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Madam First Lady

Michelle Obama to have literary award renamed in her honor

Penguin Random House announced Wednesday that it would be renaming one of its most prestigious awards in honor of former first lady Michelle Obama

The Michelle Obama Award for Memoir will be part of the publishing agency's Creative Writing Awards program. In a statement, Penguin said the award will recognize one talented high school senior with a $10,000 scholarship for an "original literary composition in English in the category of memoir/personal essay."

Penguin's Creative Writing Awards are given out in five different writing categories, and Obama will now stand alongside awards named for Amanda Gorman and Maya Angelou. The program has awarded more than $2.8 million in scholarships to creative writers. 

Known for promoting a variety of causes during her time in the White House, Obama has become a prolific writer herself since her husband left office. Her memoir, Becomingwas released in 2018 and chronicled her youth and upbringing in Chicago through her time as the first lady. The book became wildly popular, topping best-seller lists around the world and selling more than 17 million copies, which The Associated Press notes is "by far the most popular book by a modern White House resident."

"After publishing my memoir Becoming, I've learned that writing your own story can be a powerful tool." Obama said in a statement to Penguin. "That's why I am so excited about this new award, and I can't wait to read what this next generation of young writers will share with us all."