Judges

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Adult Short Story Judges

Caroline Bock is the author of Carry Her Home, winner of the 2018 Fiction Prize from the Washington Writers’ Publishing House, and 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 The City College of New York and lives in Potomac.


Tara Campbell is a Washington, D.C.-based writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, and fiction editor at Barrelhouse, a nonprofit focused on literacy. She earned an MFA from American University in 2019, and has received several awards from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Her work has been published in Booth, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Masters Review, Wigleaf and Strange Horizons. She’s the author of a novel, TreeVolution, and four collections: Circe’s BicycleMidnight 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 novel Famous Adopted People from Unnamed Press. Her work has appeared in Literary Hub, the Los Angeles Review of BooksThe MarginsBanana Writers and other publications. She is the editor of Bloom, and writes book reviews and a column, “Alice in Wordland,” for the Washington Independent Review of Books.


High School Short Story Judges

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


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


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


Adult and High School Essay Judges

Samuel Ashworth is a novelist, journalist and teacher. He is a regular contributor of feature pieces to national publications, and his journalism, fiction and criticism have appeared in Eater, The Washington Post Magazine, Longreads, Elemental, Hazlitt and many others. He wrote the semiregular “Dispatches from the Swamp” column for The Rumpus, and is an assistant fiction editor 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 in D.C.


Kyoko Mori is the author of three nonfiction books (The Dream of Water, Polite Lies, and Yarn) and four novels (Shizuko’s Daughter; One Bird; Barn Cat; and Stone Field, True Arrow). Her essays and stories have appeared in The Best American Essays, Harvard Review, The American Scholar, Colorado Review, Conjunctions and others. She teaches nonfiction 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, D.C., with her cats, Miles and Jackson.


Kathleen Seiler Neary lives in Kensington and is an associate editor at Bethesda Magazine. She has been a writer and editor for more than 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.