IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Rachel DeWoskin

Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Rachel DeWoskin.

Originally hailing from right here in Ann Arbor (!), DeWoskin is an author, poet, and teacher of fiction and memoir at the University of Chicago. She divides her time between Chicago and Beijing, where she once starred in a Chinese soap opera called “Foreign Babes in Beijing.” Her memoir of the same name was released in 2005.

In addition to her memoir and numerous essays and articles published by a variety of magazines, DeWoskin has published three novels. Her first two—REPEAT AFTER ME (2009) and BIG GIRL SMALL (2011) [set in Ann Arbor, and known for its crossover appeal with teens]--are adult novels, but her most recent book, BLIND (2014) is a foray into young adult. In BLIND, a terrible accident leaves fifteen-year-old Emma Silver without eyesight. She works hard to adapt to her new life, but just as she’s beginning to recover her friendships and resume high school, a classmate is found dead of apparent suicide. Emma must navigate not just her own recovery process but that of her community in the wake of these tragedies.

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Lish McBride


Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Lish McBride.

McBride is from the Pacific Northwest (specifically in Seattle these days) and likes it there even though it rains a lot. She has a day job working at Third Place Books and holds an MFA in fiction from the University of New Orleans. She's also a big fan of wearing pajamas as often as possible.

Her debut novel, HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER (2010), tells the story of Seattle fast-wood worker Sam who discovers that he is a necromancer. His powers, though, are latent, and he’s going to need a lot of help figuring out this new way of … er, living, before a fellow necromancer who sees Sam as a threat to his business takes Sam out of the picture. It was a finalist for the ALA's William C. Morris Debut Award. NECROMANCING THE STONE (2012) is the sequel. McBride’s most recent book, FIREBUG (2014), is about pyrokinetic hitman Ava who escapes to a life on the road with her friends in attempts to escape the magical mafia she contracts with. A sequel, PYROMANTIC, is due out in 2016. FIREBUG and its sequel take place in the same world as HOLD ME CLOSER.

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Jennifer Armentrout


Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Jennifer Armentrout.

Armentrout hails from West Virginia and writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. Under the pen name J. Lynn, she has also written several adult and new adult novels. She enjoys watching bad zombie flicks and spending time with her husband and her Jack Russell named Loki.

The library owns many of Armentrout's books, including the Covenant series (begin with DAIMON) the Lux series (begin with OBSIDIAN), and the Dark Elements series (begin with WHITE HOT KISS). Her stand-alone book DON'T LOOK BACK (2014) was nominated for the 2014 Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. In it, seventeen-year-old Sam has what she thinks is the perfect life--hot boyfriend, popularity, wealth--until one night she and her best friend Cassie disappear. When Sam returns, she has amnesia: no memory of what has happened or where Cassie is. Realizing she wasn't a very good person before her disappearance, Sam is grateful for the chance to start anew, but snippets of memory are coming back to her, and the more she remembers, the more danger she's in from someone who wants to make sure that night is kept secret forever.

"It's All Write!" Finalists Posted!

The finalists of the 2015 "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest are now officially posted! Thank you to all of the writers who participated. This year was the most competitive yet, with more entries than ever before and even better stories.

All writers are invited to the Awards Celebration on Sunday, June 7 with Rebecca Donovan for writing inspiration and delicious refreshments! Winners will be announced at the Awards Celebration and will be posted online on Monday, June 8.

Don't forget to keep on writing, writers of Ann Arbor and beyond! As Neil Gaiman so eloquently says, "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before." To keep up your skills all spring and summer long, check out AADL's list of writing resources and books for teens!

2015 "Write On!" 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Contest Winners!


Congratulations to the 2015 “Write On!” 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Contest Winners!

After a record 138 entries, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place stories were chosen from each grade, and the 2015 winners were announced at the Awards Celebration held on April 19th!

Come back soon to read this year’s short story submissions on the library website!

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Dan Wells


Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Dan Wells.

An avid reader and rabid gamer, Wells writes in a variety of genres, from dark humor to science fiction to supernatural thrillers. He grew up in the United States and spent copious amounts of time at his local library as a child. Although he didn't read much horror and didn't expect to write it, Wells somehow ended up doing just that, evidenced in his first book about teenage sociopath John Cleaver in I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER (2009). He is also the author of the young adult dystopian science fiction series called the Partials Sequence, starting with PARTIALS(2012) and followed by and FRAGMENTS and RUINS (2014). This series follows the teenage medic-in-training Kira Walker, who lives on the ravaged eastern seaboard of the US after a war between humans and an engineered race of organic beings that look human devastates the globe. North American survivors of the war and of the weaponized virus RM have gathered on Long Island to recover, but time is running out. Immunity to the virus has not been born into the human race in over a decade, and their numbers are dwindling. Kira must take it upon herself to save her people, discovering secret connections along the way between humans and Partials. PARTIALS ultimately must ask: What does it mean to be human?

Wells co-hosts (with author Brandon Sanderson, webcomic creator Howard Tayler, and author/puppeteer Mary Robinette Kowal) a weekly podcast about writing called "Writing Excuses." A list of his favorite things includes the movie Mary Poppins, the book Perfume by Patrick Suskind, and the word "defenestrate."

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Elizabeth Wein

Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Elizabeth Wein.

Wein's name may be familiar to you, or at least her big hit CODE NAME VERITY (2012) might be. An Edgar Award winner and a Printz Honor Book, CODE NAME VERITY is about a WWII-era spy codenamed "Verity," whose plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France, where she is captured by the Gestapo. To save herself from a grisly end, she agrees to confess her mission, and draws out her life story and the deep friendship with the pilot Maddie that led her to this point. The second book in the series is ROSE UNDER FIRE (2013), and the third book, out later this year, is BLACK DOVE, WHITE RAVEN (2015). In BLACK DOVE, 1920's stunt pilots Rhoda and Delia perform masterful feats in the air together but face mounting prejudice, as one of them is black and the other is white. When Delia dies, Rhoda takes her own child, Em, and Delia's child, Teo, to Ethiopia in an attempt to live a normal life. When Italy threatens an invasion of Ethiopia, the emperor calls on the famous pilot for help, and the children find themselves swept up in the crisis. Wein has also written a series of books (available now as ebooks) called THE LION HUNTERS, which draws on Arthurian legend and the historical Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum.

Wein has lived in New York, England, Jamaica, Pennsylvania, and most recently in Scotland. She is intensely interested in flying (a theme you may pick up from her books) and has a private pilot's license. She also has a PhD in Folklore and has published several papers on the topic.

Get to Know the Judges: Len Vlahos


Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Len Vlahos.

Vlahos is the father of two boys, an insomniac (those two things related, perhaps?), and a big fan of naps, John Green, the music service Pandora, and indie book stores and record stores. His debut book THE SCAR BOYS came out last year and was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award. The book is one that Vlahos calls "quasi-autobiographical" and is the coming-of-age story of Harry Jones and the power of music and friendship to heal wounds. Written as if it were a college admissions, THE SCAR BOYS looks back with humor and heart on Harry's life, starting from the incident when he was eight years old that left him scarred and ostracized, to middle school when he starts up a band with the guy who saved him from bullies, and up through high school when he experiences first love.

Vlahos's second book, HOUSE OF STONE, was recently acquired for publication by Bloomsbury. The tentative publication date is winter 2017.

Get to Know the Judges: Erin McCahan


Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Erin McCahan, an author born in our own beloved Michigan (East Grand Rapids)!

McCahan grew up in Ohio and is very proud of her Irish heritage. She's particularly interested in Victorian and Colonial history. Her published works include I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SOMEONE ELSE (2010) and LOVE AND OTHER FOREIGN WORDS (2014). LOVE is a comedic coming-of-age story in which gifted teenager Josie must contend with the upcoming nuptials of her sister to an insufferable fiance and the mixed emotions involving her boyfriend, her crush, and her best friend Stu. Josie's genius-level IQ can't help her out when it comes to mastering the languages of familial, romantic, or platonic relationships, but one way or another, she has to figure it out.

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Cyn Balog

Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of choosing the top three contenders in each grade. Up first is Cyn Balog, who also writes under the name Nichola Reilly.

Originally from New Jersey but now in Pennsylvania, Balog has written a number of paranormal and post-apocalyptic young adult novels, including FAIRY TALE (2009) and DROWNED (2014). Her books have been translated and published in Germany, Italy, and Hungary.

DROWNED is an unusual post-apocalyptic book (the first in a series) that takes place on an island where the tides routinely swallow up the land, and the only thing that saves the inhabitants is the creaky wooden platform they must stand on for hours at a time until the tides recede. Coe, the one-handed teenage protagonist, has always felt unwelcome among and reviled by her people. When the king who rules them falls ill, however, it's up to Coe to find answers to secrets long buried and to find a way to save everyone before the waters swallow them all whole.

Interesting facts about the author: She's obsessed with all things Disney, she once had a crayfish named Harry as a pet, and her favorite book is Charlotte's Web.

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