The Judges

Our 2020 Panel

Ratik Asokan writes about literature, film, and photography. Originally from Mumbai, India, he presently lives in New York, where he works at The Baffler.

Jade Chang’s debut novel, The Wangs vs. the World, was named one of the best books of the year by NPR, Elle, BuzzFeed, and Amazon and has been published in 12 countries. Jade lives and works in Los Angeles.

Micco Caporale is a Chicago-based writer. Her work has appeared in outlets such as Pitchfork, Nylon, and In These Times. She writes a monthly column for Audiofemme and produces Bad Reputation, a women’s rock history podcast. When not entombed in music books, she listens to hair metal while powerlifting. (Yes, really.)

ToB 2020 Reader Judge Heather Cothran is a high school English teacher who lives in St. Louis with her husband and teenage children. Between work and home, adolescent sarcasm abounds. One of her earliest and happiest childhood memories is coming home from the bookmobile with her weekly supply in a Radio Flyer wagon, and one of her proudest moments is winning on Jeopardy!

As a musician, Dessa has appeared on the Billboard Top 200 charts; contributed to The Hamilton Mixtape; and toured the US, Europe, China, and South Africa. As a writer, her work has appeared in the New York Times and National Geographic Traveler. Her memoir in essays, My Own Devices, was recently published by Dutton Books—you can see one of her essays presented as the TED talk, "Can We Chose to Fall Out of Love?" Dessa splits her time between Minneapolis, Manhattan, and a tour van coasting at six miles per hour above the legal limit. To check out music, musings, photos, and updates from the road, find her on Instagram and Twitter.

Meghan Deans is the Senior Marketing Director of Ecco and a playwright. She lives in New York City and gives reasonably good advice.

Catie Disabato’s debut novel, The Ghost Network, was published by Melville House in 2015. She has written criticism and commentary for BuzzFeed, LAist, and Medium. She lives in Los Angeles.

Deena ElGenaidi is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. She is currently working on a novel and a web series, and her work has been published in NYLON, MTV News, Longreads, Bustle, and elsewhere. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Lovia Gyarkye is a writer based in New York. She doesn’t tweet much, but feel free to follow her.

Barry Harbaugh is a senior editor at Amazon Original Stories.

Jeanna Kadlec’s writing has appeared in Elle, O the Oprah Magazine, Literary Hub, NYLON, Allure, and more. She is a culture columnist at Longreads.

Ethan Kuperberg is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and writer. He won a Peabody Award for his work on the TV series Transparent and most recently wrote on the upcoming TV series Pachinko for Apple TV. He is a regular comedy contributor to the New Yorker’s Shouts & Murmurs.

Debbie Millman is a designer, author, curator and educator. Since 2005, she has been the host of the award-winning podcast Design Matters, which is one of the world’s first and longest running podcasts. She is also co-founder and chair of the world’s first graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts, editorial director of Print magazine, and the author of six books on design and branding. She has worked on the design and strategy of over 200 of the world’s biggest brands and is currently Chair of the Board of Directors for Law & Order SVU actor and activist Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation.

Maret Orliss is the Associate Director of Events, Programming at the Los Angeles Times. She oversees the team behind programming the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the largest literary festival in the United States, plus The Taste, Envelope Live, Indie Focus Screening Series, Ideas Exchange series, and much more. When not at work (or reading obviously) you can find her binge-watching romcoms, drinking cocktails with friends, traveling to a new country, or boxing at the gym.

Helen Rosner is the New Yorker’s food correspondent; occasionally, she also writes about the inedible.

Jeannie Vanasco is the author of the memoirs Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl (2019) and The Glass Eye (2017). She lives in Baltimore and teaches at Towson University.

Jenny G. Zhang is a culture writer in New York. She currently works for Vox Media’s Eater, where she writes about things that tangentially have to do with food. Other places to find her include Twitter and her newsletter "annotations" in which she annotates and recommends magazine stories to read around the web.

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. His next book, a work of creative nonfiction about Los Angeles County, is forthcoming from MCD x Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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.

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.

TMN co-founder Andrew Womack is always working on the next installment of his Albums of the Year series.