Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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As D.C.’s population just surpassed 700,000 people, we’re launching an essay competition to hear from people who were born and raised in the city. Tell us: “What does it mean to be a D.C. native?” To enter the contest, pitch us your thoughts in 300 words or less. (One entry per person!)

Guest editor Christina Sturdivant Sani will choose up to five personal essays that will lead an upcoming edition of Washington City Paper. In addition to our primary question, you can also share what it was like growing up in the city, why you’ve stayed this long, and what newcomers need to know about the District.

To help us decide if you’re really a native, be prepared to tell us where, specifically, you were born, what neighborhood you grew up in, and what high school you graduated from (or what school you are currently attending). Yep, it’s that serious!

After reviewing the 300-word pitches, Christina will choose finalists (without knowing the authors’ names) to write full essays. Then she’ll narrow it down to the top entrants and work with them to edit and publish their stories. Pitch us here by Jan. 21.

This post has been updated to reflect that D.C. natives of all ages can apply, and that initial pitches are due by Jan. 21.