Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards 2023 for High School Seniors in the U.S. (up to $10,000)

Deadline: February 1, 2023

Applications are open for the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards 2023. Through this programme, Penguin Random House will award college scholarships of up to $10,000 each to five public U.S. high school seniors, nationwide.

Creative Writing Awards winners have gone on to become professional and award-winning authors. Since 1993, this programme has awarded more than $2.8 million dollars to public high school students for original poetry, memoir/personal essay, fiction/drama, and spoken-word compositions. This signature programme continues to empower and celebrate hundreds of young writers each year.

Penguin Random House is passionate about encouraging the next generation of readers and authors and promoting diverse voices and stories. For more than 25 years, Penguin Random House has supported this mission through the Creative Writing Awards, which in 2019 entered into an innovative new partnership with national advocacy nonprofit We Need Diverse Books.


Awards will be distributed as follows:

  • $10,000 Maya Angelou Award for Spoken Word
  • $10,000 Amanda Gorman Award for Poetry
  • $10,000 Fiction/Drama
  • $10,000 Michelle Obama Award for Memoir


Applicants to the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards Programme in partnership with We Need Diverse Books must:

  • Be current high school seniors at a public high school in the United States graduating Spring of 2023;
  • Be 21 years of age and under;
  • Plan to enroll in an accredited two-year or four-year college, university, or approved vocational-technical school Fall 2023;
  • Submit one original literary composition in English in one of the following genres of poetry, spoken word, fiction/drama or personal essay/memoir.

Entry Requirements

  • All submissions must be typed, double-spaced with a minimum 12 point font size and no longer than 10 pages.
  • All submissions with multiple pages must be numbered with a page number and total number of pages (Ex. 1/3, 2/3, 3/3).
  • A four-page minimum is recommended for the fiction/drama genre.
  • Spoken word entries must upload a typed entry along with an emailed audio format file.
  • Only one entry per student may be submitted and considered.


Click here to apply

For more information, visit Penguin Random House.

By Bello

Ismail Bello is a content creator and enthusiast who is passionate about youth development.