October 3 AYAW Book Launch[3]

On October 3rd, we partied like it was 2013—The Best Teen Writing of 2013, to be specific! Our book launch party for the newest edition of our annual anthology of Award-winning writing featured guest host, WNYC Radio host Brian Lehrer, who interviewed Loretta López, 2010 Portfolio Gold Medalist and the book’s Editor. Here’s a brief excerpt:

In your introduction you write about the role of technology today and our quick access to information. Can you speak more about that?
A lot of our experiences right now are very passive, about just watching. What I love about this book is that every writer in this book took the time to sit down, face themselves and pay attention; be frustrated in the process of writing and I like that.

Did you find frustration in the writing process? You told me you are writing a novel. What is your approach to writing?
I realized a while ago that if you just wait for inspiration to hit you you’re going to wait a long time. I write every day for at least two hours– I force myself and set my alarm. Then I go out and see people, return and dive back into a fantastical world I’m creating.

You ask readers of The Best Teen Writing of 2013 not just to read the work but to respond. Why?
I really tried to choose writers who were not to be so obvious with their message. They’re giving readers room to interpret, analyze, and come up with their own conclusions. I want readers to face those mysteries, those questions, when you come up with an answer perhaps they’ll be inspired to write your own stories.

Do the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards matter in today’s world
Of course. It’s a platform that’s unique: there aren’t a lot of places for young people to express themselves to get the attention that Scholastic gives them. Besides, today’s social political atmosphere is not one that encourages youth and says “be an artist” and Scholastic is doing that.

Brian Lehrer, an award-winning radio journalist and author himself, had a few choice words for teen writers too!

More than 100 people celebrated with us at Scholastic Inc.’s 11th-floor aerie, The Greenhouse, and enjoyed tributes from friends of the Awards such as Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch, whose organization just this week named  Scholastic Inc. to their prestigious 2013’s BCA 10: the ten best businesses partnering with the arts in America.

Our guests crowded outward onto the beautiful terrace, tweeted and snapped photos of the sunset:
Ismael Cruz Córdova Always feel so inspired when I attend any of the wonderful @artandwriting events. It makes me hopeful, inspired & galvanized! #useyourvoice

Ismael Cruz Córdova Celebrating the launch of The Best Teen Writing Of 2013 Book @Scholastic @artandwriting #inspired #letyourvoicebeheard #write #write #write

Brian Lehrer at @artandwriting‘s Best Teen Writing launch: “Write long, write medium, write short, but keep writing.” #awawards

Alex Sarian Over 200,000 student submissions for “The Best Teen Writing of 2013“! #ArtsEd is alive and well! Thank you @Scholastic & @artandwriting

Alex Sarian Seems fitting that we celebrate #ArtsEd with this view. People should learn about @Scholastic & the @artandwriting pic.twitter.com/sLWNWZOWYD

Then they flowed inside to hear Award winners and contributors read from the book, including: 2012 Gold Medalist and National Student Poet Claire Lee, who read a poem included in the anthology from 2013 NSPP awardee Aline Dolinh; 2103 Portfolio Gold Medalist Christian Caraballo, who read work by Silver Medalist Robert Bedell; and Gold Medalist Gabriella Gonzales who read her own poem, Bronx Rooftop Song.

The Best Teen Writing 2013 hits the virtual shelves today! Please click here to purchase your copy—and let us know what you think!

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