Judges


Adult News Judges

Caroline Bock is the author of Carry Her Home, winner of the 2018 Washington Writers’ Publishing House Fiction Prize, and of the young adult novels LIE and Before My Eyes. Bock also co-edited This Is What America Looks Like: Poetry & Fiction from DC, Maryland and Virginia from the Washington Writers’ Publishing House, published in February 2021. Bock is working on a novel set in 2050. She earned an MFA in fiction. in 2011 from City College of New York and lives in Potomac.


Tara Campbell is a Washington, DC-based writer, educator, Kimbilio scholar, and fiction editor at Barrelhouse, a nonprofit focused on literacy. She received a Masters of Fine Arts from American University in 2019 and received several awards from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. His work has appeared in Booth, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Masters Review, Wigleaf, and Strange Horizons. She is the author of a novel, TreeVolution, and of four collections: Circé’s Bicycle, Midnight at the Organporium, Political AF: A Rage Collection and Cabinet of Wrath: A Doll Collection.


Alice stephens lives in Silver Spring and is the author of the Nameless Press novel Famous Adopted People. Her work has appeared in Literary Hub, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Margins, Banana Writers, and other publications. She is editor-in-chief of Bloom and writes book reviews and a column, “Alice in Wordland”, for the Washington Independent Review of Books.


High School Storytelling Judges

Monique Hogan studied creative writing at Wayne State University in Detroit, Hunter College in Manhattan, and Writer’s Center in Bethesda. She wrote for the Washington Independent Review of Books and wrote author interviews for the now defunct Montgomery County Gazette. His personal essay “Just off Mack Avenue, on the Detroit Side” was published in Belt Publishing’s The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook. She has written for B2B magazines in New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Rockville. She lives in Rockville


Garine Isassi is a recovering journalist and author of the comedy novel Start with the Backbeat. She and her family live in Gaithersburg, where she works in marketing communications, chairs workshops at the Gaithersburg Book Festival, and is a member of the Washington Writers Conference committee.


Danielle Stonehirsch lives in Silver Spring and works in Washington at First Book, a nonprofit literacy organization that provides books to children in need across the country. Her short stories have been featured in Tin House, Washington City Paper, Bethesda Magazine and more. She is working on her first novel.


Editorial judges for adults and high schools

Samuel ashworth is a novelist, journalist and teacher. He is a regular contributor to feature articles for national publications, and his journalism, fiction, and reviews have appeared in Eater, The Washington Post Magazine, Longreads, Elemental, Hazlitt and many more. He wrote the semi-regular “Dispatches from the Swamp” for The Rumpus and is associate editor of fiction at Barrelhouse magazine. He teaches creative writing at George Washington University, is a graduate of the MFA program at George Mason University, and lives in Tenleytown, DC.


Kyoko Mori is the author of three non-fiction books (The Dream of Water, Polite Lies and Yarn) and four novels (Shizuko’s Daughter; One Bird; Barn Cat; and Stone Field, True Arrow). His essays and stories have appeared in The Best American Essays, Harvard Review, The American Scholar, Colorado Review, Conjunctions and others. She teaches non-fiction writing in the MFA program at George Mason University and the low-residency MFA program at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mori lives in Washington, DC, with her cats, Miles and Jackson.


Kathleen seiler Neary lives in Kensington and is associate editor of Bethesda magazine. She has been a writer and editor for over 20 years. She has worked for magazines including George, American Photo, and Ladies’ Home Journal, and her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Parenting, and other publications.


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