Announcing the Michelle Obama Award for Memoir

By Allan Spencer | October 13 2022 | High School

We are honored to announce the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards’ Michelle Obama Award for Memoir.

In recognition of Michelle Obama’s long-standing commitment to mentorship and education, as well as her inspiring leadership in encouraging young people to discover the power of telling their own stories, this award grants a college scholarship of $10,000 to one young, promising writer.

Click Here to See Official Rules and Apply

We are passionate about encouraging the next generation of readers and authors and promoting diverse voices and stories. For more than 25 years, we have supported this mission through the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards, which in 2019 entered into an innovative new partnership with We Need Diverse Books. Through this program, we award college scholarships of up to $10,000 each to five U.S. high school seniors nationwide. In addition, honorable mentions receive “creativity kits,” which include a selection of Penguin Random House titles and writing resources. Creative Writing Award winners have gone on to become professional and award-winning authors.

This year, we are thrilled to announce that we are adding the Michelle Obama Award for Memoir to our program. This award is one of five creative writing awards given by Penguin Random House. Other categories include fiction/drama; the Amanda Gorman Award for Poetry; and the Maya Angelou Award for Spoken Word. In recognition of the Creative Writing Awards previously being centered in New York City, the competition will award an additional first-place prize to the top entrant from the NYC area. Please find the full press release here.

The 2022–23 competition launched on October 12. Current high school seniors who attends public school in the United States, including the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories, and are planning to attend college—either a two-year or four-year institution—are eligible to apply in the fall of 2022.

Since 1993, this program has awarded more than $2.8 million 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 and underscores our unwavering commitment to identifying and nurturing new literary talent.

In addition to scholarships, Penguin Random House hosts a virtual development week for the Creative Writing Awards winners each summer that includes one-on-one virtual meetings with Penguin Random House editors, networking workshops, a panel about career opportunities in publishing, and fireside chats with Penguin Random House authors. The week concludes with a virtual awards ceremony.

To read a selection of the 2022 winning entries, click here. To read a selection of previous year’s winning entries, click on the year: 20212020, 2019

The Light We Carry
Overcoming in Uncertain Times
Practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today’s highly uncertain world—from the #1 bestselling author of Becoming and former First Lady Michelle Obama
$32.50 US
Nov 15, 2022
336 Pages