The Judges

The Judges

2014 Bethesda Magazine Short Story and Essay Contest

| Published:

Adult Short Story Contest

Jim Beane is a native Washingtonian. His fiction has appeared in numerous journals as well as the crime fiction anthology D.C. Noir. He is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee for a story published in 0-Dark-Thirty. He has been a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow and teaches a fiction workshop at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. He’s continuing work on a second collection of short stories, grooming a first novel and, as always, contemplating the next new story.

Michelle Brafman has received numerous awards for her fiction, including a special mention in the 2010 Pushcart Prize anthology. Her work has appeared in Slate, Tablet, The Minnesota Review, Blackbird and elsewhere. She teaches fiction writing at the Johns Hopkins University Master of Arts in Writing Program and at George Washington University.

Elizabeth Word Gutting lives and writes in Washington, D.C. Her fiction, nonfiction and book reviews have appeared in The Washington Post, The Rumpus, The Quotable, Treehouse and Defying Gravity, an anthology of D.C. women writers published by Paycock Press. She has received fellowships from George Mason University, the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She was a 2008-2009 Fulbright Scholar. Born and raised in St. Louis, Mo., she has lived in rural Ohio, the Mission District of San Francisco and on a tangerine farm on the island of Jeju in South Korea.

Young Adult Short Story Contest

Betsy Harvey Kraft writes books for upper elementary and middle-grade readers. Focusing primarily on biography, her titles include Theodore Roosevelt: Champion of the American Spirit (Clarion Books, 2003), Sensational Trials of the 20th Century (Scholastic, 1998), and Mother Jones: One Woman’s Fight for Labor (Clarion Books, 1995). In addition to writing, she conducts writing workshops, including a one-day Smithsonian Associates seminar on writing nonfiction for young readers. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Michelle Ray was born and raised in Los Angeles. She attended Tufts University, where she studied theater history and literature. Ray teaches English at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring. Her novel, Falling for Hamlet (Poppy, 2011), is being adapted for an E! channel show called The Royals. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Silver Spring.

Aaron Taylor is an eighth-year English teacher at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 2006 with degrees in English education and theater. Rereading The Great Gatsby in college inspired him to pursue a career in education. Other favorites of his include Things Fall Apart and Eats, Shoots & Leaves. He lives with his wife, Megan, and his son, Xavier, in Olney.

Essay Contest, Adult and Young Adult

Zahara Heckscher is among the co-authors of the book How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering OverseasShe also has written numerous articles that have appeared in books and in the online travel magazine, where she serves as a contributing editor. Heckscher teaches writing at the University of Maryland at College Park. She blogs at

Lisa Page is acting director of creative writing at George Washington University and a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post’s Book WorldPlayboy, Washingtonian, Savoy and the Chicago Tribune, among other publications. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the anthologies Skin Deep: Black Women & White Women Write About Race, Gravity Dancers and Dream Me Home Safely. She is a regular guest on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show Readers’ Review.” She is a member of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation’s board of directors, and its former president.

Lisa Shroder was until recently the editor of Bethesda Magazine and previously worked as both a writer and an editor for a number of metropolitan newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Miami Herald, The Detroit News, the Orlando Sentinel and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. She also has served as a judge for the James Beard Awards. She lives in Vienna, Va., with her husband, Tom.

Back to Bethesda Magazine >>

Leading Professionals ยป

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our free newsletters

* indicates required

Dining Guide