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Write Michigan Contest Judges

Adult Contest (18 years and older):

Wright Brainerd
Wright BrainerdFreelance author Wright Brainerd lives in Shepherd, Mich., with his lovely wife and two daughters. A busy ghostwriter, Brainerd works on his own short stories in his free time and was the 2017 Judge’s Choice winner in the adult category of the Write Michigan contest.

Andy Hughes
Andy HughesAndy Hughes is a teacher by day, but after the final bell rings at school he morphs into an aspiring writer. With a teaching degree specializing in early childhood education, he began his adventurous career in preschool and now teaches math to middle schoolers. He lives in Rockford, Mich., where he's an earnest husband to his wife, Lauren, and a fiercely-loving father to his son, Owen … who are absolutely everything to him. Andy was the the Adult category Readers' Choice Winner in Write Michigan 2017.

Shelley Irwin
Shelley IrwinShelley is the host of the WGVU Morning Show, heard locally in Grand Rapids on National Public Radio station 88.5 FM Monday through Friday from 9:00–11:00 AM. She is a five-time consecutive Gracie Allen Award recipient for Outstanding Host from American Women in TV and Radio. Shelley is also involved with many local community organizations.

Elizabeth Trembley
Elizabeth TrembleyBeth lives in the west Michigan woods with her partner, two cats, a German Shepherd, a Dutch Shepherd, lots of wild turkeys, deer, and the occasional pileated woodpecker. For more than 25 years she has taught literature and creative writing at colleges in Michigan and Ohio. Beth also runs community workshops on memoir, comics, developing creativity, and art journaling. She enjoys exploring how words and images work together to capture stories and create meaning. The first novel in her mystery trilogy, Whacked (under the pen name Josie Gordon), won a Lambda Literary Award.

Teen Contest (12–17 years old):

Emma Fenwick
Emma FenwickEmma Fenwick is a homeschooled high school senior from Hamilton, Mich. She loves reading, writing, and going for hikes in the woods and the dunes. She enjoys learning about WWII resistance and also sewing historical clothes. She also loves spending time with her two orange-and-white cats, Toast and Marmalade. Emma was the Teen category Judges' Choice Winner in Write Michigan 2017.

Beth Rodgers
Cori McCarthyBeth Rodgers is an author, editor, and a college English instructor at Baker College in Clinton Township, Mich. She has released two novels, Freshman Fourteen and Sweet Fifteen, both centered around high school freshman (and eventual sophomore) Margot Maples and her journey with friends, relationships, bullying, and fitting in through her years in high school. Beth is currently working on the final two books in the series which take Margot through her junior and senior years. Besides her love of writing, she is an avid TV and movie watcher, and she loves reading young adult novels and serving as a staff reviewer for YABooksCentral.com. She lives with her husband and two sons in metro Detroit.

Steven E. Schend
Over the past 27 years, Steven E. Schend has worked full-time or freelance as an editor, developer, designer, writer, or assistant manager for TSR, Inc., Wizards of the Coast, Bastion Press, Green Ronin, the Sebranek Group, Gaming Paper, and other publishers as well as teaching at various community or art colleges. Steven has written scores of magazine articles and role-playing game products, and currently works as a fiction author. Steven hangs his hat in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he writes in worlds of his own when he’s not busy with his most important works in progress — his family and children.

Lucas Sherman
Lucas ShermanLucas Sherman is a junior at Lowell High School. Some of his interests include participating in Science Olympiad, playing soccer and reading all the sci-fi/fantasy work he can get his hands on. You'll almost always find Lucas with a notebook and pen working on anything from short stories to novels. Lucas was the Teen category Readers' Choice Winner in Write Michigan 2017.

Youth Contest (11 years and younger):

Camille DeBoer
Camille DeBoerCamille DeBoer has been a children's bookseller for 30 years. She is the former owner of Pooh's Corner: A Children's Bookstore and currently sells books for Schuler Books and Music. A frequent guest presenter for literacy workshops, in panel discussions, and at conferences, Camille enjoys sharing children's book recommendations for all ages, discussing industry trends, and developing collaborative programs connecting books and readers. She lives in Grand Rapids with her family where she can be found reading great books, telling kids about them … and singing a little opera on the side.

Deborah Diesen
Deborah DiesenDeborah Diesen is the author of the Pout-Pout Fish book series, which began with the rhyming picture book The Pout-Pout Fish and now includes three more pouty picture books, two mini-adventure board books, a lift-the-flap book, a wipe-clean alphabet/numbers workbook and several plushes. She is also the author of the picture books The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade (illustrated by Tracy Dockray), Picture Day Perfection (illustrated by Dan Santat) and the forthcoming Bloom (illustrated by Mary Lundquist). A former bookseller and reference librarian, she currently works for a small nonprofit organization in Lansing. She and her family live in Grand Ledge, Michigan.

Ryan Hipp
Ryan HippRyan Hipp is a published author-illustrator of books for kids from Grand Rapids, Mich., honored by the Michigan Reading Association as a recipient of the Gwen Frostic Award for work greatly impacting literacy. Ryan is the leading expert in Michigan on fostering visual literacy and creative thought, with 10 years' experience and research in the field. He actively gives presentations to aid educators to inspire and motivate young people. Ryan is dedicated to helping kids achieve their goals and overcome life's obstacles as depicted in his newest book Little Steps.

Spanish Contest (all ages):

Jorge Pereira
Jorge PereiraJorge Pereira was born in Pontevedra, Spain, in 1975. He currently lives in East Lansing, where he works at Michigan State University. Although his job focuses on nuclear physics, Jorge enjoys cinema, literature and music. Jorge was the the Spanish category Judges' Choice Winner in Write Michigan 2017.