Student’s YA Novel Wins National Gold Medal

Congratulations to Asher B. ’22 for winning a National Gold Medal, the highest possible honor, from the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation's longest-running educational initiative supporting student achievement in the visual and literary arts. Asher was also selected as one of only two 11th grade writers for the Best in Grade category nationally.
What inspired you to write a book as your first creative writing endeavor?
When school transitioned to remote learning, I found myself with a substantial amount of free time. With our Spring Break travel plans canceled due to the pandemic, I was inspired to write this book as means of visiting these cities/states but only through my imagination.

What is your YA novel, Along the Beaten Path, about?
My novel details the adventures of Rutherford Jones, an 18-year old farm boy from rural Manitoba, Canada who embarks on a month-long journey throughout the Midwest to rob a series of banks so he can fund the treatment for his war-torn, Kosovo-veteran father's PTSD. The novel is broken up into 48 parts which document his expedition in bucolic towns and along the way introduces many characters that Rutherford either calls his friends or his foes.

Tell us what the Scholastic Art & Writing Award award means to you.
I was genuinely shocked to receive this honor. Being given this award validates my voice as a writer and I am humbled that I can associate myself with the many other teen authors across the nation.

What are your future writing plans?
Before being recognized by the Scholastic committee, I wasn't sure what the next step would entail but now I plan to submit this novel to agents in hopes of securing a publishing deal. That said, I would be just as happy to self-publish because I really want to share the book with others. In my mind, I plan to write another book over the summer, but time will have to tell.
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