2022 National Book Awards Judges


2022 National Book Awards Judges

FictionNonfictionPoetryTranslated LiteratureYoung People’s Literature


Ben Fountain author photo

Ben Fountain (Chair) is the author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a Finalist for the National Book Award. His work has received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, the PEN/Cerulli Award for Excellence in Sports Writing, and a Whiting Award, among other honors. He lives in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo credit: Thorne Anderson)


Dr. Brandon Hobson (Photo credit: Brandon Hobson)

Brandon Hobson is the author of The Removed. His novel, Where the Dead Sit Talking, was a Finalist for the National Book Award, among other distinctions. His short stories have won a Pushcart Prize and appeared in The Best American Short Stories anthology, McSweeney’s, Conjunctions, NOON, and elsewhere. Dr. Hobson teaches creative writing at New Mexico State University and in the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. (Photo credit: Brandon Hobson)


Pam Houston author photo. (Photo credit Mike Blakemen)

Pam Houston is the author of two novels, two collections of short stories, and the memoir Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country. She is also the co-author of Air Mail: Letters of Politics Pandemics and Place, among other books. She teaches creative writing at the University of California, Davis and the Institute of American Indian Arts. She cofounded the literary nonprofit Writing by Writers, and is fiction editor at Terrain.org. She lives at 9,000 feet near the headwaters of the Rio Grande. (Photo credit: Mike Blakemen)


Dana Johnson author photo. Photo credit: Ellie Partovi

Dana Johnson is the author of the short story collection In the Not Quite Dark. She is also the author of Break Any Woman Down, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the novel Elsewhere, California. Both books were nominees for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Paris Review, and Callaloo, among othersand in several anthologies. Johnson is a professor of English at the University of Southern California. (Photo credit: Ellie Partovi)


Michelle Malonzo. (Photo credit: Kyle Hague)

Michelle Malonzo is currently the Head of Operations at The Word, A Storytelling Sanctuary and was previously a buyer at Changing Hands Bookstore in Arizona. Michelle has served on the board of the American Booksellers Association (ABA), as well as the ABA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and the board of the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association. She received the 2021 BIPOC Bookseller Award for Leadership as well as a 2020 Bookselling Without Borders Fellowship, and was a judge for the 2019 Kirkus Fiction Prize. (Photo credit: Kyle Hague)


Dr. Carol Anderson. (Photo credit: Emory Photo)

Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University. She is the author of several award-winning books, including the New York Times bestseller White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide; One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying our Democracy, which was Longlisted for the National Book Award; and The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America. Dr. Anderson earned her PhD in history from The Ohio State University. (Photo credit: Emory Photo)

Melissa Febos. (Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan)

Melissa Febos is the author of Whip Smart; Abandon Me; Girlhood, a national bestseller and National Book Critics Circle finalist; and Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative. She is a recipient of the Jeanne Córdova Prize from Lambda Literary and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, MacDowell, and other awards. She is an associate professor at the University of Iowa. (Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan)

Thor Hanson. (Photo credit: Kathleen Ballard Photography)

Thor Hanson is the author of six books, including Feathers, Buzz, The Triumph of Seeds, and Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid. His work has been translated into a dozen languages and has earned many accolades, including the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, and three Pacific Northwest Book Awards. He is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Switzer Fellow, and winner of the John Burroughs Medal. (Photo credit: Kathleen Ballard Photography)

Dr. Janet Webster Jones (Phoot credit: Noah Stephens)

Janet Webster Jones, a retired public school educator and the daughter of a public librarian, is the founder of Source Booksellers. Established in 1989 and based in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, Source Booksellers is a unique niche of nonfiction books that serves a wide community of readers near and far. (Photo credit: Noah Stephens)

Oscar Villalon. (Photo credit: Oscar Villalon)

Oscar Villalon (Chair) is the managing editor at ZYZZYVA. His writing has been published in Stranger’s Guide, Freeman’s, The Believer, Literary Hub, and other publications. A former book editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, he lives with his family in San Francisco. (Photo credit: Oscar Villalon)


Kwame Dawes author photo. (Photo credit: El Secretario)

Kwame Dawes (Chair) is the author of 22 books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. He is a George W. Holmes University Professor at the University of Nebraska, Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and Glenna Luschei Editor-in-Chief of Prairie Schooner. His honors include an Emmy Award, the Forward Prize for Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing, and the Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry. (Photo credit: El Secretario)

Juan Felipe Herrera author photo. (Photo credit: Carlos Puma)

Juan Felipe Herrera is the son of farmworkers, a former United States Poet Laureate and California Poet Laureate, and a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. His awards include the National Book Critics Circle Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Los Angeles Times Robert Kirsch Award, two Latino Hall of Fame Awards, and a Pushcart Prize. His poem “Sunriders” was engraved on NASA’s Lucy spacecraft launched in 2021. He has written over 30 books across genres. (Photo credit: Carlos Puma)

Keetje Kuipers. (Photo credit: Gabriella Graceffo)

Keetje Kuipers is the author of three collections: Beautiful in the Mouth, The Keys to the Jail, and All Its Charms, which includes poems published in both The Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. Previously a Wallace Stegner Fellow, Keetje currently lives with her wife and children in Missoula where she is a Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Montana. She is Editor of Poetry Northwest and a board member at the National Book Critics Circle. (Photo credit: Gabriella Graceffo)

January Gill O'Neil. (Photo credit: John Andrews)

January Gill O’Neil is the author of Rewilding, Misery Islands, and Underlife, all published by CavanKerry Press. She is the former executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and the John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. Currently, she is an associate professor at Salem State University and serves on the boards of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, Mass Poetry, and Montserrat College of Art. (Photo credit: John Andrews)

Mai Der Vang. (Photo credit: Andre Yang)

Mai Der Vang is the author of Yellow Rain, a finalist for the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. Her first book Afterland was Longlisted for the National Book Award, a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and selected for the Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman Award. The recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship, she teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at California State University, Fresno. (Photo credit: Andre Yang)


Nick Buzanski has been a bookseller at Green Apple Books in San Francisco and Strand Bookstore in Manhattan. He is currently the General Manager of Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, NY. He was a judge for the 2020 Kirkus Nonfiction Prize and is an instructor for the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association’s Store & Operations Management Professional Bookseller Certification Program. (Photo credit: Nick Buzanski)

Veronica Esposito has worked in literary translation for well over a decade as an editor, publicist, mentor, and advocate. The author of four books, she has published with the New York Times, Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, and dozens of others. She is currently pursuing licensure as a mental health clinician, specializing in trauma and supporting transgender individuals. (Photo credit: Anita Sagastegui)

Ann Goldstein (Chair) is a former editor at The New Yorker. She has translated works by Elena Ferrante, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Elsa Morante, among others, and is the editor of The Complete Works of Primo Levi in English. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and awards from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. (Photo credit: E. Tammy Kim)

Rohan Kamicheril is a writer, editor, and cook. He is the founder of Tiffin, a website dedicated to regional Indian cooking, and The Tiffin Club, its companion dinner series. (Photo credit: Rohan Kamicheril)

Russell Scott Valentino is an author, editor, and translator. His publications have appeared in the New York Times, The American Poetry Review, Modern Fiction Studies, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. He has served as Editor at The Iowa Review, President of the American Literary Translators Association, and senior editor at Autumn Hill Books. He teaches in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures and the Department of Comparative Literature at Indiana University Bloomington. (Photo credit: Yasuko Akiyama)


Becky Albertalli. (Photo credit: Decisive Moment Events)

Becky Albertalli is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of young adult novels, including Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda which was Longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, won the William C. Morris Award, and is now a major motion picture, Love, Simon. She lives with her family in Atlanta. (Photo credit: Decisive Moment Events)

Joseph Bruchac

Joseph Bruchac is a citizen of the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation, who has authored over 170 books and has appeared in publications from Parabola and National Geographic to The Paris Review. His experiences include teaching in Ghana and running a college program inside a maximum-security prison. Time Magazine listed his novel Code Talker as one of the 100 Best YA books of All Time. Dr. Bruchac’s novel in verse, Rez Dogs, was one of NPR’s Best Books of 2021. (Photo credit: Trish Miller)

Meghan Dietsche Goel has been the Children’s Book Buyer & Programming Director for BookPeople in Austin, TX since 2005 and serves as the programming director for the Texas Teen Book Festival, which she helped launch in 2009. She also writes about books and bookselling for Publisher’s Weekly’s “ShelfTalker.” She has served as President of the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association and worked in editorial at HarperCollins Children’s Books. (Photo credit: Samir Goel)

Jewell Parker Rhodes (Chair) is the award-winning author of several books for adults and young people including the New York Times bestsellers Ghost Boys and Black Brother, Black Brother. Dr. Rhodes is the Founding Artistic Director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, and the Virginia G. Piper Endowed Chair and Narrative Studies Professor at Arizona State University. (Photo credit: Jay Watson)

Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning author of the young adult novels We Light Up the Sky; Never Look Back, a Pura Belpré Honor book; Dealing in Dreams; and The Education of Margot Sanchez, as well as the Goldie Vance series for middle-grade readers and the graphic novel, Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and Elle, among others. Lilliam lives in Los Angeles. (Photo credit: Michael Mayson)