2022 fiction judges
Sumbul Ali-Karamali earned her B.A. in English from Stanford University, her J.D. from the University of California at Davis, and her L.L.M. in Islamic law from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. She has practiced corporate law, taught Islamic law, and been a research associate at the Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law in London. Her first book, The Muslim Next Door: the Qur’an, the Media, and that Veil Thing, was published in 2008 and was a Bronze Medal Winner of the 2009 Independent Book Awards; it was also chosen for Silicon Valley Reads 2012, a 14-citywide reading program. The Muslim Next Door also appeared on the American Academy of Religion’s Islam section list as a recommended text for teaching Islam in classrooms and the Huffington Post’s Eleven Must-Read Books by Muslim Authors. Her newest book, Demystifying Shari'ah: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It's Not Taking Over Our Country, was released in August 2020.
Richard Holeton is a writer, education consultant, and Assistant Vice Provost for Learning Environments, Emeritus, at Stanford University, following a 30-year career as an educator and academic technology leader. Previously he served as Senior Director of Learning Environments, Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, and Director of Academic Computing Services, Stanford Libraries. He's taught writing at Cañada College, San Francisco State University, and Stanford, where he was a lecturer for 12 years in the English Department and writing program, helping pioneer digital and networked pedagogies and the design of technology-rich learning spaces. Holeton is author of the critically-recognized hypertext novel Figurski at Findhorn on Acid, republished in 2021 in a 20th-anniversary archival and contemporary edition by Washington State University's Electronic Literature Lab. His creative work includes other widely exhibited electronic and multimedia literature; award-winning print-based short stories; and experimental poetry. Holeton received his BA from Stanford University and MA and MFA degrees from San Francisco State University.
Elizabeth McKenzie is the author of The Portable Veblen, long listed for the 2016 National Book Award for fiction, winner of the California Book Award, and finalist for the Baileys Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology, and recorded for NPR’s Selected Shorts. Her collection, Stop That Girl, was short-listed for The Story Prize, and her novel MacGregor Tells the World was a Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and Library Journal Best Book of the year. McKenzie received her MA from Stanford in English and Creative Writing and is the senior editor of the Chicago Quarterly Review and the managing editor of Catamaran Literary Reader.
2022 nonfiction judges
John Bender is the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus. His research and teaching focus on the eighteenth century in England and France. His special concerns include the relationship of literature to the visual arts, to philosophy and science, as well as to the sociology of literature and critical theory. He is on the faculty in both English and Comparative Literature. Bender is the author of Spenser and Literary Pictorialism (1972), Imagining the Penitentiary: Fiction and the Architecture of Mind in 18th-Century England (1987), which received the Gottschalk Prize of the American Society for 18th-Century Studies, and (as co-author with Michael Marrinan) The Culture of Diagram (2010). He has published articles on Shakespeare, Piranesi, Hogarth, Hume, Goldsmith, Blake, Godwin, Laclos and on theoretical issues including fictionality and scientific inquiry. Many of his essays are collected in Ends of Enlightenment (2012). He is co-editor of The Ends of Rhetoric: History, Theory, Practice (1990), Chronotypes: The Construction of Time (1991), The Columbia History of the British Novel (1994), the Oxford World Classics edition of Tom Jones (1996), and Regimes of Description: In the Archive of the Eighteenth Century (2005).
Lori Jakiela is the author of the memoir Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe (Atticus Books), which received the 2016 William Saroyan International Prize for Literature from Stanford University, was a finalist for the Council of Literary Magazine and Small Presses Firecracker Award and the Housatonic Literary Award, and named one of 20 Not-to-Miss Books of Nonfiction of 2015 by The Huffington Post. Jakiela is the author of an essay collection, Portrait of the Artist as a Bingo Worker (Bottom Dog Press), as well as two other memoirs -- Miss New York Has Everything (Hatchette) and The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious (C&R Press). She is also the author of the poetry collection Spot the Terrorist (Turning Point) and several limited-edition poetry chapbooks. Her latest poetry chapbook, Big Fish, was published by Stranded Oak Press in 2016. A former flight attendant and journalist, she now directs the undergraduate writing program at The University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, where she is Professor of English and Creative/Professional Writing. She is a co-director of Chautauqua Institution's Summer Writers Festival, teaches community writing workshops at a yoga studio in her hometown of Trafford, Pa., and curates the Saturday Poem feature at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Scott Setrakian is the Vice Chairman of Foundry.ai, a venture studio that conceives and launches new artificial intelligence software companies. Prior to joining Foundry.ai, Scott was co-founder and Managing Director of Applied Predictive Technologies, the world’s largest AI-based SaaS company, that pioneered the concept of “Test & Learn.” Scott received an MBA and an A.B. in Human Biology from Stanford University. As a senior at Stanford he was awarded “Best Undergraduate Short Story” for The Story of the Story of Elmer. In 2016 Scott was Executive Producer of the feature film Ithaca starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, based on William Saroyan’s The Human Comedy. He sits on the Boards of Directors of the William Saroyan Foundation, Boombox Gifts, University Games, the Buena Vista Funds, and the San Francisco Zoo (emeritus).