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Through books like “Becoming” and her upcoming release “The Light We Carry,” former first lady Michelle Obama has used literature as a tool to inspire, and she’s empowering the next generation of writers to do the same. She teamed up with Penguin Random House for the creation of a writing award for high school students, NBC reported.

The scholarship, dubbed the Michelle Obama Award for Memoir, is an extension of the publishing company’s Creative Writing Awards initiative which was established nearly three decades ago. In an effort to fuel the dreams of aspiring authors, $10,000 college endowments will be awarded to young scholars attending public high schools. The award will be granted to students who pen compelling autobiographical stories.

Obama says her journey in authorship propelled her to join the initiative and hopes that writing will help youth not only discover a deeper sense of self, but use storytelling to cultivate community. “After publishing my memoir “Becoming,” I’ve learned that writing your own story can be a powerful tool,” she shared in a statement. “When we share the whole of ourselves, we offer others the opportunity to not only see us as we are, but maybe even think about themselves in a new way. This allows us to harness the things that set us apart and helps us see the world as the nuanced, messy, beautiful place that it is.”

The Creative Writing Awards are co-led by the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books which has a mission rooted in advancing representation in children’s literature and publishing.

News about the Michelle Obama Award for Memoir comes weeks after Obama announced she was embarking on a six-city book tour in November for “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times.” The tour will make stops in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.


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