2016 Judges

The 2016 Vermont Book Award will take place at VCFA’s Alumni Hall on September 24. Seven judges have been chosen to read and evaluate all nominated books of poetry, children's literature, fiction, and creative nonfiction. This summer, VCFA will announce the finalists in all categories, after which the panel will work to select the one book that will receive the next Vermont Book Award.

For more information on our judging panel, please refer to their individual bios below:

Caroly Kuebler is the editor of New England Review. Before coming to NER as managing editor in 2004, she was an associate editor at Library Review and founding editor of Rain Taxi Review of Books. She began her work in publishing as an intern at Milkweed Editions in Minneapolis, served briefly as marketing director at Dalkey Archive Press, then worked as a bookseller at the Hungry Mind in Saint Paul. Carolyn has published dozens of book reviews, as well as small-press profiles and author interviews, in publications such as Publishers Weekly, Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi, and City Pages. Her essay on literary magazines is included in The Little Magazine of Contemporary America (University of Chicago Press), and “Literary Magazines in Context: A Historical Perspective” appears on the CLMP website. Her fiction has been published in the Common, Copper Nickel, Conduit, and Sleeping Fish, and she is currently working on some stories and a novel. At Middlebury College, she has taught a course in Literary Magazine Publishing and advises students on creative writing and publishing projects. She has an MFA from Bard College and a BA from Middlebury College.

Kekla Magoon is an award-winning author of over a dozen novels and non-fiction books for young readers, including How It Went Down, The Rock and the River, Camo Girl, 37 Things I Love, and X: A Novel (with Ilyasah Shabazz). She has received a Coretta Scott King Honor, a CSK/John Steptoe New Talent Award, and three NAACP Image Award nominations. Her books have been selected as ALA Notable Books for Children, YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year, CNN's Most Anticipated Books, and much more. Kekla serves on the Writers Council for the National Writing Project. She conducts school and library visits nationwide and teaches writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

An Na was born in South Korea and grew up in San Diego, California. She is the author of three novels, A Step from Heaven, Wait for Me and The Fold. The Middle Place, a forthcoming young adult novel will be published by Atheneum under Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. Her awards and honors include the Michael L. Printz Award, International Reading Association Award, National Book Award Finalist, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, New York Times Book Review Notable, and Junior Library Guild Selection. She lives in Vermont.

Jessica Hendry Nelson is the author of If Only You People Could Follow Directions (Counterpoint Press, February 2014), which was selected as a best debut book by the Indies Introduce New Voices program, the Indies Next List by the American Booksellers' Association, and named a Best Book of 2014 by Kirkus Review. Her work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Columbia Journal, Crab Orchard Review, PANK, The Rumpus, Drunken Boat and elsewhere, and named a 'Notable' listing in Best American Essays 2012. She teaches writing at Burlington College, Champlain College, and the low-residency MFA program at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. She serves as the Managing & Nonfiction editor of Green Mountains Review.

Elizabeth Powell is the author of The Republic of Self, a New Issue First Book Prize winner, selected by C.K. Williams. Her second book of poems, Willy Loman’s Reckless Daughter: Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances won the 2015 Anhinga Robert Dana Prize, selected by Maureen Seaton. Her work has appeared in the Pushcart Prize Anthology 2013, Alaska Quarterly Review, Barrow Street, Ecotone, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Slope, Sugarhouse Review, Ploughshares, Post Road, Zocalo Public Square, and elsewhere. She is Editor of Green Mountains Review, and Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Johnson State College. She also serves on the faculty of the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She lives in Vermont.

Ryan Walsh grew up in West Virginia. He is author of the chapbooks Reckoner (Chickadee Chaps & Broads, 2015) and The Sinks (winner of the 2010 Mississippi Valley Poetry Chapbook Contest). His poems have appeared in Blackbird, Ecotone, FIELD, Forklift, Ohio, Narrative, and elsewhere. He is currently the Writing Program Director at the Vermont Studio Center and lives in Burlington, VT.

Mitch Wertlieb is the local host NPR’s Morning Edition. A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years’ experience in radio news. He got his start as News Director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a News Director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station WBUR...as a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game" and also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.


Miciah Bay Gault
Program Director, MFA in Writing & Publishing
Editor, Hunger Mountain


The Vermont Book Award is a new prize created to honor artists with deep connections to the state of Vermont and to draw attention to a state so uniquely suited for creative enterprise.

In keeping with our mission of promoting emerging and established artists, the Vermont Book Award will recognize outstanding poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and children’s literature that is penned by a Vermont writer or by a writer with deep ties to the state of Vermont.