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Meet the 2022 Oregon Book Awards Judges

Literary Arts selects out-of-state judges for the Oregon Book Awards based on their extensive experience and literary expertise. Each genre has three judges, and judges select the finalists and winners in each genre. The 2022 Oregon Book Award winners will be announced on April 25, 2022, at the Oregon Book Awards ceremony, hosted by Kesha Ajose-Fisher. The list of this year’s finalists is here:

Here are the 2021 Oregon Book Awards judges, listed by genre. To see more photos, click on arrow on right side of photos.


Judges: Alexandra Kleeman, Robin Wasserman, Charles Yu

Alexandra Kleeman is the author of Intimations, a short story collection, and the novel You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine, which was awarded the 2016 Bard Fiction Prize and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. In 2020, she was awarded the Rome Prize and the Berlin Prize.

Robin Wasserman is the author of the novels Mother Daughter Widow Wife   andGirls On Fire. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of more than ten novels for young adults and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University.

Charles Yu is the author of four books, including his latest, Interior Chinatown, which won the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction, and longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in a number of publications including The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine.

Judges: Craig Morgan Teicher, Sun Yung Shin, Malcolm Tariq

Craig Morgan Teicher is the author of several books, most recently Welcome to Sonnetville, New Jersey and We Begin in Gladness: How Poets Progress. He worked for many years at Publishers Weekly and is now Digital Director of The Paris Review

Sun Yung Shin 신 선 영  is the author of Unbearable Splendor (winner of the 2016 Minnesota Book Award for poetry); Rough, and Savage; and Skirt Full of Black, among other titles. She lives in Minneapolis where she co-directs the community organization Poetry Asylum with poet Su Hwang.

Malcolm Tariq is from Savannah, Georgia. He is a graduate of Emory University, and holds a PhD in English from the University of Michigan. Tariq is the author of Heed the Hollow  winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize.He lives in New York.

Judges: Paula Becker, Elizabeth Rush, Julie Tate-Libby

Paula Becker is the author of A Little Book of Self-Care for Those Who GrieveA House on Stilts: Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction and other titles She is co-author of The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy and Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: Washington’s First World’s Fair.

Elizabeth Rush is the author of Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, aPulitzer Prize finalist, and Still Lifes from a Vanishing City: Essays and Photographs from Yangon, Myanmar. She teaches at Brown University and is working on a book about motherhood and Antarctica’s diminishing glaciers.

Julie Tate Libby is an anthropologist and writer. Julie has published several academic works on amenity migration, the power of place, and sacred mountains. Her first book, The Good Way, a Himalayan Journey was a finalist in the 2020 Washington State Book Awards.

Judges: Melissa Febos, John Freeman, Marie Mutsuki Mockett

Melissa Febos is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart and the essay collection, Abandon Me, which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist. Her second essay collection, Girlhood, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her latest book, Body Work,  was published by Catapult in March, 2022.

John Freeman is the editor of Freeman’s, a literary annual of new writing, and executive editor at Alfred A. Knopf. His books include Tales of Two Americas, an anthology about income inequality in America, and Tales of Two Planets, an anthology of new writing about inequality and the climate crisis globally.

Marie Mutsuki Mockett is the author of American Harvest: God, Country and Farming in the Heartland (Graywolf. Her memoir,  Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese). Say Goodbye, was a finalist for the 2016 PEN Open Book Award. She lives in San Francisco, and teaches at the Bennington Writing Seminars.

Judges: Zan Romanoff, Francisco X. Stork, Shelley Tanaka

Zan Romanoff is the author of A Song to Take the World Apart and Grace and the Fever, and Look. Her essays and journalism have appeared in Buzzfeed, GQ, The LA Times and The Washington Post, among other outlets.

Francisco X. Stork emigrated from Mexico at the age of nine with his mother and his adoptive father. He is the author of nine novels including Marcelo in the Real World, recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award and Disappeared, a Walter Dean Myers Award Honor Book.

Shelley Tanaka is the author of more than twenty nonfiction books for children and young adults, including seven titles in the award-winning I Was There series. She teaches in the MFA program at the Vermont college of Fine Arts.

Judges: Joseph Bruchach, Lisa Jan-Clough, Mechal Renee Roe

Joseph Bruchach is a writer, storyteller, musician, editor, and publisher . He has won numerous awards for his work over the last 50 years. Author of over 170 books, his most recent novel REZ DOGS was listed by NPR as one of the best books of 2021.

Lisa Jahn-Clough has been in the children’s literature field for 25 years writing picture books, early readers, and YA novels. Her most recent chapter book is The Kids of Cattywampus Street. She is Associate Professor at Rowan University in New Jersey. In the summers she runs a small art gallery on the coast of Maine.

Mechal Renee Roe is a New York Times bestselling illustrator (for Superheroes Are Everywhere by Vice President Kamala Harris) and a writer, designer, photographer, and entrepreneur. Her Happy Hair picture book series was born out of a need to value her own natural hair and all its stages, while creating a foundation of self-love and positivity. 

Judges: Nidhi Chanani, Matthew Forsythe, Michael Sheyahshe

Nidhi Chanani creates illustrations that capture love in everyday moments. In 2012 she was honored by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change. She’s the author of the graphic novel Pashmina; Shubh Raatri Dost/Good Night Friend, a bilingual board book; and illustrator of the picture book I Will Be Fierce.

Matthew Forsythe is the author-illustrator of Pokko and the Drum, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a recipient of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Honor. He is also an illustrator for animated films and television. He was the Lead Designer on the animated show, Adventure Time (Cartoon Network).

Michael A. Sheyahshe is a member of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and author of Native Americans in Comic Books: A Critical Study. He has written for Trauma Magazine, Native Peoples, and Games for Windows and is a Trustee of the Caddo Nation’s Heritage Museum. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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