The Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award honors both a high school senior who excels in creative writing and Fran Abrams, who worked tirelessly throughout her career to support the arts and humanities in Montgomery County. The Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award will be a competitive award open annually to all Montgomery County high school seniors. The award includes a cash prize of $1,000 and an award reception featuring a reading by the winner.
This award is given to a high school senior graduating in the Class of 2017 who is enrolled in a public or non-public high school in Montgomery County to benefit his/her pursuit of a creative writing related career. The sixth annual $1,000 Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award for 2017 will be granted following a juried selection process that is based upon the merit of the original work submitted and the applicant’s potential for a creative writing related career, not financial need.
An applicant must meet all of the following criteria:
Applications for the 2017 Award must be submitted via the online application system by Friday, October 14th, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Below are the 2016-2017 guidelines for your reference:
AHCMC staff will hold free award preparation webinars to provide assistance to those applying for the Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award. Workshops are held at AHCMC's offices; AHCMC strongly encourages all applicants to attend.
Applicants are encouraged to contact AHCMC with any questions they may have. Assistance is available via email, phone or in-person by contacting Nabil Ghachem at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-565-3804.
Emily Zhang is currently a senior at Richard Montgomery High School. She loves telling bits of stories through poetry, and hopes to one day work in arts advocacy where she can teach students the importance of creative expression. She is currently Editor in Chief of the The Moco Student, Montgomery County’s student newspaper, as well as News Editor of The Tide, Richard Montgomery’s High School newspaper. In addition, Emily founded Sidereal Journal, an online publication that is dedicated to showcasing the works of writers and artists who create with the purpose of shifting the perspective of the public. Emily has earned a Scholastic Art & Writing Award, and her work has been recognized by Feminist Studies, The Poetry Society of England, The Sierra Nevada Review, Princeton University, and National Poetry Quarterly, as well as many other publications.
"Writing, originally, was a documentation of my life—I’ve kept journals since the fourth grade—but whenever I found myself uprooted into a new environment, I wrote to address this strange new sense of loneliness.Poetry is my connection of people and people, author and reader, ideas that never seemed to mesh well until they did. I love this width of possibility, this restlessness of words. I love that it inspires equal parts adventure and introspection and empathy.
When China handed me a fistful of loneliness and mistranslation, I gave it line breaks on café napkins, candy wrappers, grocery store receipts. I wrote when the neighborhood bookstore stopped carrying English titles. I wrote when my grandpa passed away and left all his playing cards on the table and orange juice in the fridge."
Logan Dreher is currently a senior at Blake High School. An active member of organizations like the National Honors Society, Black Student Union, and Knitting Club, she expresses her love for writing through her leadership roles as editor-in-chief of the nationally recognized school newspaper, 'The Blake Beat,' and as president of the Creative Writing Club. She has given back to her community by obtaining over 250 community service hours. In the past, Logan has been featured in the Bethesda Magazine, and was a recipient of the National Society of Arts and Literature Award for Excellence. She owes her success to her family, friends, and writing mentor Amy Branson.
I don't think I've ever considered why I was interested in writing before. It is something as intrinsically tied to my being as my hair or eye color. In that vein, there was never one moment I realized I wanted to write. The heavens never opened up, and God never strode out and declared, "You shall write."
Most of my life seemed impermanent and abstract; two of my best friends moved away when I was a child; my father moved to California, and then to Florida, after my parents divorced; and I felt race-less, community-less as a white looking biracial girl in an African American household. Writing made my life feel concrete. If I could just capture a moment in words, it was real and it was permanent
Yiyi “Jessica” Li immigrated to America from China at the age of nine and will graduate from Richard Montgomery High School in June of 2014. Her works have been featured on Teen-Ink, Stage-of-life, and the New York Times Education Blog. She has also been recognized in nation-wide contests including the River of Words International Poetry Contest, National Creative Communications Essay Contest, and the Scholastic Writing Awards, as well as in local competitions such as the Bethesda Magazine Essay Contest, MCCPTA Reflections Contest, and One World Education Reflections Program. Jessica will attend Princeton University in the fall of 2014 and hopes to become a news reporter/commentator.
Illegal immigrant. Teenage mother. Housewife of a Wall Street billionaire. Do you think crime? Burden? Extravagance and perpetual festivity? After coming to America, my family moved from a grease-smelling garage-sized tenement sheltering fourteen people to a house of our own on a scenic street. The stereotypes I had been associated with in the eyes of my counterparts had changed, yet, there was always a monochromatic label that they slapped onto me. That’s what got me to pick up my pen. I write to amplify the non-mainstream voices, for I’ve witnessed the power of words to peacefully erase prejudices and open our eyes to what we once refused to see.
Congratulations to Sydney Axelrod, recipient of the 2013 Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award! Sydney is graduating senior at Richard Montgomery High School. Next year, she plans to attend Drexel University, where she will be majoring in Communications with a minor in either English or Screenwriting. Join us for a reading of her work on June 11th!
"A 'wise' woman once told me that my generation has no imagination. Now, I use the term 'wise' loosely, seeing as that is an incredibly ignorant attack on the entire future of our society. Nevertheless, her words hit home and slapped me in the face. No imagination?! Well, I decided at that point -- being the stubborn thirteen year old that I was -- that I would prove her wrong. In the years that have passed, I have come to realize that my generation has developed into the carbon-copy clones we all know not as a result of our own laziness, but of the system by which we are educated. Now, I'm not blaming the nation's teachers; I'm looking at the man behind the curtain who's putting the scores before the skills. Students are taught the form that will get them a 'five' instead of their own satisfaction and I have a problem with this. It's true that you need to know the rules before you can break them, but there's nothing wrong with testing the waters now and then in your writing. My writing is distinct, because I'm not afraid to add a sarcastic edge, reference pop culture, or even quote some colloquial curse words if it means that I'm getting my point across. I know my limits, but push my boundaries."
Denevi's first book, Freak Kingdom: A Personal History of Hyperactivity, will be published in 2014 by Simon and Schuster. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. Recently he received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. HIs fiction and nonfiction has appeared in various magazines, including Arts & Letters, Hobart, and Wag's Revue. He also teaches nonfiction at the University of Maryland, College Park.
The award reception featured a reading by local author, Susan Coll. Susan Coll is the author of the novels Beach Week, Acceptance, Rockville Pike, and karlmarx.com. She has worked as a travel and feature writer, and has also written a few op-eds and book reviews, published in such places as The Asian Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Washington Post, and NPR.org. “Fire Safety Week,“ a short story set in New Delhi, was broadcast on the BBC World Service. She once wrote an essay about overscheduled kids and parents in the Washington Post. She is the Editorial and Programming Director at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC. Find her online at susancoll.com.
This award is given to a high school senior graduating in the class of 2012 who is enrolled in a public or non-public high school in Montgomery County to benefit his/her pursuit of a creative writing related career. The $1,000 Fran Abrams Award for 2012 will be granted following a juried selection process that is based upon artistic merit of the original work submitted and the applicant’s potential for a career related to creative writing, not financial need.
The Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award was established in July 2010 to celebrate Abrams' contributions to Montgomery County's cultural community. Former AHCMC Grants Director and Interim Public Art Trust Director, Abrams announced her retirement from AHCMC effective July 2010. During her nearly 10 years at AHCMC, Abrams oversaw the creation of Montgomery County’s first Cultural Plan, AHCMC’s 2007 Strategic Plan and served as the agency’s Interim Director. Abrams retired after 41 years of service to Montgomery County, including 10 years with the County Government, more than 20 years in non-profit organizations focused on early childhood education, arts and the environment.
AHCMC CEO Suzan Jenkins notes, "Fran's stalwart creativity and vision are a testament to the leadership and dedication she brought to the Arts and Humanities Council. We are proud to continue her legacy for years to come by inspiring students with the Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award."
Donations for the Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award are being accepted via our secure online donation form or by mail at AHCMC, Attn: Fran Abrams Award, 801 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20910.