A South Carolina teen has joined a prestigious group of writers by being awarded a Gold Medal Portfolio, the highest honor of the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards presented by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.
17-year-old Malachi Jones who currently attends the Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston, South Carolina, describes his reaction to winning the award as a “loud silence.”
“I felt like a siren was going off inside my head, but I was speechless,” Malachi says in a Charleston Chronicle article. “I had been submitting work to Scholastic since 7th grade, so it is insane to me to think an audience outside my family and peers wants to read and appreciate my work.”
According to The Post and Courier, Malachi Jones, who is headed to Columbia University this fall, joins the ranks of legendary writers such as Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates and Stephen King as a winner of the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
However, what sets Malachi apart from his legendary counterparts is the experiences he shares in his writing.
The article states, “Jones’s award-winning work—a collection of lyric essays and free-verse poems—revolves around his experience as a black teenager struggling with and finally coming to terms with his identity.”
In a poem titled, ‘Pantoum For My Mother,’ the teen writes, ‘Stripped of my blackness, / uprooted by judgement. / I was never dark enough for you / or for the ones who called me whitewashed.’
“It’s about the questions and judgment he endures from both his white and black peers for not fitting the stereotypical ‘formula of a black male.’”
In a statement released by the Alliance for Young Writers & Artists, it is said that this year’s works of art and writing submissions broke records.
“Within the Awards’ 29 categories—which include poetry, photography, sculpture, humor, editorial cartoons, and video game design—a record-breaking 346,000 works of art and writing were submitted for adjudication at the regional level this year.”
The award won by Malachi Jones includes a scholarship of $10,000.