2020 Creative Writing Awards

We Need Diverse Books and Penguin Random House announced the 2020 Creative Writing Awards, which honor “graduating seniors from public high schools nationwide.” The winning pieces for each category are:

Fiction & Drama

  • “Loophole Abuse”, Erika Whisnant

Personal Essay

  • “Planet: Elkhart, Indiana”, Ivana Cortez


  • “Museum of My Own History, Age Sixteen”, Jeffrey Liao

Maya Angelou Award for Spoken Word

  • “Evolution of the Black Woman”, Orlane Devesin

NYC Entrant Award

  • “To My Catcaller”, Maya Williams

Each winner receives a $10,000 college scholarship, an invitation to a “virtual week of professional development with Penguin Random House,” and the opportunity to meet with author Nic Stone. Students submitted works from nearly 700 high schools, representing 48 US states and territories.

The competition awarded “a ‘Creativity Kit,’ which includes writing resources and books” to more than 60 honorable mentions.

The 2020 judges were Haley Davis, Elliot Figman, Megha Jain, Sue Landers, Kesha Lee, Lisa Lucas, Phillip Stamper-Halpin, and “school librarians, authors, teachers, and poets” from We Need Diverse Books.

For more information, see the Penguin Random House announcement.

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