Meet Awards Alum Hannah Jones
Hannah Jones, New York native, recipient of several Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and current Coordinator of the National Student Poets Program at the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, is a true Scholastic Awards superstar. Hannah began submitting to the Awards in 8th grade, sending in poetry, science fiction, and fantasy pieces. She received a few regional Keys and national Silver Medals through middle and high school, but it wasn’t until senior year when she received her first national Gold Medal, and for a writing portfolio no less! According to Hannah, when she received her Gold Medal Writing Portfolio Award, she cried . . . a lot.
The Scholastic Awards were only the beginning of Hannah’s ongoing journey as a reader. Get to know Hannah better through our Q&A below, and keep reading to find out Hannah’s prompt for our July Start.Write.Now challenge!
Q&A with Hannah Jones
Q: What impact did receiving your Award have on you and/or your path?
A: Such an impact! Though I didn’t study creative writing in college, I continued to write and write and write—and also continued to volunteer for the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the organization that presents the Awards. The recognition my National Medal offered came to me at a vulnerable time—my teenage ego was easily bruised and quick to hide in the shadows. Standing on stage at Carnegie, I thought to myself, “Perhaps it isn’t so silly to write every day and believe that matters after all.”
Q: How did you pursue your creativity after high school?
A: I continued to write, not because I was validated by such an incredible award, but that validation didn’t hurt on days when I felt at my lowest. I also continued to support the Awards however I could, because it’s so important for young creatives everywhere to know that their words matter beyond themselves, in a world that is waiting to read them.
Q: What are you up to now?
A: I work at the Alliance part-time, coordinating the National Student Poets Program! One of my favorite elements of the Program is that it allows me to work with the same teen poets for their full year of service. I only wish a Program like this had existed for me when I was in high school! Outside of my day job, which allows me to live within the creative and the written world, I write poetry and fantasy novels and try not to let rejections get me down, knowing how subjective the arts are, and how important it is to keep on making work that matters to me.
Q: What inspires you to start working on a new piece?
A: Self-loathing; imperfect creations that try and fail to achieve something interesting; consuming as much as possible in order to hit refresh on my creativity.
Q: Anything else you want to share students who might want to submit?
A: Read what you love and write what you love. Probably nothing else matters, except staying hydrated.
Check out Hannah’s current work and all her info at jonesandbennett.com. See all of the amazing works she’s creating!
Start.Write.Now July Prompt: From Hannah Jones
The Prompt: Create your own persona piece! Think from the perspective of a shoe, a character from history, a laptop, or whatever else, and run with that idea in your writing or artwork.
From Hannah: My favorite way to jumpstart myself when I’m blocked is to create a persona piece—my version of that is to write from the perspective of a work of art, or a character from history, or a family member’s chair, or a lost shoe. It always helps me to work through my own thoughts and feelings by gaining the perspective this exercise provides. How does abandoned bubblegum or a dropped baby bottle see the world? Do I over-identify with inanimate objects? Perhaps I’ll find the answers—and more—as I continue!
As a reminder, all responses to the Start.Write.Now post are due July 26, 2019. Email your responses to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Start.Write.Now.”. Make sure to review our guidelines for participating before emailing in your work. Everyone is invited to use this prompt as inspiration for your work this summer, even if you choose not to or are ineligible to participate in the Start.Write.Now challenge.
Check back on August 1 for a chance to see the works that this prompt inspired, who are our lucky gift card winners, and to see our Start.Write.Now August alum feature and prompt!
All participants must be 13 years of age or older, and follow the Scholastic Awards eligibility criteria. For more information on participating, please see our full guidelines.