2020 National Writing Jurors

The Scholastic Awards warmly thank the 2020 National Writing Jurors. A cast of more than 200 writing jurors, including literary agents, editors, professors, screenwriters, award-winning poets, executives from non-profit organizations, and more, evaluated Gold Key works submitted by talented students from across the country based on the following time-tested criteria: originality; technical skill; and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. Scroll down to learn more about the 2020 National Writing Jurors.

American Voices Award

Abigail B. Colodner

Hílda Davis

Cordelia Johnson

Aryaana Khan, Youth Poet Laureate Finalist and 2019 Slam Team Member for Urban Word NYC

Talia Kovacs, CEO of LitLife, Inc.

Karl Otto

Zoe Elizabeth Smolen

Best-in-Grade Award

Tolu Adeyeye

Yasmine Ameli

Danielle Bennett

Jade Dee and Wilnona Marie, authors of And I Thought I Did My Journey Alone, Thoughtful Collection A Miss-Fit Guide, and If Only I Were Me

Michael J. DeLuca, Publisher at Reckoning Press

Alexa Garvoille, author of A Teacher’s View of Go Set a Watchman in the Age of Black Lives Matter, Farmer’s Daughter, and A Third Gay Boyfriend Comes Out to Me on Beaver Island

Sara Holbrook, author of The Enemy, Detroit 1954, Zombies! Evacuate the School, and From Striving to Thriving Writers: Strategies to Jump Start Writing

Rich Larson, author of Tomorrow Factory, Annex, and How Quini the Squid Misplaced His Klobucar

Winona Riley León

Maurisa Li-A-Ping

Vynetta A. Morrow

Walton Muyumba, author of The Shadow and the Act: Black Intellectual Practice, Jazz Improvisation, and Philosophical Pragmatism

José Olivarez

Nathan Jordan Poole, author of Father Brother Keeper; Assistant Professor at Stokes Center for Creative Writing at The University of South Alabama

Joy Priest, author of Horsepower

Anna Duke Reach, Programs Director at the Kenyon Review

Vasantha Sambamurti, author of No Tender Fences: An Anthology of Immigrant & First-Generation American Poetry, On Whiteness, and Abril

Eleanore J. Scott, Program Coordinator at Aspen Words

Deshaun Washington

Carmin Wong

Civic Expression Award

Jumoke Adeola Bello, author of I Woman Grl Luv Machine and Beware of Dogs

Trace Howard DePass, author of Self-Portrait as the Space Between Us

Zeyn Joukhadar, author of The Map of Salt and Stars and The Thirty Names of Night

Anthony Moll, author of Out of Step: A Memoir

Critical Essay

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius, author of Fishhead. Republic of Want

Rayshma Arjune

Amy L. Brewer

Ryan D. Brinkhurst, author of Strangle the White Goose and Is Dad Dead?; Editor at Literary Heist.

Sylvan Creekmore

Lauren Garretson

Victor Jatula, Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Utah (Asia Campus)

Michael H. Koresky, author of Terence Davies, Contributor for Film Comment and Reverse Shot/Museum of the Moving Image

Chris McKinney, author of The Tattoo, The Queen of Tears, and Yakudoshi: Age of Calamity

Jonah Rosenberg

Rachel Youngeun Rostad, author of The Scholar: A Korean Adoptee Returns, Hiking Toward Koreanness, and Please Don’t Stop Me: Bruce Springsteen, Lana Del Rey, and Race in Americana

Ben Stroud, author of Byzantium: Stories

Kaushika Suresh

Vu Tran, author of Dragonfish, Origins, and A Refugee Again; Assistant Professor of Practice in the Arts, Director of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Chicago

Jessica Verdi, author of And She Was, What You Left Behind, and I’m Not a Girl

Hari Ziyad, author of The Dangers of Tipping While Black, When a White Man Attempts to Steal Your Soul, and My Gender is Black

Dramatic Script

Lucas Baisch

Sarah Boudreau

Molly Cross-Blanchard, author of I Don’t Want to Tell You; Editor at PRISM International

Gary Hawkins, author of Talk and Not Talk: Anne Carson’s Dialogue of Grief and Clerks in a Post-Religious Age: Reading Lurie’s Remnant Romantic Temperament in Disgrace; Professor & Director, Center for Faculty Innovation & Excellence at Warren Wilson College

Jennifer Inglis

Danielle Mohlman, author of Dust at Dacha Theatre, Seattle, WA

Uche Okonkwo, author of Our Belgian Wife, Eden, and The Girl Who Lied


Anne Ursu, author of The Lost Girl, Breadcrumbs, and The Real Boy

Flash Fiction

Hanna Ali, author of The Story of Us

Joseph Tyler Arnold

Summer Edward, author of New Daughters of Africa, New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean, and  1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change; Founder and Editor-In-Chief at Anansesem

Rachel Ewen, Marketing Manager at Bloomsbury Publishing

Ravi Howard

David James Keaton, author of The Last Projector, Our Pool Party Bus Forever Days, and Stealing Propellor Hats from the Dead

Halimah Marcus, Executive Director at Electric Literature

Brad Aaron Modlin

Jennifer A. Nielsen, author of THE FALSE PRINCE, THE TRAITOR’S GAME, and WORDS ON FIRE

Dustin Kyle Pearson, author of Millenial Roost and A Family Is a House

Sara Pirkle, author of The Disappearing Act

Alanna Rusnak, author of The Church in the Wildwood and The Ghost of Iris Carver; Editor-In-Chief at Blank Spaces Magazine

Daniel Sklar, author of Flying Cats, Bicycles, Drums, Canoes, and Hack Writer

Maggie Smith, author of Grease on the Seats and Backyard Love Songs

Allan Stratton, author of Chanda’s Secrets, The Dogs, and The Grave Robber’s Apprentice

Katy Diane Towell, author of Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow and Charlie and the Grandmothers

Kevin Waltman, author of Next, Slump, and Quicks


Eisha Buch

J K Chukwu, author of Coffee Won’t Fix This

Miles Collins-Sibley

Barbara Darko

Jennani Durai, author of Regrettable Things That Happened Yesterday

Sandeep Mahal

Katya Mezhibovskaya

Will Niedmann

Kate Elizabeth Lu Sedor

Charles R Smith Jr., author of 28 Days: Moments in Black History, 12 Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali, and Rimshots

Richard Wallace


Paige Cornwell

Rollo Romig, author of The Murder of Gauri Lankesh, The Lonely Mission of India’s Sole Luger, and How to Steal a River

Christopher Donshale Sims, author of If Black Lives Mattered and Mashairi

Aaron Wiener

New York Life Award

Joan Bauer, author of Raising Lumie, Soar, and Hope Was Here

Kristine E. Brickey, author of They Said She Was Crazy and Flowers for Rodney; Writing Events Coordinator at Red Cedar Writing Project

Dr. Debra R Lamb, Senior Director, Student Support Services & Community Partnerships of the New York City Department of Education

Amanda Lechenet, Corporate Vice President – ESG at New York Life

Corinne Logan, Corporate Responsibility Associate at New York Life

Novel Writing

Philip Elliott, author of Nobody Move and The Impending Heat Death of the Universe & Other Things That Stop Me from Caring; Editor-In-Chief at Into the Void

Kim Fu, author of The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, For Today I Am A Boy, and How Festive the Ambulance

Mark Galarrita, author of How Your Filipino Science Fiction Novel Will Be Adapted For Film, My Sad Werewolf, and Kuya

Meghan Lamb, author of All of Your Most Private Places

Anah Tillar

Jemimah James Wei

One Earth Award

Kate Brandes, author of Promise of Pierson Orchard

Lanxing Fu, Co-Director of Superhero Clubhouse

Dante C. Swinton, Environmental Justice Researcher & Organizer at the Energy Justice Network

Adam Vines, author of The Coal Life, Out of Speech, and According to Discretion; Associate Professor of English at the University of Alabama at Birmingham

Personal Essay & Memoir

Camryn L. Bruno, author of Queen Bee Cavity

Darin Ciccotelli, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Soka University of America

Ian M. Cockfield

Jaed Muncharoen Coffin, author of A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants and Roughhouse Friday; Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of New Hampshire

Marissa Davis

Anna deVries

Tarik Octavio Dobbs

Jonathan Francisco Garcia

Glen Huser, author of Stitches, Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen, and The Runaway

Saba Keramati

Chelene Knight, author of Braided Skin and Dear Current Occupant

Evan Lavender-Smith, author of From Old Notebooks and Avatar; Assistant Professor of English at Virginia Tech

Dr. Kerry Neville, author of Remember to Forget Me and Necessary Lies

Marc Nieson, author of Schoolhouse, The Ring, and Houdini’s Heirs

Anne Marie Pace , author of Vampirina Ballerina, Sunny’s Tow Truck Saves the Day, and Busy-Eyed Day

Eric Thomas Parker

Monica Prince, author of How to Exterminate the Black Woman: A Choreopoem, Instructions for Temporary Survival, and Letters from the Other Woman

Luc Sante, author of Low Life, The Other Paris, and Kill All Your Darlings

Jarvis Subia, author of Ode to Cheese, My Beard, and Etymology

Elissa Washuta, author of My Body is a Book of Rules


Sean Cho A.

Rasha Abdulhadi, author of Shell Houses, Halal if You Hear Me, and Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler

Opal Palmer Adisa, author of Dance Quadrille and Play Quelbe, Love’s Promise, and 4 Headed Woman

Marissa Nicole Ahmadkhani

Dilruba Ahmed, author of BRING NOW THE ANGELS (University of Pittsburgh Press, April 2020), DHAKA DUST (Graywolf, 2011), and THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2019 (Scribner, 2019; Eds. David Lehman & Major Jackson)

Nadia Alexis

Eloisa Amezcua, author of Round 3, Self Portrait, and The Money

Louisa Aviles

Laynie Browne, author of In Garments Worn By Lindens, The Book of Moments, and You Envelop Me

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, author of Children of the Land, Cenzontle, and Dulce

Cortney Lamar Charleston, author of Telepathologies

Ian Clarke

Gerald L. Coleman, author of When Night Falls, A Plague of Shadows, and Nappy Metaphysic: New & Selected Poems

John Darcy, author of Sorry I Missed Your Call

Michael Frazier, Poetry Reader at The Adroit Journal

Harold Green

Emily Hunt, author of Company and Dark Green

Ellen Jones

Brett Fletcher Lauer, author of A Hotel in Belgium, Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation, edited with Lynn Melnick, and Fake Missed Connections: Divorce, Online Dating, and Other Failures

Chip Livingston

Charles J. Malone, author of Questions About Circulation and Working Hypothesis (Forthcoming); Program and Outreach Manager, The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University

Trapeta B. Mayson, 2020 City of Philadelphia Poet Laureate

Pat McLean-Smith

Richard Michelson, author of More Money Than God and Battles and Lullabies

Biljana D. Obradovic, author of Incognito; Collaborated on Cat Painters: Anthology of Contemporary Serbian Poetry and Moonwalkers on a Picnic by Zvonko Karanovic

Angelique Palmer, author of The Chambermaid’s Style Guide

Elsbeth Pancrazi, author of Full Body Pleasure Suit

Shaunwell Ramon Posley, author of 95 Notes and Expecting Mountains: Overcoming the Overwhelming Lows in Life; President at 95 Notes Literary Magazine

Alice Freeman Quinn

Luke Reynolds, author of Fantastic Failures: True Stories of People Who Changed the World by Falling Down First, A Call to Creativity: Writing, Reading, and Inspiring Students in an Age of Standardization, and The Looney Experiment

Linda Rodriguez, author of Dark Sister, Heart’s Migration, and Every Last Secret

Nell Smith


Enoch The Poet, author of The Guide to Drowning

Laura Tohe, author of Tseyi, Deep in the Rock, Nahasdzaan in the Glittering World, and No Parole Today; Professor Emerita and Navajo Nation Poet Laureate 2015-2019 of Navajo Tech University

Asiya Wadud, author of Crosslight for Youngbird, day pulls down the sky… a filament in goldleaf, and Syncope

Brian Phillip Whalen, author of Semiotic Love: Stories (forthcoming from Awst Press) and Zero

Tobias Wray, Director of the University of Idaho’s Creative Writing Programs

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Quenton Baker

Winston Brown

Britny Cordera, author of Auburn Avenue

Julio Cesar Diaz

Seelai Karzai

Oonya Kempadoo, author of Buxton Spice, Tide Running, and All Decent Animals

Andrew G. Levy, author of Postmodern American Fiction:  A Norton Anthology, A Brain Wider Than The Sky:  A Migraine Diary, and Huck Finn’s America

Matthew Ross Smith, author of Lizzy Legend

Janessa I. Terry

Paul Tobin, author of Plants vs. Zombies, Genius Factor, and Bandette

Short Story

Kathryn L. Brohawn

Lorea Canales, author of Becoming Marta, Los Perros, and Mínimas Despedidas

Karissa Chen

Erica Christensen, Senior Literary Editor at Metamorphosis Literary Agency

Alison Granucci, Founder of Blue Flower Arts

Cassie Guinan

Adilene Hernandez

Heather K. Hummel, author of Short-Form Creative Writing: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology and Lessons in Breathing Underwater; Assistant Professor at University of Arkansas, Little Rock

Vida James

Fred L. Joiner, author of The Next Verse Poets Mixtape, Furious Flower Seeding the Future of African American Poetry, and All the Songs We Sing

Sonya Lara

Jennifer Dominique Lee

Suzette Mayr, author of Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall, Monoceros, and Venous Hum

Doug Murano

Elissa Ann Parker

Jessica Reino

Chris Rosales

Robert Reese Sawyer, MFA Candidate at the University of Wyoming

Paul Seesequasis, author of Blanket Toss Under

John Elizabeth Stintzi, author of Vanishing Monuments and Junebat

Glenn Taylor, author of The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart, The Marrowbone Marble Company, and A Hanging at Cinder Bottom

Writing Portfolio

Adebe DeRango-Adem, author of Ex Nihilo, Terra Incognita, and The Unmooring

David Ehmcke, Editor-In-Chief at The Columbia Review

Tanis Franco, author of Quarry

Rebecca M. Luxton

Racheline Maltese, author of A Queen From the North, The Art of Three, and The Opposite of Drowning

Nelle Mills

Tracie Morris, author of Who Do With Words, Hard Kore: Poemes/Per-Form: Poems of Mythos and Place, and handholding: on the other hand (forthcoming 2020)

Da’Shawn Mosley

Yvette Lisa Ndlovu

Dr. Adam Prince, author of Tricks, A Proposition, a Proposal, or How to Choose Right, and A Roolette? A Roolette?

Shazia Hafiz Ramji, author of Port of Being and Monsoon Man; Featured in Best Canadian Poetry 2019

Kevin Sands, author of The Blackthorn Key, Mark of the Plague, and The Assassin’s Curse

Francisco X Stork, author of Disappeared, The Memory of Light, and Marcelo in the Real World

Derek Updegraff

James Yeh, Features Editor at The Believer Magazine

Multiple Categories

Brandon Ray Christophe

David Clawson, author of My Fairy Godmother Is A Drag Queen

Miranda Lynn Dubner