2018 Finalist Judges

Lesley Arimah, photo credit: Emily Baxter
LESLEY NNEKA ARIMAH was born in the UK and grew up in Nigeria and wherever else her father was stationed for work. She has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award and the Caine Prize, and a winner of the African Commonwealth Short Story Prize, an O. Henry Award, and other honors. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harperís, GRANTA and has received support from The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Jerome Foundation, and MacDowell, among others. She was selected for the National Book Foundationís 5 Under 35 and her debut collection What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky won the 2017 Kirkus Prize. She lives in Minneapolis and is working on a novel about you..


Robin Hemley
ROBIN HEMLEY is the author of twelve books of nonfiction and fiction, and has won numerous awards for his writing, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, three Pushcart Prizes in both fiction and nonfiction, The Independent Press Book Award, an Editors Choice Award from The American Library Association, State Arts Council grants from Washington, North Carolina, and Illinois, The Ohioana Library Association Award, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, The MacDowell Colony, and many others. His work has been published in the U.S. Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, the Philippines, Singapore, and elsewhere.

A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, he returned to Iowa to direct the Nonfiction Writing Program for nine years before moving to Singapore to direct the writing program at Yale-NUS College and also serve as Writer-in-Residence there. He is also a Visiting Professor at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia and Professor Emeritus at The University of Iowa.


Susan Southard, photo credit: Gina Santi
SUSAN SOUTHARD holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and was a nonfiction fellow at the Norman Mailer Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her first book, Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War (Viking, 2015) received the 2016 Dayton Literary Peace Prize in Nonfiction and the Lukas Book Prize, sponsored by the Columbia School of Journalism and Harvard Universityís Nieman Foundation for Journalism. Nagasaki was also named a best book of the year by The Washington Post, The Economist, the American Library Association, and Kirkus Reviews.

Southardís work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, and Laphamís Quarterly. She now speaks across the United States and abroad, including presentations before the United Nations and at a United Nations nuclear disarmament conference in Hiroshima. Southard has taught nonfiction seminars at Arizona State Universityís Piper Writers Studio and the University of Georgia, and directed creative writing programs for incarcerated youth and at a federal prison for women outside Phoenix. She is the founder and artistic director of the Phoenix-based Essential Theatre, a professional company now in its 29th season serving marginalized communities across the Southwest.


Alan Taylor
ALAN TAYLOR is an award-winning author and teacher. He taught in the history department at Boston University from 1987 to 1994. Since 1994, he has been a professor at the University of California at Davis. In 2002 he won the University of California at Davis Award for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement and the Phi Beta Kappa, Northern California Association, Teaching Excellence Award.

Taylor has published eight books. William Cooperís Town won the Pulitzer Prize for American history in addition to the Bancroft and Beveridge prizes. The Internal Enemy won the Pulitzer Prize for American history and the Merle Curti Prize for Social History (OAH). American Colonies won the 2001 Gold Medal for Non-Fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California. The Divided Ground won the 2007 Society for Historians of the Early Republic book prize and the 2004-7 Society of the Cincinnati triennial book prize. The Civil War of 1812 won the Empire State History Prize and was a finalist for the George Washington Prize.



Implementation and ongoing support by Digital Stationery International, LLC