Geri Kayingo Receives Reuben Jackson Award


Reuben Jackson, award

Geri Kayingo Receives Reuben Jackson Award

Congratulations to Geri Kayingo, 16, of Towson, Maryland, the recipient of the Reuben Jackson Award. This award is given by the staff and board of Young Writers Project in memory of Reuben, our longtime friend, mentor, and board member who passed away Feb. 16, 2024, at age 67. 
Geri Kayingo school photo
Geri Kayingo

We are so pleased to offer this award to Geri, who shares the spirit of creativity, kindness, and generosity that Reuben brought to YWP over his many years with us. 

With this recognition, we are honoring a young poet who continues Reuben's legacy at YWP through her own poetry and encouragement of other young writers and artists. She will receive a $250 award and a recent collection of Reuben's poetry, Scattered Clouds (Alan Squire Publishing, 2019).

Geri, whose YWP username is Geri on the site, is a thoughtful, observant poet who came to know Reuben through his online poetry workshops with YWP. Each workshop was meaningful to her, she said, because Reuben "was engaged, generous, and genuinely cared about what I had to say. His positive, encouraging energy created a safe space to share my writing.

"He had creative prompts that sparked my imagination. Oftentimes, when a poem really moved Reuben, he would close his eyes, nod his head, and ask the writer to repeat it. This made me feel special, and I knew he valued my contributions regardless of how much experience I had."