Contest Judges


picture of Michael KhandelwalMichael Khandelwal writes poetry and fiction as well as editorials, profiles, and features for Hampton Roads Magazine. He is the past poetry editor for Portfolio Weekly and a web content manager for The American Council on Education. He attended USC as an undergraduate and graduate student (MPW with three theses: fiction, poetry, screenplay) and has studied under poets James Ragan, William Matthews, and Yevgeny Yevtushenko and writers Betty Friedan, Shelly Berman, Paul Gillette, John Rechy, Ben Masselink, Sy Gomberg, Shana Alexander, and Gay Talese. In Los Angeles, he worked in film and on the radio while teaching neuroscience at USC and poetry, drama, and acting in the city. He is a co-founder of The Muse Writing Studios in Norfolk and is the President of the 2008 Virginia Electoral College.


picture of Rusty BarnesRusty Barnes received his B.A. from Mans­field Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia and his M.F.A. from Emer­son Col­lege. His fic­tion, poetry and non-fiction have appeared in over a hun­dred fifty jour­nals and antholo­gies. After edit­ing fic­tion for the Bea­con Street Review (now Redi­vider) and Zoetrope All-Story Extra, he co-founded Night Train, a lit­er­ary jour­nal which has been fea­tured in the Boston Globe, The New York Times, and on National Pub­lic Radio. Sun­ny­out­side Press pub­lished a col­lec­tion of his flash fic­tion, Break­ing it Down, in Novem­ber 2007 and his col­lec­tion of tra­di­tional fic­tion, Mostly Redneck in 2011. MiPOe­sias pub­lished his poetry chap­book Red­neck Poems in Octo­ber 2010. He is a nation­ally rec­og­nized and oft-solicited author­ity on flash fic­tion under all its var­i­ous names and per­mu­ta­tions, and serves on writ­ing con­fer­ence fac­ul­ties and pan­els through­out the coun­try, includ­ing recently with Asso­ci­ated Writ­ing Pro­grams, Somerville News Writ­ers Fes­ti­val, Writers@Work, The Par­lor, and Grub Street Writ­ers, as well as their annual Muse & Mar­ket­place con­fer­ence. He taught com­po­si­tion, fic­tion writ­ing, and lit­er­a­ture for over ten years in New Eng­land uni­ver­si­ties such as Emer­son Col­lege and North­east­ern Uni­ver­sity.


picture of Mike D'OrsoMike D'Orso's work includes 16 books, all in the form of narrative nonfiction. Eight have been national bestsellers, three have been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Honors for his work include the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, inclusion among Newsweek magazine's list of "50 Books For Our Times," selection as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and as the American Library Association's Nonfiction Book of the Year, and inclusion three times in The Sporting News' annual Best Sports Stories anthology. Mike lives and works in Norfolk.

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