Belhaven University Names Prestigious 2024 Angie Thomas Scholarship Winner

January 24, 2024 (Jackson, Miss.) – Maya McFadden is the winner of Belhaven University’s 2024 Angie Thomas Writers Scholarship. Named in honor of best-selling author and Belhaven alumna Angie Thomas ’11, the full-ride scholarship covers tuition, room, and board at the University.

McFadden, a talented writer from Jackson, Mississippi, is the fifth student to win the prestigious award. “When I first found out that I had won the Angie Thomas scholarship, I was amazed. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, so, I submitted my works just to try, not really expecting much. Now that I’ve won, I really hope that I can work more on what I’m passionate about while earning my degree.”

Submissions were reviewed by both Thomas and Dr. Randall Smith, chair of Belhaven’s Creative Writing Department. “I’m constantly amazed at the level of talent that we see in the submissions,” said Thomas. “Maya’s work immediately blew me away. She is truly gifted, and I cannot wait to see how Belhaven University further develops her gift.”

Smith highlighted her uniquely imagined narratives which include folkloric, historical, and mythic. “Maya’s stories give flesh and voice to characters whose unordinary lives mirror the aspirations and travails of every person. Her commitment to finding and exploring identity and community through writing is an embodiment of the ideal Angie Thomas Scholar,” said Smith.

The scholarship was created to help young aspiring writers who need the extra support to make their dreams of authorship a reality.

“By giving Maya this scholarship, she can focus more on her studies and writing, which will allow her gift to thrive,” observed Thomas. “As someone who was a transfer student myself, it’s an extra honor to see this financial blessing go to someone who has decided to continue their education at Belhaven.”

The Angie Thomas Writers Scholarship is awarded to only one student each year, but the other applicants receive partial scholarships. 

Thomas is the author of New York Times best-selling novels “Concrete Rose,” “On the Come Up,” “The Hate U Give,” and “Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy.” “The Hate U Give” and “On the Come Up” were both developed into major motion pictures.