Sarah Alli-Brown in front of her house in Chicago during March 2020. Credit: Kalyn Belsha

We’re thrilled to announce that Reveal producer Anayansi Diaz-Cortes has won a coveted Third Coast International Audio Festival award for Diary of a home-schooler.” The story was produced by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX in partnership with the nonprofit news organization Chalkbeat.

In the story, which aired during Reveal’s May 30 episode, teen Sarah Alli-Brown shares an audio diary of what her life has been like since the coronavirus closed her Chicago high school. With Alli-Brown’s single mom working two jobs as an essential worker and her twin 8-year-old brothers also home from school, Alli-Brown was thrust into the role of full-time caregiver. We hear her cooking for her family and helping her brothers with distance learning, while also juggling her own schoolwork and trying to hang onto her dream of making it into a competitive college. 

The Third Coast International Audio Festival award is one of the most prestigious in narrative storytelling, and this year’s entry pool was the largest ever, with 731 entries from 39 countries. 

Diaz-Cortes and Editor Brett Myers worked with Alli-Brown to record over a dozen hours of tape, which they chiseled into an intimate first-person story that transports listeners into her life. Reveal’s Jim Briggs and Fernando Arruda mixed this story, writing and performing its original score. “Diary of a home-schooler” was inspired by a story written and reported by Kalyn Belsha for Chalkbeat, and Belsha and Chalkbeat collaborated with Reveal to bring the radio story to life. 

Full credits include: diarist Alli-Brown, producer Diaz-Cortes, editor Myers, original score and sound design by Briggs and Arruda, contributing reporting by Belsha, collaboration head Sumi Aggarwal, collaboration head Sarah Darville, executive producer Kevin Sullivan and host Al Letson. 

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