Library Blog

The 15th Annual Young Writers Award Ceremony

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

On Wednesday, May 17, the Library hosted the 15th annual Young Writers Awards ceremony. Over 200 children submitted poem or prose entries and all receive a certificate of participation. Our returning panel of judges greeted the winners at the ceremony and encouraged the children present to continue their distinguished efforts. The Head of the Children’s Library Randi Levy welcomed everyone and warmly thanked Jeanette Sarkisian Wagner for her continued underwriting of this event. 

Elementary age prose judge Author Robert Quackenbush noted that the ceremony is often held on the first day with spring-like weather and it had in fact just become quite warm! He also remarked that he found a theme throughout the entries of the young writers responding to traumatic events in their past and present. Quackenbush welcomed the winners and honorable mention recipients to the podium and requested that they share the inspiration behind their submissions. One piece concerned a grandmother’s journey through illness and Quackenbush enthusiastically welcomed the winner and her grandmother who was present in the audience to join them at the front of the room for a special photo op. Elementary grade poetry judge Dave Johnson saw a similar theme emerging as the children responded to the political and social climate around them. Johnson also remarked that though the entrants are young, this is a crucial point in their developing writing careers. 

Judge and writer Carol Weston encouraged her middle school writers to keep at their craft and noted that the presence of compassion in the poems and prose pieces she read was extraordinary. The poetry winner mentioned that her reflective piece was inspired by a poem she found in Louis Sachar’s book Holes. High school judge and author Edra Ziesk said that as she read through the submissions she was looking for glimpses of how the writers observe the world around them.

After the award presentation, Head Librarian Carolyn Waters concluded the evening and declared that she hoped to find the future works of these young writers in the stacks of the NYSL one day.

The gathered families and friends enjoyed a reception afterwards with refreshments and conversation in the Members’ Room. You are welcome to read the winning entries of 2017. We expect that many of these young authors will become your new favorite writers.