2010 Finalist Judges


Kenneth A. McClaney
KEN MCCLANE, is the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Literature and a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University, where he has taught English, African American literature, and Creative Writing for 34 years. He is the author of eight poetry collections, Out Beyond the Bay; Moons and Low Times; At Winter's End; To Hear the River; A Tree Beyond Telling: Poems Selected and New; These Halves Are Whole; and Take Five: Collected Poems, 1971-1986. In 1992 he published a volume of personal essays, Walls: Essays 1985-1990. A new essay collection, Color: Essays on Race, Family, and History appeared in 2009 from the University of Notre Dame Press. The University of Notre Dame Press reprinted Walls, with a new introduction, in 2010.

Professor McClane's poetry and essays have appeared in many anthologies, including The Story and Its Writer, The Best African American Essays; The Art of the Essay; Bearing Witness: Selections from African-American Autobiography in the Twentieth Century; The Anatomy of Memory; Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Woman in Literature; The Jazz Poetry Anthology; The New Cavalcade; You've Got to Read This; and Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African-American Poetry. His essay "Walls” was selected for The Best American Essays 1988 and The Best American Essays (college edition) volumes. McClane’s introduction to James Baldwin's novella, "Sonny's Blues,” was broadcast on PBS in its GED Connection Series and he appears in a recent BBC documentary on Vladimir Nabokov. In 2002 he received the Distinguished Prose Award from the Antioch Review for his essays published in the magazine since 1985; in 2010, his collection Color: Essays on Race, Family, and History was awarded the Gold Medal for the best book of essays published in 2009 by Foreword Reviews Magazine.

Mr. McClane has been a visiting professor at Colby College, Williams College, where he was a Henry Luce Visiting Professor, Washington University (St. Louis), and a Dr. Martin Luther King Distinguished Professor at the University of Michigan and at Wayne State University. He has served on the Board of Trustees of Adelphi University, and on the Board of Directors of the Tompkins County Library Foundation, the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, the New York Council for the Humanities, and the Tompkins County Community Foundation, where he was a Founding Board Member.


Cullen Murphy CULLEN MURPHY is the editor-at-large of Vanity Fair magazine. He was previously, for two decades, the managing editor of The Atlantic Monthly. Before that he was a senior editor at The Wilson Quarterly. In addition to his work as a magazine editor Murphy for twenty-five years wrote the comic strip Prince Valiant, which was drawn by his father, the illustrator John Cullen Murphy. Murphy’s articles and essays have appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic Monthly, where he wrote a monthly column, Harper’s, The New Republic, Slate, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, American Heritage, and Smithsonian. His books include The Word According to Eve (1998), about women and the Bible; Just Curious (1995), a collection of essays; and Rubbish! (1992, with William L. Rathje), an anthropological study of garbage. He is currently at work on a book about the Inquisition.

Professional activities aside, Murphy is involved in the work of many organizations. He is a member of the board of trustees of Amherst College, and serves on the board of the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Emily Dickinson Museum, and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. He is also on the editorial board of The American Scholar and of OnEarth, the magazine of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and he is a member of the usage panel of The American Heritage Dictionary.

In 2008 Murphy's Are We Rome? was the runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction.


Katherine Vaz KATHERINE VAZ a Briggs-Copeland Fellow in Fiction at Harvard University and a 2006-7 Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, is the author of two novels, Saudade (St. Martin's Press), a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers selection, and Mariana in six languages and picked by the Library of Congress as one of the Top 30 International Books of 1998. Her collection Fado & Other Stories won the 1997 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and Our Lady of the Artichokes won the 2007 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. Her fiction and essays have appeared in numerous magazines and her children's stories has been published in anthologies from Viking and Simon & Schuster.
Nancy Zafris NANCY ZAFRIS is the Series Editor of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. In this capacity she selects two winning books to be published each year. Before this she was the fiction editor of The Kenyon Review for nine years. She has published over two dozen short stories and three books of fiction: The People I Know, which won the Flannery O’Connor award, The Metal Shredders, a New York Times notable book of the year, and Lucky Strike, a Book Sense Notable. She has won individual artist’s grants from the Massachusetts Arts Council, the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and the Ohio Arts Council. She has been awarded two National Endowment for the Arts grants and has served as a judge on the NEA literature panel. As a Senior Fulbright Fellow, she taught at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. She has also taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Centre College, and The Ohio State University. She is the co-director of the Kenyon Review Summer Writers’ Workshop for Adults, where she teaches each June.


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