2017 National Book Awards Judges


Alexander Chee Alexander Chee is the author of the novels The Queen of the Night and Edinburgh. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic, an editor at large at VQR, and a critic at large at the Los Angeles Times. His work has appeared in Best American Essays 2016, The New York Times Book Review, and Tin House, among others. He is an associate professor of English at Dartmouth College.
Photo credit: M. Sharkey

Dave Eggers Dave Eggers is the author of many books, including Heroes of the Frontier, The Circle, and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco. McSweeney’s also publishes Voice of Witness, a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. Eggers is the co-founder of 826 National, a network of seven tutoring centers around the country and ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization designed to connect students with resources, schools and donors to make college possible.

Annie PhilbrickAnnie Philbrick is the owner of independent bookstores Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut and Savoy Bookshop & Café in Westerly, Rhode Island. She serves on the board of the American Booksellers Association (ABA), has twice chaired the ABA’s Indies Introduce program that highlights debut authors, and last year was a judge for the prestigious Kirkus Prize for Fiction.  
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Karolina WaclawiakKarolina Waclawiak is a screenwriter and author of two critically acclaimed novels, How to Get into the Twin Palms and The Invaders. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, VQR, and other notable publications. Formerly an editor of the Believer, she is now Deputy Culture Editor at BuzzFeed News.
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Jacqueline WoodsonJacqueline Woodson is The New York Times bestselling author of Another Brooklyn, which was a 2016 fiction finalist for the National Book Award, NAACP Image Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a #1 Indie Pick. Her 2014 bestseller, Brown Girl Dreaming, won the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature and was the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award, and the Sibert Honor Award. Woodson was named Young People’s Poet Laureate (2015-2017) by the Poetry Foundation. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a three-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner.
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Steve Bercu Steve Bercu is the CEO of BookPeople in Austin Texas. He has served on the American Booksellers Association’s Board of Directors where he was its immediate past President.  He has kept his focus on non-fiction literature since his days as a history major in college.  

Jeff ChangJeff Chang is the Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University. His books include Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, and Who We Be: The Colorization of America (published in paperback in January 2016 under the new title, Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post Civil Rights America). His latest, We Gon' Be Alright: Notes On Race and Resegregation, was published in September 2016. His next book will be a biography of Bruce Lee.
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Ruth FranklinRuth Franklin is a book critic and biographer. Her most recent book, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2016 and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography, and the Plutarch Award. Her reviews and essays appear often in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. Her first book, A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction, was a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

Paula GiddingsPaula J. Giddings is the Elizabeth A. Woodson Professor, Africana Studies, at Smith College. She has published four books, including Ida, A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching--winner of the Los Angeles Times Prize in Biography and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is a member of PEN and serves on the board of the Authors League Fund and the Nation Institute.

Valeria LuiselliValeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City in 1983 and grew up in South Africa. A novelist and an essayist, her work has been translated into many languages. In 2014, Faces in the Crowd was the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and was a National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 honoree. The Story of My Teeth was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the 2015 Los Angeles Times Prize for Best Fiction.
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Nick FlynnNick Flynn is the recipient of fellowships and awards from organizations, including the Guggenheim Foundation, PEN, and The Library of Congress. His poems, essays and non-fiction have appeared in many venues, including The New Yorker, the Paris Review, and National Public Radio’s “This American Life”. He is currently a professor on the creative writing faculty at the University of Houston, where he is in residence each spring. In 2015 he published his ninth book, My Feelings (Graywolf), a collection of poems. His work has been translated into fifteen languages.
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Jane MeadJane Mead is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently World of Made And Unmade (Alice James). She’s the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and a Lannan Foundation Completion Grant. For many years Poet-in-Residence at Wake Forest University, she now manages her family’s ranch in northern California and teaches as a visiting writer on occasion, most recently at The University of Iowa Writers Workshop. 
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Gregory PardloGregory Pardlo's Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His first collection Totem won the American Poetry Review/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is also the author of a memoir in essays forthcoming from Knopf. Pardlo is on the faculty of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at Rutgers University-Camden. He lives with his family in Brooklyn.
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Richard Siken Richard Siken is a poet, painter, filmmaker, and an editor at Spork Press. His book Crush won the 2004 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize, selected by Louise Glück. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Thom Gunn Award. His most recent book is War of the Foxes (Copper Canyon Press).

Monica YounMonica Youn is the author of Blackacre (Graywolf Press), which was longlisted for the National Book Award; Barter (Graywolf Press); and Ignatz (Four Way Books), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and The New York Times Magazine, and she has been awarded fellowships from the Library of Congress and Stanford University, among other awards. A former attorney, she now teaches poetry at Princeton University.
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Young People’s Literature

Suzanna HermansSuzanna Hermans is a second generation bookseller and co-owner of Oblong Books and Music in Millerton and Rhinebeck, NY. She currently sits on the Advisory Council of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and is past president of the New England Independent Booksellers Association. She has served on the American Booksellers Association's Advisory Council, as well as their Children's Advisory Council and New Voices Committee.
Photo credit: Kathy Cassens

Brendan Kiely Brendan Kiely is The New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), The Last True Love Story, and The Gospel of Winter. His work has been published in ten languages, received a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, the Walter Dean Myers Award, the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, and was twice selected as one of the year's Best Fiction for Young Adults by the American Library Association.

Kekla MagoonKekla Magoon writes middle grade and YA novels, including The Rock and the River, How It Went Down, X: A Novel (with Ilyasah Shabazz), and the Robyn Hoodlum Adventures series. She has received an NAACP Image Award, the John Steptoe Award, two Coretta Scott King Honors, The Walter Award Honor, and was longlisted for the National Book Award. Kekla holds an M.F.A. from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she now serves on the faculty.

Meg MedinaMeg Medina is the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writers medal winner for Tía Isa Wants a Car, and a Pura Belpré winner for Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, and Mango, Abuela and Me. Her novel, Burn Baby Burn, named NAIBA’s 2016 YA Book of the Year, was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award and was a finalist for both the Kirkus Prize and the Los Angeles Book Prize. In 2014 she was named one of the CNN 10 Visionary Women in America. 

Alex SanchezAlex Sanchez has written eight novels for young people, including the groundbreaking American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults Rainbow Boys and Lambda Award-winning So Hard to Say. His novel Bait won the 2009 Florida Book Award Gold Medal for Young Adult fiction. Alex received his master’s in guidance and counseling from Old Dominion University and worked for many years as a youth and family counselor. Born in Mexico to parents of German and Cuban heritage, he now resides in Florida and on the web at www.AlexSanchez.com