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We Need Diverse Books and Penguin Random House Congratulate Winners of the 29th Annual Creative Writing Awards including the Inaugural Winner of the Amanda Gorman Award for Poetry
Penguin Random House to grant $50,000 in scholarship awards to five exceptional high school senior literary voices from across the country
New York, NY, June 1, 2022 — Five exceptional public high school seniors from across the country have been chosen winners of the 2022 Penguin Random House Creative Writing Award in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, a national grassroots organization that advocates for diversity in children’s literature.
Chosen from over one thousand submissions, each of these shining literary voices will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship towards college in fall 2022 along with a week of summer professional development from Penguin Random House that includes one-on-one coaching from some of the industry’s best editors.
Prizes were awarded in the following categories: the inaugural Amanda Gorman Award for Poetry, the Maya Angelou Award for the Spoken-Word, fiction & drama, personal essay/ memoir, and the NYC Entrant Award.
For the first time in the award’s history, submissions were received from all 50 states. WNDB ran a peer review workshop and development workshops for CWA alumnx and recruited a strong set of partners including NaNoWriMo, the National Writing Project, and 826 Literary to reach as diverse a candidate pool as possible.
|Category||Student, High School, City, State||Submission||College|
|Amanda Gorman Award for Poetry||Sagar Gupta
Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology
|conversation starter: how is your english so good?||University of Virginia|
|Maya Angelou Award for the Spoken Word||Ife Martin
West Bloomfield High School
West Bloomfield, MI
|A Letter To Dr. King||Howard University|
|Fiction / Drama||Kayla T. Xu
Scripps Ranch High School
San Diego, CA
|Chasing Memories||Princeton University|
|Personal Essay||Eva G. Martinez
Valley Stream North High School,
|NYC Entrant||Arianna Steadman
Hunter College High School
New York, NY
|Food for Thought||Dartmouth College|
Claire von Schilling, EVP, Director Corporate Communications and Social Responsibility, Penguin Random House said, “At Penguin Random House, we believe in building a better future for books and reading for generations to come, and this starts with lifting up the youngest members of our writing community. Through our partnership with We Need Diverse Books, our Creative Writing Awards program is reaching more new voices than ever that deserve to be elevated and heard. We are thrilled to honor and celebrate these exceptionally talented students.”
Caroline Richmond, Executive Director of WNDB said, “Five exceptional and diverse high school senior literary voices from across the country have created works that are insightful, unique, and powerful! WNDB is proud to honor them and raise up their voices in these uncertain times. Past winner of the award, like Elizabeth Acevedo, have made a big impact with their powerful voices and we are thrilled to uplift a new group of young literary perspectives so they too can make their mark.”
The virtual week of professional development with Penguin Random House will begin on Monday, July 11th. Students will meet online with publishing professionals to gain insights into the industry and receive one-on-one coaching from editors. The week will conclude with an online awards ceremony and a reading of each winners’ work. Also, as part of the celebration, the winners will meet a PRH author for a fireside chat and they will receive copies of the author’s latest title.
Every submission to the competition was given individual consideration via a rigorous scoring process by WNDB and PRH. Judges for WNDB included WNDB Executive Director Caroline Richmond, award-winning author Zoraida Córdova, and UN award-winning poet, Brian Donnell James. Judges for PRH included Melissa Gradel, Poets & Writers; Audrey Hipkins, Hurston Wright Foundation; Allison Escoto, Center for Fiction; and Penguin Random House employees who volunteered included Sola Akinlana, Laura Anderson, Sarah Bode, Kristen Costa, Nichole Cousins, Haley Davis, Esther-Marie Emslie, Renni Johnson, Kayla Johnson, Darian Keels, Gabriel Levinson, Mae Martinez, Neil Murphy, John Parsley, Alex Dos Santos, Lauren Taglienti, and Lindsey Vargas.
About We Need Diverse Books (WNDB):
We Need Diverse Books is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that combats systemic racism and oppression by creating a world where everyone can find themselves on the pages of a book. Established in 2014, WNDB supports and amplifies diverse literature by mentoring marginalized creators, providing resources to diverse publishing professionals, and donating diverse books across the country to American schools and libraries in need. Founded by a team or writers, illustrators, and publishing professionals, its mission is to shake up the publishing industry from the inside.
About Penguin Random House (PRH):
Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission to ignite a universal passion for reading by creating books for everyone. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson. As of April 1, 2020, Bertelsmann is full owner of the company. With more than 300 imprints and brands on six continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital English- German- and Spanish-language trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide. With over 16,000 new titles, and more than 700 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 80 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.
About Amanda Gorman:
Amanda Gorman is the youngest Presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history. She is a committed advocate for the environment, racial equality, and gender justice. After graduating cum laude from Harvard University, she now lives in her hometown of Los Angeles. Amanda was one of 5 Variety Power of Women honorees and cover star, one of 3 cover stars for Glamour’s Women of the Year, and one of TIME magazine’s Women of the Year. The special edition of her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” was published in March 2021. Her debut picture book, Change Sings, released in September 2021 and her poetry collection Call Us What We Carry in December 2021, all debuting at #1 on New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestsellers lists. Please visit theamandagorman.com.
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