Short Story Contest Judges

Adult and Young Adult Story Judges

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 Cañada community colleges.
Ellen Sussman

Ellen Sussman's "Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave" (W.W. Norton, 2007) was a New York Times Editors Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Seller. She's also the author of "On a Night Like This" (Warner Books, 2004). She teaches private writing classes. Her website is

Keith Raffel

A long-time resident of Palo Alto, Keith Raffel has watched local orchards filled with cherry and apricot trees being replaced by tilt-up buildings filled with software engineers and MBA’s. He himself founded the award-winning start-up UpShot Corporation which was purchased by Siebel Corporation in 2003.  With the publication of Dot Dead: A Silicon Valley Mystery, he's embarked on a career as an author where he finds the psychic (if not the monetary) rewards high. deemed Dot Dead "without question the most impressive mystery debut of the year.”  Keith still lives in Palo Alto, just eight houses from where he grew up, with his wife and four children. Check out to see what he’s up to now.

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 an Anne Spencer Lindbergh silver medal for excellence in children's fantasy. 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.

Caryn Huberman Yacowitz

Caryn Huberman Yacowitz writes both fiction and non-fiction 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. "Pumpkin Fiesta, The Opera" will be produced in 2009. Yacowitz's forthcoming picture book is "I Know an Old lady Who Swallowed a Menorah" by Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic. She also writes plays for adults and is a member of Pear Avenue Writers. Visit:

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.

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