The Rooster

Rooster Merch Now Available

Rooster Shirts, Judges, and Brackets, Oh My!

The Fifth Annual Tournament of Books is preparing to launch in a few weeks. Here are this year’s brackets for your office-gambling pleasure, as well as information about the 2009 judges and our brand new Rooster tees.

The Fifth Annual Tournament of Books, sponsored by Powell’s Books, will begin on Monday, March 9, 2009. If you missed the Tournament’s announcement papers, click here to read the introduction and the list of contenders.

In the meantime, we’ve got this year’s brackets for you to print out and pass around your office/English department/OTB for friendly gambling purposes. We’ve also rounded up some new Rooster T-shirts, sized for readers of all ages (show your spirit for the other March Madness!), as well as our list of this year’s judges.

A few words on each:

The brackets provided below do not include the results from your Zombie votes. To maintain a bit of suspense, those will be released by the ToB commentators as the Tournament progresses. And because we’ll have reader comments this year, you’ll be able to curse like a sailor if your favorite book gets booted.

The 2009 Rooster T-shirts feature our favorite aggro domestic fowl, the Tyler Hansbrough of publishing awards, nicely silk-screened on men’s and women’s American Apparel shirts. They’re available for sale over here.

The judges for this year’s Tournament are listed below, including last year’s Rooster winner Junot Díaz. As we do every year, we’ll be publishing any conflicts and/or connections the judges have with the contestants when the Tournament begins.

We’d also love to remind you that Powell’s Books is offering this year’s contending titles at a 30% discount. Support the economy and one of America’s finest bookstores and get reading! And yes, very soon we're told, Coudal Partners will be doing their terrific handicapping job where you can wager money on the Rooster, win prizes, and buy books for charity. We'll have an update on that soon.

As you can tell, we can’t wait to begin the bloodbath. For now, join us on Facebook, catch us on Twitter, fill out your brackets, start a Rooster pool with friends, and don the ceremonial garments. We’ll see you here at The Morning News on March 9th.

The 2009 ToB Brackets, Books, and T-Shirts

The 2009 ToB Judges List

Monica Ali is most recently the author of Alentejo Blue. Her previous novel, Brick Lane, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2003.

ToB Co-Chair Rosecrans Baldwin is a founding editor of The Morning News. His first novel, You Lost Me There, is coming out soon from Riverhead Books. You can find him on Twitter or at his personal site.

Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News blog on In his free time he’s hard at work on his fictional memoir. He denies that David Denby wrote Snark just for him, although it seems entirely likely.

Junot Díaz is the author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, winner of the Rooster in 2008.

TMN Contributing Writer Anthony Doerr lives in Idaho. He’s the author of three books: The Shell Collector, About Grace, and Four Seasons in Rome. For a year he had an office across the hall from Toni Morrison’s office, and he once interviewed Marilynne Robinson in front of lots of people.

Jonathan Eig is a contributing writer for the Wall Street Journal, and has written for Esquire, the New Republic, Men’s Health, and many other publications. His books include Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, and Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season.

TMN Copy Editor Liz Entman has lived in Nashville, St. Louis, and New York City. She is currently roaming the East Coast in search of a parking spot. You may enjoy her blog, or not.

Amanda Hesser has been a food columnist and editor at the New York Times for more than a decade. She has written two award-winning books, The Cook and the Gardener and Cooking for Mr. Latte, and edited the recently published collection of food essays, Eat, Memory. Her next book will be a compilation of recipes from the New York Times going back to the 1850s. Hesser is also a founder of She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Tad Friend, and their two children.

John Hodgman is the author of The Areas of My Expertise and More Information Than You Require. His writings have appeared in the Paris Review, One Story, McSweeney’s, Wired, and the New York Times Magazine. He is also a contributor to This American Life and an occasional commentator on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Jonah Lehrer is an editor-at-large for Seed magazine and the author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist. He’s written for the New Yorker, Nature, Wired, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe, and regularly contributes to NPR’s “Radio Lab.”

C. Max Magee created and edits The Millions, a popular literature and culture website with several regular contributors and frequent guest appearances by literary all-stars. He has appeared on NPR’s “Weekend Edition” and Minnesota Public Radio’s “Midmorning,” and has written for Poets and Writers and various other online and dead-tree publications. He and his wife live in Philadelphia.

Maud Newton is a writer, blogger, and book reviewer. Her book reviews and opinions have been published in newspapers such as the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, American Prospect, and Newsday. You can visit her blog here.

David Rees is the creator of the “Get Your War On” cartoon series, which was recently collected into a book published by Soft Skull Press. His other comic series and books include My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable, My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable, and Adventures of Confessions of Saint Augustine Bear. He is also a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post. Visit his website here.

TMN Contributing Artist Witold Riedel is a draftsman, photographer, and writer who explores the often-unfamiliar corners of the seemingly familiar universe. He was born in Poland, lived in Germany (in the city where the Grimm Brothers were born, actually) for many years, yet is a New Yorker by choice. He recently moved to Kensington, Brooklyn.

Mary Roach’s books include Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, and most recently, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. More info at

TMN Managing Editor Kate Schlegel is—most days—an assistant news editor for the website of the Wall Street Journal. She is from Columbus (Ohio, but she shouldn’t need to clarify that), she knows the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs, and she is oddly proud of both of these accomplishments. In her free time, she enjoys living in Brooklyn, knitting (mostly hats), and running in the park (mostly fast).

ToB Co-Chair Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. You can follow him on Twitter here.

And a word about our men in the booth…

ToB Chairman and Commentator Kevin Guilfoile’s debut novel, Cast of Shadows is now available in paperback. He is also the co-author (with John Warner) of the best-selling book My First Presidentiary: A Scrapbook by George W. Bush. His second novel, The Thousand, will be released later this year by Alfred A. Knopf.

ToB Commentator John Warner is the author, most recently, of So You Want to Be President? He is the editor of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and teaches at Clemson University.


The Tournament of Books’ organizers Andrew Womack and Rosecrans Baldwin are TMN’s co-founders. Baldwin’s most recent book is Everything Now, winner of the 2022 California Book Award. For his other books, try More by The Tournament of Books Staff