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2019 Winner Adetiloro Ibitoye with Prize Founder Nancy Schuh

The Joseph E. Mohbat Prize for Writing in Memory of Verdery Knights…

…is a writing prize awarded annually to a deserving Brooklyn public high school senior with a demonstrated writing talent and who may want to pursue some aspect of writing as a career.

The goal of the Mohbat Prize is to provide opportunities for talented, motivated young writers, who may lack financial resources, to express themselves through their writing and be recognized for it.

Established in partnership with the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Mohbat Prize honors two exceptional individuals who shared a love of writing — Joe Mohbat, prize winning journalist with the Associated Press, who had a gift for language and a passion for the written word, and Verdery Knights, a class leader at Benjamin Banneker Academy in Brooklyn.  Their friendship rested on an appreciation for all aspects of the English language.

To compete in the prize, students write essays on a given topic that are then judged by a Selection Committee comprised of both professional writers and those who use writing extensively in their careers.  Submissions are judged on the quality of the students’ writing and on their creativity.  The winner receives a cash award of up to $2,500 and the opportunity to take advantage of a one-on-one mentorship with a professional writer.  The mentorship provides deserving students with practical writing and editorial experience culminating in a researched article that is then published under their byline.

Our hope and expectation is that such recognition will open doors by celebrating students who find joy and purpose in the act of writing.

Mohbat Prize Winners, left to right: Adetiloro Ibitoye (2019), Wirdah Khan (2018), Casey Perez (2017), Keitha-Clemon Duhaney (2016), Keturah Raymond (2015), Kafilah Ali Muhammad (2014), Aissatou Diallo (2013), Sasha Fletcher (2012)