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Judge Bios


Cornelius EadyCornelius Eady is the author of seven books of poetry, the most recent being Hardheaded Weather, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. His other titles are: Kartunes; Victims of the Latest Dance Craze, winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets; The Gathering of My Name, nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; You Don’t Miss Your Water; The Autobiography of a Jukebox; and Brutal Imagination. His work appears in many journals, magazines, and the anthologies Every Shut Eye Ain’t Asleep, In Search of Color Everywhere, and The Vintage Anthology of African American Poetry, (1750-2000).

With poet Toi Derricote, Eady is co-founder of Cave Canem, a national organization for African American poetry and poets. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Traveling Scholarship to Tougaloo College in Mississippi, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy, and The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award. In 1997, an adaptation of You Don’t Miss Your Water was performed at the Vineyard Theatre, in New York City. In 1999, Running Man, a music-theatre piece co-written with jazz musician Diedre Murray, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and awarded a 1999 Obie.

Eady has taught poetry at SUNY Stony Brook, where he directed its Poetry Center; City College; Sarah Lawrence College; New York University; The Writer’s Voice; The 92nd St Y; The College of William and Mary; and Sweet Briar College. In 2002, a production of Brutal Imagination (with a score by Diedre Murray) opened at the Vineyard Theatre, where it won the 2002 Oppenheimer award for the best first play by an American Playwright.  At present he is Professor of English and the Miller Family Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing at the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Francine ProseFrancine Prose grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Radcliffe College. She has written 14 novels, among them Bigfoot Dreams; A Changed Man; Goldengrove; Primitive People; Household Saints, which was made into a 1993 movie; and Blue Angel, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her short story collections include Women and Children First and The Peaceable Kingdom; she has also published three books of translation and a collection of novellas, Guided Tours of Hell. She has written five books for children, and two novels for young adults, After and Bullyville. Her books of nonfiction include The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women and the Artists They Inspired, Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles, and Gluttony. Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them was a New York Times Bestseller. Most recently she wrote Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife.

Her stories, reviews, cultural criticism and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Atlantic Monthly, Art News, Elle, The Paris Review, and Tin House. She is a contributing editor at Harpers Magazine. Prose is the recipient of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, The Edith Wharton Lifetime Achievement Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA grants, two New York State Council on Arts grants, a PEN Translation Prize, a Director’s Fellowship at the New York Public Library’s Center for Scholars and Writers, and two Jewish Book Council Prizes. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the New York Institute for the Humanities, and has been a Resident in Literature at the American Academy in Rome. She is a former President of PEN American Center and is currently a Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bard College. Her new novel, My New American Life, will be published by HarperCollins in May 2011.

Prose’s father, Philip H. Prose, was an esteemed pathologist at Bellevue Hospital, and she has childhood recollections of running free among the pathology labs during school holidays. The pathology wing at Bellevue is dedicated to Dr. Prose for his many years of service.


Susan OrleanSusan Orlean has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1992, and has written on subjects ranging from taxidermy to umbrella inventors to figure skater Tonya Harding.  Previously, she was contributing editor at Rolling Stone and at Vogue. Orlean is the author of seven books including My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere; The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People; Saturday Night; and Lazy Little Loafers. In 1999, she published The Orchid Thief, a best-selling narrative about orchid poachers in Florida.  The Orchid Thief was made into the movie, “Adaptation.” She is currently writing a cultural biography of the dog actor Rin Tin Tin, which will be published in 2011.




Photo Credits:
Cornelius Eady: Photo by Chip Cooper
Francine Prose: Photo by Stephanie Berger
Susan Orlean: Photo by Gaspar Tringale