Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - December 10, 2010

Youth story judges

Nancy Etchemendy

Nancy Etchemendy's novels, short fiction, and poetry have appeared regularly for the past 25 years, both in the United States and abroad. Her work has earned a number of awards, including three Bram Stoker Awards (two for children's horror), a Golden Duck Award for excellence in children's science fiction, and most recently, an International Horror Guild Award for her YA horror story, "Honey in the Wound." Her fourth novel, "The Power of Un," was published by Front Street/Cricket Books in March 2000. "Cat in Glass and Other Tales of the Unnatural," her collection of short, dark fantasy for young adults, was published in 2002, also by Front Street/Cricket Books and appears on the A.L.A. Best Books for Young Adults list for 2002. She lives and works in Northern California, where she leads a somewhat schizophrenic life, alternating between unkempt, introverted writer of weird tales and requisite gracious wife of Stanford University's Provost.

Katy Obringer

Katy Obringer spent 22 years with the Palo Alto library system, which included serving as the supervisor of Palo Alto's Children's Library. Obringer also worked as an elementary school teacher for 10 years and an elementary school librarian for five years. Her love of introducing children to books continues in her retirement.

Caryn Huberman YacowitzCaryn Huberman Yacowitz writes both fiction and nonfiction for young people. Her award-winning picture books, "Pumpkin Fiesta" and "The Jade Stone, A Chinese Folktale" have been widely anthologized and adapted for the stage. She writes plays for adults and is a member of Pear Avenue Writers as well as the local Suburban Squirrel, Door#3 Comedy Sketch group where she writes, acts and directs as part of this ensemble. She also plays the role of Jane Lathrop Stanford at Stanford University functions. Her website is www.carynyacowitz.com.

Adult and young-adult story judges

Ellen Sussman

Ellen Sussman's new novel, "French Lessons," will be published by Ballantine in May 2011. She is the author of the novel "On a Night Like This," a San Francisco Chronicle Best-Seller and two anthologies, "Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia Of Sex" and "Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave," which was a New York Times Editors Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle Best-Seller. She teaches writing classes at her house in Los Altos Hills. Her website is www.ellensussman.com.

Keith Raffel

Keith Raffel grew up in Palo Alto where he watched local orchards filled with cherry and apricot trees being replaced by tilt-up buildings filled with software engineers and MBAs. His "Dot Dead: A Silicon Valley Mystery" was called "without question the most impressive mystery debut of the year" by Bookreporter.com. His second Silicon Valley-set thriller, "Smasher," was published last year. Keith still lives in Palo Alto with his wife and four children. His website is www.keithraffel.com.

Tom Parker

A well-known, local writing teacher, Tom Parker is an O. Henry Prize-winning short story writer and author of the best-selling novels, "Anna, Ann, Annie" and "Small Business." He has taught at Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, and Foothill and Canada community colleges.

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