JUDGE: TONY MEDINA
Born in the South Bronx and raised in the Throgs Neck Housing Projects, Tony Medina is a poet, graphic novelist, editor, biographer, and author of award-winning books for children and young adults. A two-time winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People (DeShawn Days and I and I, Bob Marley), Medina is the author/editor of twenty-one books for adults and young readers, the most recent of which are I and I, Bob Marley (2009), My Old Man Was Always on the Lam (2010), finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, Broke on Ice (2011), An Onion of Wars (2012), The President Looks Like Me & Other Poems (2013) and Broke Baroque (2013), finalist for the Julie Suk Book Award. He has received the Langston Hughes Society Award; the first African Voices Literary Award; and was nominated for Pushcart Prizes for his poems, “Broke Baroque” and “From the Crushed Voice Box of Freddie Gray.” Medina, whose poetry and prose appears in over 100 anthologies and literary journals, is the first Professor of Creative Writing at Howard University. In 2016, Jacar Press of North Carolina published his anthology, Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky, on police violence and brutalities perpetrated on people of color. In 2017, Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, published Medina’s debut graphic novel, I Am Alfonso Jones, a Barnes and Noble Bestseller, and Penny Candy Books of Oklahoma published Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy (2018), which received the 2019 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award honor and an Arnold Adoff Poetry Award Special Recognition. Medina has read/performed his work all over the United States, as well as in Germany, France, Poland, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the Netherlands. His latest book is the poetry collection, Death, with Occasional Smiling (Indolent Books, 2020).