We are pleased to announce the winning entries for 2006:

David Wonpu
Tiffani Yanagishita First Prize, Fiction:
Graduation, 2006
by David Wonpu
(Santa Clara University)

Judge's Award of Merit, Fiction:
Like Me
by Tiffani Yee Yanagishita
(California State University, East Bay)

Bethan Eynon

First Prize, Non-Fiction/Essay: Blending
by Bethan Eynon
(Ohio University)

James Robidoux Special Prize, Non-Fiction/Essay:
Meeting the World Through the Center
by James N. Robidoux (The City College of New York CUNY)

Judge's Award of Merit, Non-Fiction:
"The Shaping of My Colorful Identity"
by Micah A. Mitchell (Ohio University) Micah Mitchell

Glenda Shank and Husband Judge's Award of Merit, Non-Fiction:
Identity Search by Glenda L. Shank
(Western Kentucky University)

Judge's Award of Merit, Non-Fiction:
Immigration, Assimilation and Identity
by Frank Spinelli (Arizona State University) Frank Spinelli

Judge's Award of Merit, Non-Fiction:
Between Homes: The Multiracial
Asian-America Experience

by Paul Cunningham
(Loyola Marymount University)
Paul Cunningham

A Note on the Judging

Though the rules allowed for only one Prize per category, the judges felt that a number of entries deserved recognition. For this reason, a Special Prize was awarded in Non-Fiction, and a limited number of Judge's Awards of Merit were also awarded. Two judges read all entries, and then discussed each entry in detail. One judge is male (Charles Hugh Smith, the contest's sponsor), the other is a female professional with a degree in English who returned to college in mid-life after raising her daughter. Both judges are in their early 50s, and each comes from a multi-ethnic family.

If the entries had been judged by readers in their 20s, the results may well have been different. Despite the inherent difficulties of judging literary works, the judges endeavored to assess each entry on these merits: relevance to the theme of American identity, elements of form and style, and the freshness, coherence and power of the work.

All entries were well-written and engaging; as a result, the judges' decisions came down to two factors: the relevance to the Contest's stated themes, and the finer points of the story and essay form--particularly the conclusion of the work. The test of relevance is straightforward: to what degree was the subject of the work specific to the multicultural milieu of the U.S.? Essays and stories which were not specific to the U.S. or American Identity were, despite their other literary merits, unable to qualify for a prize.

The judges consciously elected to recognize a range of non-fiction forms. "Meeting the World Through the Center" by James N. Robidoux exemplified the journalistic essay; Robidoux described a uniquely American venue, the array of people who interacted there and what each gained from their experience. "The Shaping of My Colorful Identity" by Micah A. Mitchell and "Identity Search" by Glenda L. Shank were intensely personal accounts of the search for and discovery of multicultural/multi-ethnic identity in America. "Immigration, Assimilation and Identity" by Frank Spinelli explored a contentious American issue with both personal and analytic insights, and "Between Homes: The Multiracial Asian-America Experience" by Paul Cunningham provided a thorough and informative academic-style review of the literature on a key aspect of American culture: mutliracial identity.

My sincere thanks to all entrants. I hope to read more of your work in the future.

If you missed this year's contest, please enter the 2007 contest (deadline will be June 30, 2007.) The 2007 contest will be open to students of both accredited two-year and four-year colleges.

Contest Rules

Prizes: Prize is $500 in each of two genres—fiction (short story) and non-fiction (essay)—and publication on www.american-identity.com.

Eligibility: There is no reading fee. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older and actively attending an accredited four-year U.S. college or university. Students are still eligible if they are living abroad or are non-U.S. citizens. Contestants must have a valid email address for notification purposes.

Purpose: The aim of the contest is to encourage emerging student writers to explore the dynamic nature of American Identity as the nation continues its transformation into a multi-ethnic and multi-heritage society. Specific subjects of inquiry or fictional development include but are not limited to:

  • How have your own heritages shaped your understanding of American Identity?
  • How have mixed-ethnicity individuals (“Hapas”) changed your understanding of American Identity?
  • How has exposure to other heritages transformed your understanding of American Identity?
  • Any other theme relating to the adaptation of the American Identity, collectively or individually, in a dynamic, mobile society of mixed heritages and mixed-ethnicity citizenry.

    Sample essay: My Own Family: The World Mixed in America

    Sample short story: Alex and Tita's Fight

    Sponsor: The contest is sponsored by writer Charles Hugh Smith, author of I-State Lines. Smith's own family is a mix of Mexican-American, Asian-American, African-American and Anglo heritages, and the contest reflects his interest in the dynamic nature of identity in America.

    How to Enter:
  • All entries require a signed entry form (HTML web page) or (PDF file).
  • Submit via U.S. Postal Service no more than one original, previously unpublished work between 1,000 and 2,500 words in length in each genre (fiction/story and non-fiction/essay); i.e. you may submit a single story or essay, or one of each.
  • Entries will not be returned, so keep a copy for your records.
  • Emailed submissions will not be accepted.
  • Entries must be written in the English language and be printed or typed in doubled-spaced or 1.5 spaced 12-point font.
  • Include the title and page number in the header of every page of each manuscript being submitted.
  • Multiple submissions are allowed—i.e., you can enter stories or essays that have been submitted to other contests or publishers.
  • Mail your completed and signed entry form and a copy of your original story and/or essay, to: American Identity, P.O. Box 4727, Berkeley CA 94704.
  • Entries must be received by June 30, 2007.
  • The winners will be notified via email and their names posted on our website no later than September 6, 2007.
  • All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Void wherever prohibited or restricted by law.
  • Reasonable care is taken, but we are not responsible for manuscripts lost in the mail.
  • All taxes (federal, state, local, and any other) are winners’ sole responsibility. Prizes are not transferable and cannot be assigned. No substitutions allowed. Prizes will be paid by check in U.S. currency.

    Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that all submissions are judged fairly. American-Identity.com subscribes to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Contest Code of Ethics.

    Author Rights
    American-Identity.com reserves the right to publish entries on the website for the lifetime of American-Identity.com, and to submit the winning entries to other print and online publications. You retain all other rights to your story or essay.

    Partially completed entries, illegible entries, and submissions with incomplete or unsigned entry forms will not be accepted. No liability is assumed for lost, late, mutilated, illegible, stolen entries, or for postage due or misdirected mail. American-identity.com is not responsible for errors in printing or electronic presentation of the Contest. If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, due to causes beyond our control which adversely affect the secrecy, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the contest, we reserve the right, at our discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the contest. In the event the contest must be terminated, a notice will be posted on our website.

    Prize Winners will be notified by email and will be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and release of liability within 14 days of notification. A noncompliance within that time period or the return of any notification as undeliverable will result in disqualification and, at our discretion, the selection of an alternate Winner. In the event of any other noncompliance with rules and conditions, prize may be awarded to an alternate winner.

    Limits of Liability
    By participating, all entrants agree that American-Identity.com and Charles Hugh Smith will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind, resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from the acceptance, possession, misuse, or use of the prize, or participation in this contest. By entering the contest the Prize Winners consent to the use of his or her name and biographical data for publicity and promotional purposes on behalf of future American Identity contests with no additional compensation or further permission (except where prohibited by law). Other entry names will not be used for subsequent mail solicitation.


    copyright © 2006 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.