2014 fiction judges

Heidi W. Durrow

Heidi W. Durrow is the New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (Algonquin Books), which received writer Barbara Kingsolver's 2008 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Literature of Social Change. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky has been hailed as one of the Best Novels of 2010 by the Washington Post, a Top 10 Book of 2010 by The Oregonian, a Top 10 Buzz Book of 2010 by the Boston Herald and named a Top 10 Debut of 2010 by Booklist. Ebony Magazine named Heidi as one of its Power 100 Leaders of 2010 along with writers Edwidge Danticat, and Malcolm Gladwell. In 2011, Heidi was nominated for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Debut.

Heidi is a graduate of Stanford, Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism and Yale Law School.  Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Heidi has worked as a corporate litigator at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and as a Life Skills trainer to professional athletes of the National Football League and National Basketball Association. She served as a host of the award-winning weekly podcast Mixed Chicks Chat; and a founder and producer of the now defunct Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival.  She is the founder of the Mixed Remixed festival, the premiere event celebrating stories of the Mixed experience, and an occasional essay contributor to National Public Radio.  She is also a sought-after public speaker who has spoken at Brown, Exeter, Yale Law School and Sundance among others.  She has been featured as an expert on multiracial and multicultural issues and identity by the NBC Nightly News, the New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC, Ebony Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Heidi is the recipient of a Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Writers, a Jentel Foundation Residency, and won top honors in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition and the Chapter One Fiction Contest. She has received grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the American Scandinavian Foundation, the Roth Endowment and the American Antiquarian Society. She has also received Fellowships to the Norman Mailer Writers' Colony and the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference. http://heidiwdurrow.com

Patrick Hunt

Patrick Hunt earned his Ph.D. from the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, University of London in 1991. He has been teaching humanities, the arts, archaeology and mythology at Stanford University since 1993. His Hannibal Expedition was sponsored in 2007-2008 by the National Geographic Society's Expedition Council. He is Director of the Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project 1994-2009. He is also a National Lecturer 2009-2010 for the Archaeological Institute of America.

Hunt's published books include: Caravaggio (2004); a collection of poems, House of the Muse (2005), which he also illustrated; Rembrandt (2006); Alpine Archaeology (2007); and Ten Discoveries That Rewrote History (2007). He recreated Greek myth stories as short story fables in Myths for All Time (2007). His most recent books, Renaissance Visions: Myth and Art, and another, a literary study Poetry in the Song of Songs, were published in 2008. Another poetry book is forthcoming in late 2009. To date Hunt has 50+ peer-reviewed journal and encyclopedia articles published. Hunt is also a poet, biographer, classical music composer, and illustrator, having illustrated Richard Martin's Myths of Ancient Greece (2003). In spring 2009 Hunt was in Copenhagen as an invited scholar for the Royal Danish Theater Opera's Lucretia production and at the related Lucretia Symposium on Britten's opera; he has also written program notes for the San Francisco Opera's 2004 Tosca production. Several arias from his opera-in-progress Byron in Greece have been performed in London, Switzerland, and Stanford between 2006-8, along with his lieder-art songs setting William Blake poems to new music compositions. Selected prior compositions such as Songs of Exile: By the Rivers of Babylon were performed in 1999 at Duke University and Washington DC.

Some of his recent poetry was published in 2009 by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece, and in 2008 in the Penguin Book of Classical Myths in London. http://www.patrickhunt.net

Elizabeth McKenzie

Elizabeth McKenzie's short fiction has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, the Pushcart Prize anthology, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Threepenny Review, and many other literary journals. Her story collection Stop That Girl was short-listed for The Story Prize, and was a Newsday and Library Journal top ten Book of the Year. Her novel MacGregor Tells the World was a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the year, a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book, and a Library Journal Top Ten Book of the year. She was  the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts/Japan-US Friendship Commission Creative Artist Fellowship in 2010, and is the editor of an anthology of contemporary Japanese literature forthcoming in 2012 entitled My Postwar Life.  McKenzie received her MA from Stanford in English and Creative Writing, and is the Editor of the Chicago Quarterly Review. http://www.macgregortells.com

2014 nonfiction judges

Sumbul Ali-Karamali

Sumbul Ali-Karamali earned her B.A. in English from Stanford University. After graduating, she worked as an editor at a small (now defunct!) publishing company and then attended law school at the University of California at Davis, where she was an editor of the law review. After working as a corporate lawyer for several years, she earned her LLM degree in Islamic Law from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, where she stayed on as a research and teaching assistant at the Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law. Her first book, The Muslim Next Door: the Qur'an, the Media, and that Veil Thing, is an introduction to Islam, featuring academically reliable information intertwined with anecdotes and stories of growing up Muslim in America; it is a 2009 Bronze Medal Winner of the Independent Publishers Awards and was chosen for Silicon Valley Reads 2012, a 14-city-wide reading program. Sumbul's second book, Growing Up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam, is written for ages ten and up, and is an anecdotal, often humorous, explanation of what Muslims believe, where they live, and how they practice. Sumbul has just finished recording Growing Up Muslim for Random House Audio.

In addition to her books, Sumbul has published numerous essays, legal articles, and opinion pieces; she is also a regular blogger for the Huffington Post. In the past few years she has been featured as a speaker on over two hundred occasions, in person, radio, and television. She serves on the boards of Hidden Villa and Silicon Valley FACES, two organizations promoting diversity education and multicultural understanding. She also serves on the steering committee of Women in Islamic Spirituality and Equality, an initiative which promotes women's rights from an Islamic viewpoint, and she is a member of the Muslim Women's Shura Council, an international body of Muslim women scholars researching and publishing academic position papers for use throughout the world in promoting social justice. In her spare time, Sumbul loves to read, listen to opera, play the violin, and watch Star Trek reruns with her family. She can be visited on her website, www.muslimnextdoor.com.

Anne Kasten

Anne is a graduate of Stanford University in history, with a background in studio art.  Following graduation, she worked in the retail book business and in graphics, skills that she later refined and expanded as the cofounder, in 1976, of Windham Hill Records.

Anne was the CEO of Windham Hill as well as the developer of the company's award-winning graphic design.  She also took an active interest in the recording industry, serving on advisory boards of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences) and the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).

Windham Hill Records was acquired in 1996 by BMG Media.  Following that acquisition, Anne became interested in non-profit ventures.   She has served on the National Advisory Panel for the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford, and more recently, been involved in community activities.

She spent almost a decade as a member of the Woodside Architectural and Site Review Board and currently serves on the Joint Powers Authority of the San Mateo County Libraries.  Last year, she served as Mayor of Woodside and was elected for a second four-year term on the Town Council.

Fritz Kasten

Fritz was an English major at the University of Iowa, with an emphasis on writing.  He has never abandoned his interest in reading and in literature.  His work, however, has been in the music business, first as a performing musician--with bands that included: Vince Guaraldi; Big Brother & the Holding Company; and the Berkeley-based, Joy of Cooking.  He left performing in the early 1980s and began working as a producer, in artist management, and as a record company executive. 

He was an advisory board member of NARAS (National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences) and a member of AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), now a part of the Screen Actor's Guild.  He has a Master's Degree in Television production. 

Since retirement from the music business, Fritz has been active in the Roxburghe Club, a group of bibliophiles and fine-printers, and has continued to collect books in a number of disciplines.

Hank Saroyan

Hank Saroyan's thirty-five year career in entertainment has run the gamut from performing, to writing, producing, directing, and composing for television and features. He is one of few directors with Emmy Awards for directing in live-action (William Saroyan's The Parsley Garden) and animation (Jim Henson's Muppet Babies.)

Between projects, Hank can be found on stage performing "A Tribute to William Saroyan--In His Own Words," accompanied by renowned jazz and classical musicians such as cellist, Eugene Friesen, pianist, Philip Aaberg and others. Kevin Starr, friend of William Saroyan and Professor of History at University of Southern California, wrote:

"There is music in the prose of William Saroyan and his nephew Hank Saroyan and his colleagues are now releasing that music with new intensity through a magic amalgam of musical artistry and the spoken word. William Saroyan now speaks to us, once again, with the full force of his living presence."