Photo by Michael Barrett
Hannah Herrin credits her family move to a Navy base in Maryland as her preparation to become a writer, leading to National Gold Medals in Poetry and Flash Fiction in the Scholastic Writing Awards.
“I think spending the first years of my life outside the South is a lot of what prepared me to become a writer when I came home.”
Hannah, a student at Jackson Prep, grew up wanting to be anything and everything, whether it was an astronaut, an artist or a marine conservationist.
“Writing has always been an act of independence – my desire to write was in part born from the same place as my desire to read. Reading, and subsequently writing, allowed me that freedom of fluidity.”
Throughout her life, Hannah has looked to the teachers she has had as the basis for her success.
“I’ve been lucky to have teachers who have encouraged and accommodated my love of reading and writing throughout my educational career – in elementary school, pretending not to notice me reading during the math lesson and in secondary school, doing everything they could to get me through physics and trigonometry in one piece so that I could continue to thrive in the areas I was so passionate about.”
After years of doubt and confusion, Hannah finally realized she knew all along what she wanted to become.
“It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I began to understand my identity as a writer along those lines, that I began to realize that I could never be so happy or satisfied doing anything else.”
Working on the Jackson Prep literary magazine Earthwinds, Hannah became confident in her writing and her future.
“I owe most of the credit for this revelation and confidence to the years I spent editing Earthwinds. My experience working and learning in a creative community is what really helped me come into my own. I think it shaped my life more directly than anything else I’ve ever experienced – now, I feel as if I can be happy and independent and successful all at the same time.”
In February, Hannah was named a regional American Voices Medal nominee and won gold and silver keys for her writing portfolios in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. In June, she traveled to New York to participate in an Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall.
“I think that was for sure the highlight of my creative life so far. The whole experience was a dream. It was very encouraging to be rewarded for something I feel like I pour so much of my life into.”
When it comes to the future, Hannah will be attending Kenyon College, a private liberal arts college in Gambier, Ohio in the fall to study English with a concentration in creative writing.