Penguin Random House and We Need Diverse Books are currently accepting applications for their annual Creative Writing Awards. Amid the nationwide rise in book banning, the 2024 program will also include the inaugural Freedom of Expression Award, which offers college scholarships of up to $10,000 each to five public U.S. high school seniors who are taking a stand against censorship. Applicants for the new award are asked to write about one banned book that changed their life and why.

In addition to receiving scholarships, winners will participate in a development week hosted by Penguin Random House, featuring virtual meetings with editors, networking opportunities, career panels, and fireside chats with authors, capped off by a virtual awards ceremony.

PRH’s Creative Writing Awards were founded in 1993 and are administered by Scholarship America; WNDB entered the partnership in 2019. Over the years, the program has awarded more than $2.9 million to public high school students for original compositions across genres and formats. Categories include the Michelle Obama Award for Memoir, the Amanda Gorman Award for Poetry, the Maya Angelou Award for Spoken Word, and the Fiction/Drama Award.

The cut-off for applications is January 16, 2024, or when 1,000 submissions have been received. Winners will be announced next June. For more information, click here.