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A Black teen from Charleston will join a list of literary giants who have received one of the highest regarded recognitions from the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the Charleston Chronicle reported.

Malachi Jones, 17, will be the recipient of the 2018 Gold Medal Portfolio as part of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the news outlet writes. Jones—a Columbia University-bound high school senior—submitted a body of work that was centered on the current state of race in America. The inspiration behind the collection of his poems and essays is derived from his own experiences of coming of age as a young Black man.

As part of the award, Jones will receive a $10,000 scholarship. His project was chosen out of 346,000 works of art and writing that were submitted. Jones was one of 16 high school students to be recognized this year. “I remember a loud silence when I received the phone call,” he told the news outlet. “I felt like a siren was going off inside my head, but I was speechless. 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 want to read and appreciate my work.”

The awards ceremony will take place at Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 7 and his work will be displayed as part of the Art.Write.Now.2018 National Exhibition the same month. Jones is excited that a larger audience will get to read his work. “Having my work displayed there will be serious affirmation of my work. It is amazing to think my ability to write has led to being recognized in this way, and that my work will be seen by so many people,” he said.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards was created in 1923 and notable authors like Stephen King and Truman Capote have been honored.


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