Anthropology Major Wins $61,062 Writing Prize
English majors take note: you have some stiff competition. This year’s largest undergraduate literary prize in the country went to Lisa Jones—an anthropology major.
Jones was awarded $61,062, the amount of the 2011 Sophie Kerr Prize, for her essays and journal entries about a life-changing trip to Tanzania and life in a small town in the Maryland countryside.
The annual prize is given to the Washington College (MD) senior who demonstrates the greatest “ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor.” The award is named for a prolific American writer of the 1930s and ’40s, who wrote 23 novels and more than 100 stories, and left more than $500,000 to the college when she died in 1965.
Kathryn Moncrief, the chair of the Sophie Kerr Committee, which was made up of 13 English professors, had this to say about Jones’s work: “She takes a place that means a lot to her, whether her hometown or a country in Africa, and, through a constellation of anecdotes and the powers of description, makes that place come alive for others. Her writing was intimate, honest and vivid.”
For the first time since the inaugural award in 1968, the Sophie Kerr Committee also selected four finalists for the prize: Maggie Farell, Dan McCloskey, Insley Smullen and Joe Yates.