Hollywood, S.C. teen wins prestigious national scholarship for his writing on race and identity
He’s only 17 but Malachi Jones has joined an exclusive club of legendary writers such as Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates and Stephen King as a winner of the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
A senior at Charleston County School of the Arts, Jones competed against a record-breaking 346,000 entrants this year to become one of 16 high school seniors chosen by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to receive the award program’s highest honor, the Gold Medal Portfolio.
Only one other student from South Carolina received the honor, Vicky Brown of Greenville.
The award comes with a $10,000 scholarship and a trip to Carnegie Hall this summer for the ceremony. Capote, Plath, Oates and King were all childhood Scholastic Art & Writing Award winners before embarking on their illustrious literary careers.
Jones’ award-winning work — a collection of lyric essays and free-verse poems — revolves around his experience as a black teenager struggling with and finally coming to terms with his identity.
In a poem titled “Pantoum for my Mother,” Jones writes, “Stripped of my blackness, / uprooted by judgement. / I was never dark enough for you / or for the ones who called me whitewashed.”
It’s about the questions and judgment he endures from both his white and black peers for not fitting the stereotypical “formula of a black male.”
Click here to read more about Malachi’s award from the Post & Courier.
The Portfolio Awards, made possible by generous individual donors and other supporters, provide 16 Gold Medal Portfolio recipients with $10,000 scholarships and 30 Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio recipients with $1,000 scholarships.
Learn more about the Portfolio Awards by clicking here.