Deep Center has named Demetris Alston, a seventh grader from Garrison School of Visual and Performing Arts, as Deep Laureate for fall 2018. The honor recognizes Demetris as one of Savannah's “deepest" young authors, whose creative writing is among the most skilled, original, and fearless in the county. “Who Will Fight for Us," his winning piece of historical fiction, tells the story of an African-American soldier during the Battle of Normandy.
“It is a great honor to be named Deep Laureate," said Demetris. “Deep has changed my thought process as a writer. In Deep, you can express what you want because there are no restrictions. You have the ability to write freely."
Demetris was one of the 168 students who completed Deep Center's Young Author Project in the fall of 2018, and he was voted to receive the honor by a combination of his program peers, the general public through a social-media campaign, and Deep staff members. Works created by all participating youth have been published in four separate anthologies, which are available to the public for a suggested donation of $12 each at deepcenter.org and throughout the Live Oak Public Library System. Artist Harrison Keller Pyle has illustrated the covers. All book proceeds directly support Deep's nonprofit workshops for public school youth.
“The writing of Demetris Alston perfectly embodies the depth, skill, and honesty that Deep seeks to nurture in our community's young authors," said Deep Center Executive Director Dare Dukes. “We are so proud to have partnered with Demetris on this journey and to have created a space of learning and creativity in which he has so clearly flourished."
Deep Center runs the Young Author Project in 15 of Savannah's 18 public K-8 and middle schools. All Deep young authors, selected by their teachers, participate in a rigorous series of after-school writing workshops throughout the semester. Workshops are taught by volunteer Writing Fellows, who are themselves dedicated creative writers.