What's an American?

Feb 26, 2005

As someone who still writes about my his Peace Corps experience, this news item via the NC Peace Corps Association list caught my attention:

Vanity Fair has just announced the winner of the 2004 Vanity Fair Essay Contest, which asked readers to “explain the character of the American people to the rest of the world.” The grand prize goes to Liz Richardson, 23, of Raleigh, North Carolina, for her essay entitled “To Sleep, Perchance,” in which she reflects on her time in the Peace Corps, her difficulty explaining the American character to the residents of the African village where she lives, and her personal impressions of who the typical American is and strives to be. Liz, who is just home, was a water extension volunteer in Burkina Faso. Richardson will receive a $15,000 prize, a Montblanc Meisterstück 149 fountain pen, and a week-long trip to the Santa Maddalena writers’ colony, in Tuscany. The grand-prize essay will be published in the April 2005 issue of Vanity Fair, which received nearly 4,000 entries. Peace Corps Writers will link the essay next month.

Anton Zuiker

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