner of its young adult short story contest to celebrate previously unpublished fiction by diverse writers of all backgrounds. Aminah Mae Safi will receive a cash prize of $1000, plus the opportunity to publish her short story “Be Cool For Once” in the forthcoming WNDB Young Adult Anthology LIFT OFF, to be published by Crown Books for Young Readers in 2018. Safi is a freelancer who writes about art, fiction, feminism, and film.
Phoebe Yeh, VP/Publisher of Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House acquired publication rights to the anthology and Lamar Giles, Sr. VP of Communications for WNDB, will edit the collection, which reserved a slot for the contest winner. Yeh said of the winning entry, “I was attracted to Safi’s fresh, dynamic voice and the originality of her storytelling.”
Also, joining the anthology is Schuyler Bailar, a member of Harvard men’s varsity swim team, and the first openly transgender man to compete for any Division 1 NCAA sport. Bailar’s story offers a unique perspective to teens.
Other contributors include Melissa de la Cruz, Sara Farizan, Sharon Flake, Eric Gansworth, Malinda Lo, Walter Dean Myers, Daniel José Older, Thien Pham, Jason Reynolds, Gene Luen Yang, and Nicola Yoon.
The anthology will feature 12 stories, including an illustrated tale by Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang and Thien Pham, and will be in memory of Walter Dean Myers, inspired by his quote, “We need to bring our young people into the fullness of America’s promise and to do that we must rediscover who they are and who we are and be prepared to make the journey with them whatever it takes. My conceit is that literature can be a small path along that journey.”
LIFT OFF is the second collaboration from We Need Diverse Books and Crown Books for Young Readers. The first collection, FLYING LESSONS & OTHER STORIES, edited by WNDB founder and President Ellen Oh, debuts on January 3, 2017
We Need Diverse Books
Contact: Lamar Giles, Sr. VP of Communications for WNDB and LIFT OFF Editor