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 Canada community colleges.
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 NightLike 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

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 He 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

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.

Caryn Huberman Yacowitz

Caryn 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. Yacowitz's forthcoming picture book "I Know an Old lady Who Swallowed a Menorah" will be published in the fall of 2009 by Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic. 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. Her website is

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.


Best Of Palo Alto ballot is here

It's time to decide what local business is worthy of the title "Best Of Palo Alto" — and you get to decide! Cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 29th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 21st issue of the Palo Alto Weekly.