Princeton Writes honored those who entered its second annual staff essay contest at a celebratory reception at Maclean House on June 16. Before a beaming crowd of family, friends, and colleagues, the winner of this year’s Princeton Writes Prize, Bryant Blount, and honorable mention recipients April Armstrong, Violette Chamoun, and Brian Mondschein accepted their certificates, along with autographed copies of On Writing Well by the late William Zinsser ’44.

In his remarks, Princeton Writes’ director, John Weeren, praised contestants for embracing a topic — diversity — that is “so idiosyncratic and so transcendent; so central to an understanding of oneself and others that some fear to unpackage it.” But, he added, “those of you who entered this year’s contest welcomed us into your lives and, in the process, broadened and deepened our definition of what it means to be human.”

The highpoint of the afternoon occurred when Blount read his essay, which captures the nature of otherness by describing his first encounter, as a Princeton undergraduate, with Japanese society. This essay, as well as the work of his fellow honorees, can be found on the Princeton Writes Prize webpage. The reception itself was beautifully documented by local photographer David Kelly Crow, some of whose handiwork can be found below.

From left, Princeton Writes Director John Weeren, Dean of Undergraduate Students Kathleen Deignan, Princeton Writes Prize recipient Bryant Blount, and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun.From left, Princeton Writes Director John Weeren, Dean of Undergraduate Students Kathleen Deignan, Princeton Writes Prize recipient Bryant Blount, and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun.

From left, Princeton Writes Director John Weeren, honorable mention recipient April Armstrong, and University Librarian Karin Trainer.From left, Princeton Writes Director John Weeren, honorable mention recipient April Armstrong, and University Librarian Karin Trainer.

From left, Princeton Writes Director John Weeren, honorable mention recipient Violette Chamoun, and Vice President for University Services Chad Klaus.

From left, Princeton Writes Director John Weeren, honorable mention recipient Violette Chamoun, and Vice President for University Services Chad Klaus.

From left, Princeton Writes Director John Weeren, honorable mention recipient Brian Mondschein, and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun.

From left, Princeton Writes Director John Weeren, honorable mention recipient Brian Mondschein, and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun.

The reading.

Bryant Blount, reading his essay.

From left, honorees Brian Mondschein, Violette Chamoun, Bryant Blount, and April Armstrong.

From left, honorees Brian Mondschein, Violette Chamoun, Bryant Blount, and April Armstrong.