The Judges

Our 2019 Panel

Arianna Rebolini is the books editor at BuzzFeed News, and co-author of the novel Public Relations. Her writing has also appeared in GQ, the Guardian, the Atlantic, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two fat cats.

Kate Petersen’s work has appeared in New England Review, Kenyon Review, Zyzzyva, Epoch, the Paris Review Daily, Literary Hub, and elsewhere. A former Wallace Stegner fellow and Jones Lecturer in creative writing at Stanford University, she currently serves as coordinator for the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

Chelsea Leu is a writer and a 2018-2019 NBCC Emerging Critic whose work has appeared in the New York Times, WIRED, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, and others.

Nichole Perkins is a writer who focuses on the intersections of pop culture, race, sex, gender, and relationships. She co-hosts Thirst Aid Kit, a BuzzFeed podcast about pop culture, desire, and the female gaze. Her first collection of poetry, Lilith, but Dark, was published by Publishing Genius in 2018. Nichole loves Prince, romance novels, the television show Frasier (specifically Niles Crane), and remains in search of the perfect juicy lipgloss. A native of Nashville, Tenn., Nichole currently lives in Brooklyn.

Molly Fischer is a senior editor at The Cut and host of The Cut on Tuesdays podcast. Her writing has appeared in New York Magazine, Bookforum, n+1, and elsewhere.

J. Howard Rosier lives in Chicago, where he edits the journal Critics’ Union. His writing has appeared in The New Criterion, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of the James Nelson Raymond Fellowship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an Emerging Critics Fellowship from the National Book Critics Circle.

Willa Paskin is the TV Critic at Slate and the host of the podcast Decoder Ring.

Evan Handler is best known as an actor for portraying two iconic characters in two highly popular TV shows, HBO’s Sex and the City, and Showtime’s Californication, and for playing leading roles in seven Broadway productions during a nine-year stretch back in the early 1980s through early 1990s. He has played leading and featured roles in the films and TV shows Ransom, Taps, The West Wing, Lost, Too Big to Fail, The People v. OJ Simpson, and many more. In 2019 he’ll be seen as a regular in the Starz series Power, and as legendary producer/director Harold Prince in FX’s Fosse/Verdon. Handler is also the author of two books, Time on Fire: My Comedy of Terrors (Little/Brown; Owl Books), and It’s Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive (Riverhead), each of which delve into different aspects of his battle with, victory over, and the long-term aftermath of, a supposedly “incurable” leukemia diagnosed in 1985.

Sandy Allen is the author of A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story about Schizophrenia (Scribner). Sandy writes and speaks about mental health, gender, normalcy, and power. Their essays and features stories have been published by BuzzFeed News, CNN Opinion, Bon Appétit’s Healthyish, and Pop-Up Magazine. Sandy was previously BuzzFeed News’s deputy features editor. They also founded and ran the online-only literary quarterly Wag’s Revue. Sandy is nonbinary trans. They live in the Catskills with their husband, dog, cats, garden beds, and sourdough starter.

Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt is the Life editor at the Forward. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, Tablet, and Haaretz. Avital teaches journalism at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women and is at work on a novel.

ToB 2019 Reader Judge Christy Heron-Clark is a science editor and writer living in Northern California. A wildfire recently destroyed her childhood home of Paradise, Calif., but it gave her a new appreciation for the permanence of stories and value of shared narratives. She dreams of one day being a librarian—if only she could cultivate her quiet voice.

Tomi Obaro is a senior editor at BuzzFeed Reader, BuzzFeed News’s home for cultural criticism, personal essays, poetry, and features.

Myriam Gurba is the author of Mean (Coffee House 2017). She has toured North America several times with the literary cabaret Sister Spit, and her “multi-media” artwork has been exhibited in galleries and museums. She teaches economics and civics to high school seniors. She loves money.

Rion Amilcar Scott’s short-story collection, Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky, 2016) was awarded the 2017 PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. His work has been published in journals such as Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, and The Rumpus, among others. The World Doesn’t Require You, his sophomore story collection, is forthcoming from Liveright in August 2019.

A graduate of Columbia University and Goucher College’s MFA program in Creative Nonfiction, Kelsey Osgood has contributed pieces to publications including New York, the New Yorker’s Culture Desk blog, Time, Harper’s, Literary Hub, and Jezebel. Her first book, How to Disappear Completely: On Modern Anorexia, was chosen for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program. She was a consultant to former head of the FDA David Kessler, MD, on his book Capture: Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering. She edited The Read Along column at The Rumpus, has a blog no one but her husband and her dad read, and a Twitter account with 13 followers.

SJ Sindu was born in Sri Lanka and raised in Massachusetts. Sindu’s first novel, Marriage of a Thousand Lies, won the Publishing Triangle Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and the Golden Crown Literary Society Award for Debut Fiction, was selected by the American Library Association as a Stonewall Honor Book, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and the VCU First Novelist Award. Sindu lives in Tampa, Fla., and teaches at Ringling College of Art and Design.

Zan Romanoff is a full-time freelance writer and author of the novels A Song to Take the World Apart and Grace and the Fever, as well as Look, which is forthcoming from Dial Books for Young Readers in 2020. Her work has appeared in print and online for BuzzFeed, The Cut, Eater, GQ, the Los Angeles Times, the Paris Review Daily, Playboy, and the Washington Post, among other outlets. She lives and writes in Los Angeles.

Our Commentators

TMN co-founder Rosecrans Baldwin is the author of three books, including his latest novel The Last Kid Left (NPR’s Best Books of the Year). His nonfiction appears in a variety of magazines, mostly GQ.

Kevin Guilfoile is the author of two novels, Cast of Shadows and The Thousand, that have been translated into more than 20 languages. His latest book, a memoir, is A Drive Into the Gap. He is also co-screenwriter of the feature film Chasing the Blues.

Jessica Francis Kane is the author of a novel and two story collections. Her second novel, Rules for Visiting, will be published by Penguin Press in May. (Preorder it here.)

Nozlee Samadzadeh is a senior engineer at Vox Product. She was formerly the producer of the Tournament of Books.

Pitchaya Sudbanthad is the author of Bangkok Wakes to Rain, published by Riverhead (US) and Sceptre (UK).

John Warner is the author most recently of Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities, and The Writer’s Practice: Building Confidence in Your Nonfiction Writing. He writes weekly for the Chicago Tribune on books and reading and lives in the Charleston, SC, area.

Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN.