National Writing Contest – Celebrating Black Writers: Voices Calling for Activism and Social Justice
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CONTEST WINNERS!
Higher Education – First Place and the winner of a $4,000 prize:
William Lohier, for “Emigration Imaginaries: Sci-Fi and 19th Century Black Emigrationist Texts,” Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
William Lohier is a senior at Harvard College concentrating in African and African American Studies and English. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, he is a fiction writer, poet and avid reader of Black speculative fiction from across the diaspora.
Higher Education – Second Place and winner of a $2,000 prize:
Marian Jones, for “South Shade: An Astral-Activist Romance” Sacramento City College, Sacramento, California
Marian Jones was born in Sacramento, California, to Annie Jones and Reverend Asbury Jones, Sr. Her father, who has passed, was a Baptist minister. Her mother is a church choir director and pianist. Marian has one older brother, and two older sisters, the eldest of whom passed just last year.
Marian started reading and writing poetry when she was in grade school and has been an avid, lifelong reader, gravitating mainly to poetry, fantasy, and science fiction. She also enjoys singing and making jewelry. Marian lives with her partner Sam in Davis, California.
High School – First Place and the winner of a $3,000 prize:
Elijah Elvin, for “Negro or Oro?” Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Elijah Elvin is from Brooklyn, NY. He is a freshman at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. His plans on majoring in political science, but he is also interested in philosophy, law, and creative writing. His career goals include becoming a lawyer, author, and philanthropist. He would like to help people overcome legal and socioeconomic problems they face, while also spreading positivity and inspiration to the world through works of literature.
High School – Second Place and the winner of a $1,500 prize:
Rebecca Beaver, for “Dark Minds, Dark Bodies” Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut
Rebecca Beecher Beaver is currently a freshman at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. She is a prospective biology major and is currently on the pre-health track. On campus, she is involved in Christian Fellowship, the Wesleyan chapter of the American Medical Student’s Association, and the varsity track team. She loves creative writing, especially writing poetry. In her free time, she enjoys reading, running, and spending time with friends and family.
Earlier this year, The Center for Black Literature (CBL) at Medgar Evers College, in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, invited high school and college students of all ages to participate in a writing contest titled Celebrating Black Writers: Voices Calling for Activism and Social Justice. Submissions in the genres of fiction, prose, and essay were welcome.
The writing contest celebrates the Center for Black Literature’s 20th Anniversary Jubilee: Honoring Our Legacy and Celebrating the Black Literary Arts and the National Council of Teachers of English’s annual National Day on Writing®.
Our nation is facing many challenges: voter suppression, racism, social injustice and inequality, and a public health pandemic. Black writers in this country have a long history of overcoming obstacles and engaging in the struggle for the freedom to live as citizens whose civil and human rights are respected and honored. Through their liberation narratives, poetry, fiction, and essays, Black writers have documented their experiences and called for change. The texts of Black poets, novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, historians, activists, and civil rights leaders have always sustained us through challenging times.
All students currently enrolled in secondary/high school or college, including community college, were encouraged to participate by writing and submitting their own essays, prose, or fiction. Writings represented various themes raised by Black writers—poets, novelists, literary activists, public intellectuals, civil rights leaders, and historians—who have advocated for social justice.
All submissions will be reviewed by an invited panel of expert judges.
- Open: Monday, February 28, 2022
- Close: Monday, May 23, 2022
- Submissions of students’ original writings must be between 750 and 4,000 words long.
- Submissions must be entered into the webform text box, retaining spacing from the original document.
- In a separate field, include a one- or two-sentence bio about the student author.
- Submit to one category (fiction, prose, or essay), as only one submission per person is allowed.
- Submissions can include an excerpt from a student’s larger work but cannot exceed the total stated word limit for this contest.
- Previously published works are not acceptable.
- All entries must be submitted online by no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on May 23,2022.
- High school students (includes juniors and seniors): first place $3,000; second place $1,500
- College students (includes community, comprehensive, and senior colleges): first place $4,000; second place $2,000