Uma Menon is a sixteen-year-old high school student, author, and activist from Winter Park, Florida.
Her acclaimed writing has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and appeared in over three dozen different publications, including Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Rumpus, and Ruminate Magazine. She has also received the 2019 Lee Bennett Hopkins Award from the Florida State Poets Association and won the National High School Poetry Contest. Uma was named a 2019 National Poetry Month Editor’s Pick Poet by Brain Mill Press and a 2020 National YoungArts Winner in Writing. Her first chapbook was published by Zoetic Press. Her first book, Hands for Language, was shortlisted by the 2019 International Erbacce-Prize and is forthcoming from Mawenzi House Publishing in 2020.
As an activist, Uma is particularly interested in the intersection between writing and social justice. She is engaged in issues such as educational accessibility, gun control, net neutrality, and representation of marginalized communities. She is a student leader for College Board’s Access to Education Council and has worked with nationwide organizations such as DoSomething, Team Internet, and Demand Progress.
Outside of writing, Uma is the captain of her school’s debate team and a nationally-ranked debater. She is also a Winter Park Youth Leader and a Student Senator for Winter Park High School’s International Baccalaureate Program.
Uma is the 2019-2020 Youth Fellow for the International Human Rights Art Festival (IHRAF). She founded and edits IHRAF Publishes – Youth, a publication initiative for writers 21 and under.
Uma was invited to the 2019 State of the Union by US Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy in recognition of her writing on youth activism, making her one of the youngest guests in the event’s history. She was also selected to the 2020 US Senate Youth Program, where she will serve as one of two Youth Senators from each state. Uma was named by Kudumbam Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Women of Malayali Origin in 2018.