68 New York City High School Students Win $110,000 in Scholarships in the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards

New York, NY, June 9, 2015

The Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards presents $110,000 in scholarships tonight to sixty-eight New York City public high school seniors for original poetry/spoken word, memoir, fiction and graphic novel compositions.  In recognition of the unique vision and voices of these New York City high school students, each submission to the competition is given individual consideration through a multi-level selection process. Entries are judged on their style, form and content. Among this year’s judges are Executive Director of the National Book Foundation Harold Augenbraum; Executive Editor of G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers Arianne Lewin; and PW Comics Week Co-Editor Calvin Reid.


Since 1994, more than two million dollars have been awarded to students and their schools by Random House, and now Penguin Random House,  through this awards competition.  Melanie Fallon-Houska, director of the company’s  Creative Writing Awards said, “ We applaud the thousands of students who have made creativity a priority in their lives.  It has been a privilege and honor to read their work and share in each of their successes.  Here at Penguin Random House, we are all proud of their accomplishments and moved by their creativity.”


This twenty-second year for the competition, more than 1,300 entries were received from a diverse number of public high schools throughout the city’s five boroughs. The awards presentation will include dramatic readings, spoken-word poetry, and graphic novel presentations from a selection of winners, including the $10,000 scholarship recipients.  The 2015 first-place winners are:


Anna Learis, for Poetry, from Edward R. Murrow High School

Erika Lopez, for Fiction & Drama, from Brooklyn Technical High School

Jordan White, for Memoir, from Hunter College High School

Bonny Truong, for Graphic Novel, from Stuyvesant High School


The winning high school seniors and their families, along with teachers and publishing industry leaders will be joined on June 9th by Delacorte Press’ James Dashner, author THE MAZE RUNNER; Riverhead and Dutton Books for Young Readers’ Meg Wolitzer, author of BELZHAR; Executive Director  Elliot Figman (Poets & Writers Magazine); and Educational Outreach Director New York Museum of Comic & Cartoon Alex Simmons. The evening will include dramatic readings, spoken-word performances, and a graphic novel presentation produced and directed by OOBR award-winning actor and creator of the Random House LLC WRITE NOW! writing workshops, author Richard Hoehler.


The complete list of judges is: Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director, National Book Foundation; Michael Braff, Associate Editor, Del Rey Books; Billy Collins, Author, Random House; Robert V. Conte, Graphic Novel Author; John Cunningham, Vice President of Marketing, DC Comics/Warner Bros.; Trish Dantzic, Program Founder & Teaching Artist; Janice Erlbaum, Author, Villard Books; Elliot Figman, Publisher, Poets & Writers Magazine; Deborah Garrison, Poetry Editor, Pantheon Books; Erin Gruwell, President, Freedom Writers Foundation; Richard Hoehler, Actor, Writer and Teaching Artist; Dana Isokawa, Assistant Editor Poets & Writers Magazine;Arianne Lewin, Executive Editor, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers; Elizabeth Lewis, MBA Candidate, Class of 2014, New York University; Mariella Molloy, SVP, Corporate Services, Penguin Random House, Evelyn Polesny, Writer, Educator & Actress; Calvin Reid, Co-Editor, Publishers Weekly Comics WeekBarbara Rothenberg, NYC Association of Principals Supervising English; Alex Simmons, Educational Outreach Director New York Museum for Comic & Cartoon Art; Jo Umans, Executive Director, Behind the Book; and Meg Wolitzer, Author, Riverhead Dutton BFYR.


With nearly 250 independent imprints and brands on five continents, more than 15,000 new titles and close to 800 million print, audio and e-books sold annually, Penguin Random House is the world’s leading trade book publisher. The company, which employs about 12,500 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013 by Bertelsmann and Pearson, who own 53 percent and 47 percent, respectively.  Like its predecessor companies, Penguin Random House is committed to publishing adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print editions, and is a pioneer in digital publishing. Its book brands include storied imprints such as Doubleday, Viking and Alfred A. Knopf (United States); Ebury, Hamish Hamilton and Jonathan Cape (UK); Plaza & Janés and Alfaguara (Spain); and Sudamericana (Argentina); as well as the international imprint DK. Its publishing lists include more than 60 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors. Penguin Random House champions the creative and entrepreneurial independence of its publishers, who work tirelessly to maximize readership for its authors and to protect their intellectual property.


For more about the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards, please visit our website at www.randomhouse.com/creativewriting.

For a book of this year’s winners, call 212-782-9348.




Claire Von Schilling


Melanie Fallon-Houska
212-782-8319 Office
267-251-0882 Cell