Penguin Random House is passionate about encouraging the next generation of readers and authors and promoting diverse voices and stories. For 26 years, Penguin Random House has supported this mission through the Creative Writing Awards, which in 2019 entered into an innovative new partnership with national advocacy organization We Need Diverse Books. Through this program, Penguin Random House will award college scholarships of up to $10,000 each to five U.S. high school seniors, nationwide.
Creative Writing Awards winners have gone on to become professional and award-winning authors. Since 1994, this program has awarded more than $2.4 million dollars to public high school students for original poetry, memoir/personal essay, fiction/drama, and spoken-word compositions. This signature program continues to empower and celebrate hundreds of young writers each year.
Applicants to the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards Program in Partnership with We Need Diverse Books must:
A) Be current high school seniors at a public high school in one of the United States of America, including the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, age 21 years and under, graduating in spring 2020
B) Planning to enroll in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited two-year or four-year college, university, or vocational-technical school for the entire upcoming academic year starting in fall 2020
C) Submit one original literary composition in English in one of the following genres of poetry, spoken word poem, fiction/drama or personal essay/memoir
Awards will be distributed as follows:
$10,000 Maya Angelou Award for Spoken-Word Poetry
$10,000 Personal Essay/Memoir
Fifty Honorable Mention recipients will receive a "Creativity Kit" gift from Penguin Random House.
In recognition of the Creative Writing Awards previously being centered on New York City and as an extension of our longtime work with local schools there, we will also offer an additional first-place prize of $10,000 to the top entrant from the NYC area.
Scholarship awards will be made by Penguin Random House to your choice of post-secondary educational institution. Awards will be payable over four years.