Meet the judges



Laurie Stolarz is the author of several popular young adult novels including the Dark House series, the Touch series, Project 17Shutter, and Bleed, (all published by Disney/Hyperion Books for Children), as well as the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series (Flux Publications). With over a million books sold worldwide, Stolarz’s titles have been translated into thirty languages, been named on numerous award lists, including the Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers list and the Top Ten Teen Pick list, both through the American Library Association, and have been optioned for TV. Her newest book, Jane Anonymous, will be released in January, 2020 by Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press. She is currently working on its companion book. For more information, please visit her Web site at


Creative Nonfiction 

Phyllis Karas is a professor of journalism at Boston University, a stringer for People Magazine, and the author of ten books. Brutal was a NYT bestseller; The Onassis Woman was the subject of a Dateline NBC Special.  Her work has appeared in Vogue, Miami HeraldBoston Magazine and Moment Magazine, where her story on Kosher Slaughter received the Simon Rockower Award for Excellence. She has been interviewed on Extra, Hollywood Access, and Hard Ball.




 Claire Keyes is Professor emerita at Salem State University, where she taught for thirty years and served as English Department Chair and Coordinator of the Graduate English Programs. The recipient of a grant in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, she also received a poetry fellowship from the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. Her reviews, essays and poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Women’s Review of BooksSpoon River Poetry Review, and on-line in Valparaiso Review and Rattle, among others. The Question of Rapture, a book of poems, was published in 2008 by Mayapple Press. A second collection, What Diamonds Can Do, appeared in 2015, published by Word Tech Communications. She lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, conducts the Poetry Salon at the Abbot Library, and teaches poetry courses for the Salem State Explorers, a lifelong learning program.