Our judges 

Patrick Allen is a founding principal of Hill Street Press in Athens, where he handles a wide variety of editorial responsibilities including evaluating and acquiring manuscripts, the preparation of manuscripts for publication, and editorial research. He has edited several anthologies and shares responsibility for all editorial decisions made by the press, in addition to contributing to the marketing and sales promotion efforts.

With years of editorial experience in the magazine publishing industry, Allen also has worked on a freelance basis for bookstores and book publishers. Allen is a native of Knoxville, Tenn., and holds degrees in English literature and art history from the University of Tennessee. He's also a graduate of the University of Denver Book Publishing Institute.

Jim Grimsley is the senior resident fellow in Emory University's creative writing program. After working for many years as a secretary for Grady Hospital, Grimsley made his big break into the literary world with Winter Birds, a novel he'd written a decade before but wasn't published in the U.S. until 1994. Winter Birds received the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and also got a nod from the PEN/Hemingway Award. Subsequent novels include Dream Boy, My Drowning, which won Grimsley the Georgia Author of the Year award for Fiction in 1998, and Comfort & Joy, a sequel to Winter Birds.
As playwright in residence at 7 Stages and About Face Theatre in Chicago, Grimsley has penned numerous works for stage. Mr. Universe and Other Plays was published by Algonquin Books in 1998.
Grimsley's fifth novel, Boulevard, will be published by Algonquin in April.

Opal Moore is an associate professor and chair of the English department at Spelman College. She teaches creative writing and courses in traditional African-American literature.

Moore's writing has appeared in journals and anthologies including Honey, Hush! An Anthology of African-American Women's Humor, Callaloo, Connecticut Review and noctures (re)view of literary arts. She also serves as co-editor of the "Cultural Pluralism" column for Children's Literature Association Quarterly.
Moore's collection of poems, A Geometry for Leaving, is currently being reviewed by Third World Press in Chicago. A Chicago native, Moore has been living and teaching in the South since 1984.

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