National Writing Project

Spotlight on the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers

Date: July 6, 2010

Summary: The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers—with the help from Writing Project sites and state networks—works to identify, motivate, and recognize the next generation of artists and writers.


Who are the most talented young writers and artists in America? Many of them are being honored each year by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers , a national program formed to support aspiring young artists and writers by administering the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the oldest recognition program for creative teenagers in the United States. Founded in 1923 by Maurice R. Robinson, the program has, to date

  • encouraged more than 13 million students
  • recognized more than 9 million young artists and writers
  • distributed more than $25 million in awards and scholarships.

"For eighty-eight years, winning a Scholastic Award has provided early recognition and support for teenagers, many of whom have gone on to produce pioneering creative work with worldwide impact. We are excited to encourage new generations in their creative and professional development," said Virginia McEnerney, executive director of the Alliance.

Evaluating Submissions

Each year, the Alliance receives more than 150,000 works of art and writing, submitted through regional affiliate programs that range across a variety of organizations from entire school districts to arts councils to Writing Project sites, for consideration in 30 categories.

The submissions are evaluated locally and nationally by panels of jurors comprising renowned artists, authors, educators, and arts professionals.

In 2010, the California Writing Project, Chicago Area Writing Project, Philadelphia Writing Project, Hoosier Writing Project, and Southern Maine Writing Project are among Alliance affiliates in its ninety-six different regions (for more, read Writing Project Sites Get Involved in The Best Teen Writing).

The regional affiliates will recognize more than 30,000 young artists and writers with a variety of awards.

How Students Can Apply

Every year, the process begins on September 15 as young artists and writers submit their creative works to the affiliate in their region.

The awards are open to students in seventh through twelfth grades from public, private, and parochial schools throughout the United States (and its territories), as well as American-run schools abroad and community programs also serving eligible student populations.

Writing categories include

  • Dramatic Script
  • Humor
  • Journalism
  • Personal Essay/Memoir
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Poetry
  • Novel Writing
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Short Story
  • Short Short Story
  • General Writing Portfolio
  • Nonfiction Portfolio
  • Creativity & Citizenship (Writing or Art)
  • Video Game Design

Prize-winning pieces from The Scholastic Writing Awards are included in an annual anthology, The Best Teen Writing, and authors and artists are also eligible for scholarships or are honored at a national ceremony at Carnegie Hall, among other possibilities.

Watch Video of Award-Winning Writer

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