19th Annual Young Writers Awards Celebration
On Tuesday, May 25, the Society Library honored stellar writing by children and teens in grades three through twelve at the 19th Annual Young Writers Awards ceremony, held on Zoom. This year's winning and honorable mention stories, essays, and poems covered a range of topics from gelato to mythology and from antiracism to pandemic life. Head of the Children's Library Randi Levy presented awards on behalf of Robert Quackenbush. Competition judges poet Dave Johnson and authors Carol Weston and Edra Ziesk noted the resilience of the writers who entered the competition during this challenging year and urged them to continue expressing their creativity and sharing their writing with the world.
This year's online gathering was bittersweet. It was joyful to celebrate "with" the young writers and their families as we all begin to emerge from a difficult period. However, this second year of celebrating virtually was the first year without longtime NYSL member author and illustrator Robert Quackenbush leading off the presentation of awards. An enthusiastic judge since the competition's inception in 2003, Dr. Quackenbush passed away recently, just weeks after reading prose entries and selecting the winning stories and essays by writers in grades three through six. The author and/or illustrator of nearly 200 books for children, Dr. Quackenbush relished his role and cherished the opportunity to celebrate storytelling, particularly in the face of adversity.
We will miss Robert Quackenbush, and we will honor his love for the New York Society Library and this competition by continuing to encourage young writers and their winning words.