Miss Ironfist rocks the world

…or, at least, the tiny corner of it known as Jackson, Mississippi. In a few weeks, she’ll conquer Africa.

Casey “Ironfist” Parks is a 23-year-old journalism grad student who graduated from my alma mater, worked for my favorite local alt-weekly, and generally kicked ass in this town. I don’t know her well enough to say that we’re close buddies, but I’ve been out drinking with her, ran into her socially a lot over the years, and we both like Sleater-Kinney way too much. (When I pronounced the band’s name correctly–SLAY-ter, not SLEET-er–at a party, Casey leaned over and whispered, beer breath and all, to me, “I’m so glad you finally got it right.”) I last ran into her at a coffeehouse in May 2004, where she tried enthusiastically to get me to read Jeanette Winterson’s Lighthousekeeping.

So, I’ve got a tenuous reason to feel proud of her. I’ll take it.

New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof announced a contest asking for essays from young journalists. The writer with the best essay would accompany him on a two-week reporting trip to Africa, and would blog about the experience for the Times and for a subsidiary of MTV.

Over 3800 applicants submitted essays. Casey won.

The Columbia Missourian reports on it, as does the Jackson Free Press. See here and here for great samples of Casey’s work for the JFP. Go here to read her winning essay for the Times.

As Casey herself has pointed out, another Mississippian was among the contest’s finalists. Turns out we’re not all hicks.

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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One Response to Miss Ironfist rocks the world

  1. gorjus says:

    I think we did just fine in that contest! Ms. Parks is going to do great things–and I have to admit that I was tremendously proud that she claimed Jackson as her home town.
    (I say Slay-ter, but I always worry I’m getting it wrong).

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