The Joseph E. Mohbat Prize for Writing in Memory of Verdery Knights is awarded under the aegis of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, where it was established as the Mohbat Fund in 2011.
The Mohbat Prize symbolizes and combines Joe Mohbat’s passion for the English language, accuracy in its use, and creativity in its content and expression, with his love of mentoring aspiring young writers. The winner receives a cash award up to $2,500 and the opportunity to take advantage of a one-on-one mentorship with professional writer. The mentorship provides students with practical writing and editorial experience culminating in their producing a published article.
The Mohbat Prize was launched at Benjamin Banneker Academy in Clinton Hill Brooklyn in 2012, where Verdery Knights was in her senior year at the time of her death. The award has now been expanded to additional selected Brooklyn public high schools to reach more students who have a demonstrated interest in writing, especially journalism.
The Mohbat Prize is awarded to candidates who possess some of the very characteristics that made these two individuals stand out – curiosity, contagious spark, ability to make others feel special, empathy, passion for the written word and a certain drive and openness.
To be considered, interested students must submit a written essay on a designated topic together with a sample of their own writing. The winner of the prize is selected by a team of judges, all with significant writing backgrounds.