Carnegie Mellon University

Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards Celebration

Join us on January 20, 2020.


What began as forum for drawing students together to talk about discrimination and difference has evolved into a community-wide celebration.

With the support of M. Shernell Smith and Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Award celebration has become the centerpiece of the university's observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and an integral part of the Center's month-long focus on the life and legacy of Dr. King. Hundreds attend the event each year, which is free and open to the public. 

The annual celebration features readings by the top three winners in high school and college poetry and prose, along with musical performances and refreshments. Honorable mentions and the top entries of each participating school are also recognized.

All are welcome.


The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards celebration is co-sponsored by the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, Department of English, and Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Support for the 2019 celebration was received from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Cohen & Grigsby, Hachette Book Group, and Champtires.

Prizewinner Xinji (Joyce) Wang
Prizewinner Xinji (Joyce) Wang
Hannah Daniel and friend
Prizewinner Hannah Daniel and friend
Southers family at 2019 awards celebration
Prizewinner Ashley Southers with family and friends
Performer Simone Jones
A performance by Simone Jones, College of Fine Arts '21
2019 award celebration attendees
Attendees at the 2019 award celebration
Dean Richard Scheines, Jim Daniels, M. Shernell Smith
Jim Daniels (center) honored for his twenty years of commitment to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards with Richard Scheines, dean of Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences (left), and M. Shernell Smith, associate director of student affairs (right).