2017 Judges

The 2017 Vermont Book Award will take place at VCFA’s Alumni Hall on September 23. Eight 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:

Emily BernardEmily Bernard is a professor of English and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of Vermont. Her books include: Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten (2001), which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Some of My Best Friends: Writers on Interracial Friendship (2004), which was chosen by the New York Public Library as a Book for the Teen Age, 2006; and Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs, which received a 2010 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in the category of Biography/Autobiography. Her most recent book, Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance: A Portrait in Black and White, was published by Yale University Press in 2012. Professor Bernard is also a creative writer. Her personal essays have been reprinted in Best American Essays, Best African American Essays, and Best of Creative Nonfiction. She served as a judge in biography for 2015 PEN Literary Awards.

Bernard has received fellowships from the Alphonse A. Fletcher Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University, the MacDowell Colony, and the Vermont Arts Council. In 2008-9, Bernard was the James Weldon Johnson Senior Research Fellow in African American Studies at the Beinecke Library at Yale University.

Amanda CoplinAmanda Coplin's debut novel The Orchardist was a New York Times bestseller and was named a best book of the year by National Public Radio, Publishers Weekly, and The Washington Post. A recipient of a Whiting Award for emerging writers, she was also selected by Louise Erdrich as a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she currently resides in Burlington, Vermont.

Chard deNiordChard deNiord is the author of six books of poetry, Interstate (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), The Double Truth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), which was cited by The Boston Globe as one of the ten best books of poetry in 2011, Speaking in Turn, a collaboration with Tony Sanders (Gnomon Press, 2011), Night Mowing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003), and Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990). His poems and essays have appeared in The Pushcart Prize, Best American Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The New England Review, The American Poetry Review, The New Ohio Review, AGNI, The Harvard Review, The New York Times, The Cortland Review, Ploughshares, and Salmagundi. His book of essays and interviews with seven senior American poets (Galway Kinnell, Maxine Kumin, Lucille Clifton, Donald Hall, Robert Bly, Ruth Stone, and Jack Gilbert) titled Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs: Conversations and Reflections on 20th Century American Poets was published in 2011 by Marick Press. He is the co-founder and former program director of the New England College MFA Program in Poetry and a trustee of the Ruth Stone Trust. For the past 18 years he has taught English and Creative Writing at Providence College where he is Professor of English. He lives in Westminster West, Vermont with his wife, Liz.

Grace GreeneGrace Worcester Greene has spent her career working in libraries with and for young people. Greene recently retired from her position as the Youth Services Consultant at the Vermont Department of Libraries, where she worked for nearly three decades. Previously, Greene was the Head of Children’s Services at the Robbins Library in Arlington, Massachusetts. In addition to her library positions, Greene has served as adjunct faculty at several New England colleges teaching courses in children’s literature. Her professional activities have included memberships and leadership positions in multiple literacy and library nonprofits and organizations, including the Children’s Literacy Foundation, Vermont Center for the Book, and the American Library Association. Greene has also chaired the prestigious Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee and served as a member of both the Newbery and the Caldecott Medal Award committees. Unable to stay away from libraries and children’s books, she currently subs at the Kellogg-Hubbard’s Children’s Library in Montpelier and reviews for the Horn Book Guide.

Beth McCabeBeth McCabe is Director of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards, a national program of support for emergent women writers. Previously, she was Program Director of The Academy of American Poets and Assistant Director of The Whiting Foundation. She holds a B.A. from Vassar College. She has lived in the Northeast Kingdom for the past 20 years and divides her time between Vermont and New York City.

Kerrin McCaddenKerrin McCadden is the author of Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes, inaugural winner of the 2015 Vermont Book Award, as well as the 2013 New Issues Poetry Prize, chosen by David St John. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation Writing Award. Her work has also received support from the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Arts Endowment Fund. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, Verse Daily, and in such journals as American Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Collagist, Green Mountains Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hunger Mountain, PANK, Poet Lore, and Rattle. A graduate of The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, she teaches English and Creative Writing at Montpelier High School and is the associate director of the Frost Place’s Conference on Poetry and Teaching. She lives in Montpelier, Vermont.

Janice ObuchowskiJanice Obuchowski is a fiction editor at the New England Review and for four years served on the admissions board for the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Her fiction received a Special Mention in the 2017 Pushcart Prize anthology, and her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Gettysburg Review, Passages North, Slice, Grist Journal, and Seattle Review. Most recently she's the recipient of an Emerging Artist Award in literature from the St. Botolph Club Foundation in Boston. She earned her MFA in fiction from UC Irvine.

Tanya Lee StoneTanya Lee Stone, a former editor of children’s nonfiction, is best known for telling little-known or unknown histories of women and people of color. Her work has earned an NAACP Image Award (Courage Has No Color), a Sibert Medal and a Bank Street Flora Straus Stieglitz Award (Almost Astronauts), a Golden Kite Award (The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie), and been recognized with many other honors including two YALSA Nonfiction Finalist awards, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, Jane Addams Honor, NPR Best Books, NCSS and ALA Notables, YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, Kirkus Best Books, and NCTE Orbis Pictus Honors. She is currently the only Vermont author to have ever simultaneously had one book on the Red Clover list and another on the Dorothy Canfield Fisher List. Forthcoming books include Girl Rising, A Story of War, A Story of Peace, How Ada Lovelace Imagined Computers 100 Years Before They Existed, and Do Not Collect $200. Stone conducts school visits nationwide and teaches writing at Champlain College.


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


The Vermont Book Award was 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.