Gaithersburg, Md. – June 2, 2021 – Arushi Singh, a senior at Richard Montgomery High School and a Rockville, Md., resident, was awarded first prize in the 2021 Gaithersburg Book Festival poetry contest for high school students for her poem "Leaking Memories."

Second prize went to Potomac, Md., resident Caroline Dinh, a senior at Richard Montgomery High School for "Social Cues." Charlotte Lucas, a Bethesda, Md., resident and freshman at Walter Johnson High School, received third prize for "Or."

The Fan Favorite, as decided by votes on the Gaithersburg Book Festival website, went to Holly Keegan, a junior at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart from Potomac, Md., for her poem, “Rest.”

Prizes for first-, second- and third-place winners, provided courtesy of Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County, are $250, $100 and $50, respectively. The fan favorite winner will receive $25.

Local poet Sandra Beasley, who judged the contest, announced the top three winners in a video posted on the Gaithersburg Book Festival YouTube channel.

“I was so impressed by the imagination, the formal dexterity, just the talent of the poems I had in front of me,” Beasley said of the 12 finalists' poems. “I am quite confident that you all are the next generation of poets we'll be talking about, and that's going to be a really good conversation.”

To be eligible for the poetry contest, students had to be enrolled in grades 9-12 at a public or private school, or be in a homeschool program, for the 2020-21 school year. Additionally, entrants had to reside in Maryland, Virginia or the District of Columbia.

About the Gaithersburg Book Festival

Founded in 2010, the Gaithersburg Book Festival is a celebration of books, writers and literary excellence. It is one of the premier literary events in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The 2021 Festival took place virtually throughout the month of May, and featured author appearances, panel discussions and writing workshops. Programming is available on the Gaithersburg Book Festival YouTube channel. The 2021 Festival was sponsored in part by The David and Mikel Blair Family Foundation. The Gaithersburg Book Festival also hosts author events in Montgomery County throughout the year as a way to encourage continued appreciation for all things literary. For more information please visit www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org, follow us on Twitter @GburgBookFest or like us on Facebook.

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