American Students Take Center Stage at the AACUPI Literary Award

In September 2023 AACUPI (Association of American College and University Programs in Italy) and the Gabinetto Scientifico Letterario G.P. Vieusseux (the prestigious institute established in Florence by Giovan Pietro Vieusseux in 1820) launched a new literary prize. Reserved to foreign students attending Florence-based AACUPI schools, the prize was titled “Grand Tour: Stories about Florence and Tuscany.” From last fall until late March, many US students sent their short stories (in English with Italian translation) to the scholars appointed to evaluate them. The jury consisted of the following members: Fabrizio Ricciardelli (AACUPI), Michele Rossi (Vieusseux), Franco Zabagli (Vieusseux), Anna Gravina (Kent State University), Nicoletta Peluffo (New York University), and Stefano U. Baldassarri (ISI Florence). Their unanimous decision was to assign the award to “Uccellacci”, an original and thought-provoking short story by Florida State University student Susanna Mendenhall. The jury also awarded honorable mentions to Arianna Jobst (ISI Florence) and Hans Romine (California State University) for their compositions (titled “I Don’t Know/Non Lo So” and “Journal/Diario di Firenze,” respectively). The award-winning short story will be published (both in its original English version and in the Italian translation that the jury assigned to Prof. Baldassarri) in the next issue of the Vieusseux institute journal “Nuova Antologia.” During the prize-giving ceremony, Prof. Baldassarri (Director, ISI Florence) gave this short speech.