Write Michigan Contest Judges
Adult Contest (18 years and older):
Philip O. Jung
Philip is a local short story author who taught for 34 years at Grand Rapids Community College before his retirement in 2002. His collection of stories The Soul in There was the winner of the 2006 Independent Publishers Book Award ("IPPY") for Best Short Stories/Fiction. His most recent collection of stories, At a Loss, was published by Chapbook Press. Philip has also served as a judge for community poetry contests.
Beth lives in the west Michigan woods with her partner, two cats, a German Shepherd, a Dutch Shepherd, lots of wild turkeys, deer, and the occasional pileated woodpecker. For more than 25 years she has taught literature and creative writing at colleges in Michigan and Ohio. Beth also runs community workshops on memoir, comics, developing creativity, and art journaling. She enjoys exploring how words and images work together to capture stories and create meaning. The first novel in her mystery trilogy, Whacked (under the pen name Josie Gordon), won a Lambda Literary Award.
Teen Contest (12–17 years old):
Cori McCarthy studied poetry and screenwriting before earning an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of four YA novels: The Color of Rain, Breaking Sky, You Were Here, and the forthcoming Now A Major Motion Picture. Her novel in verse, Name Me America, won the middle-grade category of the 2014 Katherine Paterson Prize. Cori is a champion of inclusive fiction and lives in western Michigan.
Mae Rintala is a 7th grader at Traverse City West Middle School. When she isn't reading or writing, she is probably dancing. She loves telling stories, whether or not with words or movement. Since the Write Michigan Short Story Contest was such a great opportunity for her, she is extremely honored to be a judge this year.
Marc Tassin is the creator of the Aetaltis fantasy campaign setting and the founder of Mechanical Muse. He's written game material for both Shadowrun and Dragon Magazine, and his short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies from DAW Books. When he's not dreaming up new worlds, Marc runs the Gen Con Writer's Symposium, one of the largest and fastest growing professional events in the world for writers of speculative fiction.
Youth Contest (11 years and younger):
Camille DeBoer has been a children's bookseller for 30 years. She is the former owner of Pooh's Corner: A Children's Bookstore and currently sells books for Schuler Books and Music. A frequent guest presenter for literacy workshops, in panel discussions, and at conferences, Camille enjoys sharing children's book recommendations for all ages, discussing industry trends, and developing collaborative programs connecting books and readers. She lives in Grand Rapids with her family where she can be found reading great books, telling kids about them … and singing a little opera on the side.
Deborah Diesen is the author of the Pout-Pout Fish book series, which began with the rhyming picture book The Pout-Pout Fish and now includes three more pouty picture books, two mini-adventure board books, a lift-the-flap book, a wipe-clean alphabet/numbers workbook and several plushes. She is also the author of the picture books The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade (illustrated by Tracy Dockray), Picture Day Perfection (illustrated by Dan Santat) and the forthcoming Bloom (illustrated by Mary Lundquist). A former bookseller and reference librarian, she currently works for a small nonprofit organization in Lansing. She and her family live in Grand Ledge, Michigan.
Ryan Hipp is a published author-illustrator of books for kids from Grand Rapids, Mich., honored by the Michigan Reading Association as a recipient of the Gwen Frostic Award for work greatly impacting literacy. Ryan is the leading expert in Michigan on fostering visual literacy and creative thought, with 10 years' experience and research in the field. He actively gives presentations to aid educators to inspire and motivate young people. Ryan is dedicated to helping kids achieve their goals and overcome life's obstacles as depicted in his newest book Little Steps.
Spanish Contest (all ages):
Monica Zavala is the Manager of the Cook Library Scholars Program at the Cook Library Center. She is originally from Mexico and enjoys helping the community by engaging and empowering families to exceed their potentials and finding their North Star. When she is not working, she enjoys being with her family, traveling and dancing.