Alcorn alumna LaDonna Marie Cook named National Indie Excellence Award finalist

It didn’t take long for Alcorn State University alumna and Fayette, Miss. native LaDonna Marie Cook to realize that she had a love for writing.

“When I was 12-years-old, I always had questions about life,” said Cook. “I begin to write journals and then two years later at the age of 14, my writings turned into poetry. When I was a freshman in high school, I met Nikki Giovanni and the late Maya Angelou and knew then that with my poetry, I wanted to impact the lives of others.”

Cook’s dedication to perfecting her craft has resulted in lots of success. Her latest publication, “Lessons: Shattered Pieces Being Restored,” a book that helps increase awareness of teen and adult issues in a modern era, was selected as a finalist in the Poetry category of the 9th Annual 2015 National Indie Excellence Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. Her previous self-help works include “Until Tomorrow Comes” and “Quiet Moments with God.” Over her career as a writer, she has won numerous awards that include the Humanitarian Award in 2012 and the 2014 DJ Gatsby Book Club Literary Award in Poetry.

Cook earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work from Alcorn State University.

Receiving national attention for her writing has been a humbling experience for Cook.

“It is an amazing accomplishment. It is the highest honor for my book to be a national finalist. I am so thankful for the recognition that it has received. I am so happy that I can reach more people with my mission to promote positive growth and awareness.”

Because of her national platform as an established author, Cook is able to use her outlet to bring joy and encouragement to those struggling with different circumstances in their lives.

“I’ve always wanted to be a cheerleader for others. Writing poetry has allowed me to express and explore my feelings and perceptions. I have always had compassion for others and poetry allowed me to reach those who may be going through difficult situations. I feel that I write for the people whose voices aren’t heard.”

Cook encourages those with big dreams, especially those who come from small towns, to faithfully pursue them.

“I would tell aspiring writers to write constantly. You must have your manuscript up to par in order to move forward as a writer. Start researching publishing companies that you could potentially work for. Stay true to yourself and write from the heart. Anything is possible to those who believe. No matter where you come from, look for opportunities and blessing that’s out there. Always believe in yourself and embrace the greatness that’s inside of you.”

Cook’s books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For additional information, including features on the author, visit

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