The Best Teen Writing of 2012, for which I am Editor, is now available on Amazon. This year’s Best Teen Writing is rife with some truly incredible and thought-provoking pieces of short literature. These works are written by teens, but the level of depth and originality will blow you out of the water. Their maturity and skill will far surpass any and all expectations. These young people are not only outstanding writers but also concerned citizens who understand the significance of the social, political, and cultural context of their words. Given time, many of these writers will go on to follow in the footsteps of other Scholastic Awards alumni such as John Updike, Stephen King, Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Zac Posen, John Baldessari, Bernard Malamud, Edward Sorel, and many more. If you want a glimpse of tomorrow’s groundbreaking novelists, poets, journalists, and satirists, buy The Best Teen Writing of 2012.
Here is the collection’s official blurb:
The Best Teen Writing of 2012 is a collection of stories, essays and poems written by teen authors who won medals in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Awards, began in 1923, are the oldest, and largest recognition and scholarship program in the nation for creative teens. The pieces in this book were selected not merely because they are excellent works of writing, but also because they are brave, risky and honest. They are united by a need to discover fundamental truths and mold them — through hard work and inspiration, sacrifice and empathy — into words. To find out more about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, visit the website here.
And here is an excerpt from my Editor’s Introduction:
I’ve always stood by the maxim “Writing is more than words.” It’s not words themselves but their power that relates the human condition to a universe of ideas. Words can do so by submerging a reader in an experience or provoking an audience to question assumptions and consider new perspectives. Writing is about ideas as much as language; literature makes us think.
The works in The Best Teen Writing of 2012 exemplify these tenets and surpass them. Strong and audacious, these writers have something to say. When I first dove into the mass of nationally award-winning poems, short stories, personal essays, and more — more than 500 pieces in total–I expected sharp and moving prose but was delighted to also find a surplus of works about identity, philosophy and social change. They humanize persecuted or forgotten groups by telling their stories, submerging readers in a culture or the feelings of the oppressed. They push for social justice by provoking readers, opening them to new, interesting worldviews.
During this age of economic, political and social strife in the U.S. and abroad, and as the number of ethnic minorities in America increases, it’s vital that writers do more than write well. Using the power of words, they must address the problems of our time and their effect on the human condition. In April 2012, Aditya Chakrabortty of The Guardian noted the recent void of politically, socially active writers and asked “Why are English and American novels today so gutless?” But the pages before you reveal the work of a generation of young writers who are concerned about today’s problems, whether addressing immigration, identity, civil rights, the “99 Percent,” the Arab Spring, war, life and death, or science and technology. It is a true testament to America–a nation of immigrants, audacity, and ideas–that it has produced this critical, creative generation that, consciously or not, understands that writing is more than words.
If you purchase the book, you can read the moving and thoughtful Foreword by Edwidge Danticat, award-winning Haitian-American novelist and Scholastic Awards Juror.
You can check out my other work at the Publications page.