We are eager to share with you the winners and finalists of the Eighth Annual Narrative High School Writing Contest. This year Narrative welcomed free poetry submissions from our global community of high school students, who conjured poems in response to the prompt True or False?
Contributing teachers and students in the Narrative contest cover the world: in recent years, we have received submissions from thirty-six countries, including Ghana, Malaysia, Nepal, China, Nigeria, Taiwan, South Africa, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Within the United States, we received poems from students in forty-nine states—a virtual world of young poets! In all, our Narrative for Schools programs reach more than 100,000 students and teachers in schools worldwide.
Of the first-place poem, written by Elane Kim, 2019–2021 Young People’s Poet Laureate and guest judge Naomi Shihab Nye remarked, “ ‘Aftermath’ is a stunning poem of details, objects, and intentions that mesmerized me from the first reading and simply would not let go. This is a poem of palpable presences. It’s magical. It says, Pay attention, we’re all surrounded by wonder. Absorb it, be changed by it.”
Of her experience judging the contest, Nye wrote, “I feel deeply grateful to have read these richly wide-ranging poems, as if I have traveled into a resonant layer of consciousness and been restored. Thanks to all the young writers who sent in work. Narrative appreciates you, I appreciate you, and may your great act of bravery and positivism in sharing your voices become a regular practice that benefits you throughout your lives.”
• Sophie Bernick, Interlochen Arts Academy (Interlochen, MI)
• Lyla Butler, Saint Ann’s School (Brooklyn, NY)
• Keira Chen, the Pingry School (Basking Ridge, NJ)
• Lachlan Chu, the Nueva School (San Mateo, CA)
• Adrael Enquobahrie, International Community School (Kirkland, WA)
• Camille Gabbert, South Hampstead High School (London, UK)
• Minha Kyun, Magee Secondary School (Vancouver, BC)
• Nolan Lee, Delbarton School (Morristown, NJ)
• Jenna Nesky, George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology (Townson, MD)
• Heather Qin, Ridge High School (Basking Ridge, NJ)
• Joy Su, Valley Southwoods Freshman High School (West Des Moines, IA)
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