2018 Prize Judges


George Singleton

George Singleton has published seven collections of stories, two novels, and one book of writing advice. Over 300 of his stories have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, The Georgia Review, One Story, Agni, The Southern Review, Zoetrope, and elsewhere. He has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, and he has been a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow. Singleton received the Hillsdale Award for Fiction in 2010 from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence from Centenary College of Louisiana in 2016. In 2010, he was inducted into the South Carolina Academy of Authors. In 2015, he was inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Singleton holds the John C. Cobb Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Wofford College in South Carolina.

Justin Torres

Justin Torres’ first novel We the Animals, a national best seller, has been translated into fifteen languages and is currently being adapted into a feature film. He has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Granta, Tin House, The Washington Post, Glimmer Train, Flaunt, and other publications. He has also published nonfiction pieces in publications including The Guardian and The Advocate. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Torres was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and a Cullman Center Fellow at The New York Public Library. The National Book Foundation named him one of 2012’s “5 Under 35.” He has been the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Rolon Fellowship in Literature from United States Artists, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. Recently, Torres served as Picador Guest Professor for Literature at the University of Leipzig. He lives in Los Angeles, California, where he is an assistant professor of English at UCLA.
(Photo Credit: Winni Wintermeyer)

Crystal Wilkinson

Crystal Wilkinson is a poet and fiction writer whose debut novel, The Birds of Opulence, received the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Literature, and the Judy Gaines Young Book Award. Her other works include the short-story collections Blackberries, Blackberries—winner of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature—and Water Street, a finalist for both the United Kingdom’s Orange Prize for Fiction, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Wilkinson has also been awarded the Denny Plattner Award in Poetry from Appalachian Heritage magazine and the Sallie Bingham Award from the Kentucky Foundation for women for supporting feminist expression in the arts. Wilkinson serves as Appalachian Writer-in-Residence at Berea College in Kentucky, and teaches in Spalding University’s low-residency creative writing program. She also owns, with her partner, artist Ronald Davis, The Wild Fig Books & Coffee shop in North Lexington, Kentucky.
(Photo Credit: Ron Davis)