FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS AND
PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE EXPAND CREATIVE WRITING AWARDS
TO CREATE NATION-WIDE PROGRAM
The partnership will recognize the unique literary voices of high school seniors across the country by providing $50,000 in scholarship awards.
Bethesda, MD. – March 15, 2019 – We Need Diverse Books (WNDB), a national grassroots organization that advocates for diversity in children’s literature, and Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade publisher, have joined together to expand eligibility for the 25-year-old New York City-focused Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards. Winners will receive $50,000 in college scholarship funds, in addition to other awards for runners-up.
The 2019 competition launches on March 15 and closes on April 15, 2019. Current high school seniors who attend public schools in the United States, including the District of Columbia and its territories, and are planning to attend college in fall 2019, are eligible to apply.
Established at Random House in 1994, the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards have awarded more than $2.6 million to public high school students for their original compositions. Starting this year, WNDB will facilitate the expansion of the competition beyond its origins in New York City to graduating seniors from public high schools across the country. The goal is for youth from coast to coast to join previous recipients, who include award-winning and published writers and journalists as well as distinguished professionals in a variety of fields.
This year, first-place $10,000 prizes will be offered in the categories of fiction/drama; poetry; personal essay/memoir; and spoken-word poetry through the Maya Angelou Award. Also, in recognition of the Creative Writing Awards previously being centered on New York City, the competition will award an additional first-place prize to the top entrant from the NYC area.
Through the advocacy of WNDB and others, progress has been made to diversify the experiences represented in children’s literature, and yet across the industry, there is still a persistent problem with the dearth of diverse authors and publishing professionals. WNDB believes it is critical for high school and college students to share their stories and add to the landscape of #ownvoices titles published each year.
“We are excited to work with the team at Penguin Random House. This partnership connects WNDB to diverse writers at a young age. When combined with our Mentorship and Walter Grant programs, we can offer scholarship winners and competition alumni access to a pipeline of support that extends from high school to college and ultimately, a long-term career in publishing,” shared Nicole A. Johnson, executive director of We Need Diverse Books.
To apply and to read more about eligibility and rules, please visit this website: https://www.scholarsapply.org/penguinrandomhouse/application.php
Winners will be announced and posted on the Penguin Random House Creative Writing website at https://social-impact.penguinrandomhouse.com by July 1, 2019.
About We Need Diverse Books. We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. It is our mission to put more books featuring diverse characters in the hands of all children. You can learn more about our programs at www.wndb.local.
About Penguin Random House. Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission of nourishing a universal passion for reading by connecting authors and their writing with readers everywhere. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson, who own 75 percent and 25 percent, respectively. With nearly 275 independent imprints and brands on six continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital English- and Spanish-language trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide. With over 15,000 new titles and more than 600 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.
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