November 30, 2022
Mentee Jillian Daneshwar said she was “overwhelmed with pride” when she learned that she had won a Gold Key in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her story, “Haunting Thyself.”
“A picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, 1,898 of them,” Daneshwar said. “The inspiration for ‘Haunting Thyself’ came from a picture of a worn, wooden house. I got lost in the world I had created, as writing felt more like watching. As I neared the end, vision began to fade. I knew I had a gem on my hands. It just needed some polishing to shine. My wonderful mentor, Marisa, provided the final glow, and I was ready to let it go.”
Jillian’s mentor, Marisa Siegel, is an editor-at-large for The Rumpus and Senior Acquiring Editor for trade at Northwestern University Press. Marisa started working with Jillian in the 2021-2022 Girls Write Now year, and she has returned again this year to continue their mentoring relationship.
“Jillian is a gifted writer whose prose often reads like poetry, and the vivid imagery and language in ‘Haunting Thyself,’ alongside Jillian’s choice to put the story’s action in the present tense, makes it a riveting read,” Siegel said. “This piece began as a school assignment and we revised and further developed it in our one-on-one meetings over the course of a few weeks, and I was thrilled to learn Jillian had won a Gold Key for this story!”
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are currently accepting submissions for the 2023 awards. Check the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards website for your regional deadline. Girls Write Now mentees can have their submission fee waived by following these steps.
Jillian Daneshwar is a writer from New York City. She writes mostly poetry and short stories. She is a recipient of the Adelphi University’s Poetry Day, Citation in Poetry (Freshman). In addition to writing, she loves science and robotics.
Marisa Siegel holds an MFA in Poetry from Mills College in Oakland, CA. Her essay “Inherited Anger” appears in the anthology Burn It Down (Seal Press, 2019) & her debut poetry chapbook, Fixed Stars, is out now from Burrow Press. Poems have recently appeared or are soon forthcoming in Voicemail Poems, Hobart, Autofocus, & Sweet: A Literary Confection. She is senior acquiring editor for trade at Northwestern University Press, & editor-at-large for The Rumpus. Find her on Twitter at @marisasaystweet & on Instagram at @marisaemily.