New Penguin Random House Award Named After Michelle Obama Will Honour High School Writers
Michelle Obama Award for Memoir will provide a $10,000 college scholarship to a graduating public school senior based on their autobiographical submission. / BY Sherlyn Assam / October 12th, 2022
Penguin Random House’s Creative Writing Awards program has created a memoir-writing award called the Michelle Obama Award for Memoir. The Obama award will provide a $10,000 college scholarship to a public high school senior. This dedication comes with the recognition of the former First Lady’s commitment to education, encouraging young people to channel the power to tell their own stories, as well as the success of her own memoir, Becoming.
Michelle Obama, 58, published Becoming in 2018, selling over 17 million copies globally. In 2019, Becoming won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Auto-biography. In 2020, Becoming won an Audie Award for Autobiography/Memoir and a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album.
Obama’s next book, The Light We Carry, is expected to be released next month.
“I know firsthand how nerve-wracking it can be to share the most intimate stories from your life with the world,” said Obama in a Penguin Random House statement.
“But after publishing my memoir Becoming, I’ve learned that writing your own story can be a powerful tool. When we share the whole of ourselves, we offer others the opportunity to not only see us as we are, but maybe even think about themselves in a new way,” she said. “This allows us to harness the things that set us apart and helps us see the world as the nuanced, messy, beautiful place that it is. That’s why I am so excited about this new award, and I can’t wait to read what this next generation of young writers will share with us all.”
Other Penguin Random House Creative Writing awards include the Amanda Gorman Award for Poetry and the Maya Angelou Award for Spoken Word.
Applications for the 2022-2023 award opened on Oct. 12. U.S. students planning to attend college can apply until Feb. 1, 2023.
The Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards program has recognized graduating public school seniors with writing excellence since 1993. It has awarded more than $2.8 million to public high schoolers. The awards are distributed in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, a national grassroots organization that advocates for more diversity in children’s literature.