Juan Felipe Herrera
With 29 books published in poetry, spoken word, novels for young adults and collections for children, former De Anza instructor Juan Felipe Herrera continues to work for all audiences. Herrera’s recent writing awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, the Latino International Award, the PEN USA award and the Josephine Miles Pen/Oakland Award.
He is a member of the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poetry and recently was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown as the California Poet Laureate. His favorite color is Chile Verde green. He is professor of creative writing at UC Riverside. Herrera says, “If you want to write for the people pour kindness into every word.” Forthcoming book: “Senegal Taxi” (University of Arizona Press)
Elizabeth McKenzie is the author of “Stop That Girl,” a collection short-listed for The Story Prize, and the novel “MacGregor Tells the World,” a Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Her work has appeared in “The Atlantic Monthly” and Best American Nonrequired Reading, received a Pushcart Prize, and been recorded for NPR’s “Selected Shorts.” She was a NEA/Japan U.S.-Friendship Commission Fellow in 2010 and is editor of “My Postwar Life: New Writings from Japan and Okinawa,” published in 2012.
McKenzie is also an editor for the Chicago Quarterly Review and Catamaran Literary Reader. In 2010 and 2012, McKenzie was a judge for the William Saroyan International Prize for Literature from Stanford University.
Stephen Kuusisto is a graduate of Hobart College and the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa. He has studied as a Fulbright Scholar in Finland and currently directs the Renée Crown University Honors Program at Syracuse University, where he holds a university professorship in the Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies. He speaks widely on literature, diversity, disability, education and public policy. He is the author of “Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening” and the acclaimed memoir “Planet of the Blind,” a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
His debut collection of poems, “Only Bread, Only Light,” was published in 2000 by Copper Canyon Press. Recognized by the New York Times as “a powerful writer with a musical ear for language and a gift for emotional candor,” Kuusisto has made numerous appearances on programs including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Dateline NBC,” “National Public Radio” and the “BBC.” Visit his website at www.stephenkuusisto.com
Josh Kornbluth has been writing and performing his autobiographical monologues for over 20 years. His one-man shows include “Red Diaper Baby” (selected for the collection Best American Plays of 1992); “Haiku Tunnel” (adapted by Kornbluth and his brother Jacob into a feature film that played at the Sundance Film Festival and was distributed nationally by Sony Pictures Classics); “The Mathematics of Change” (just out on DVD as a concert film); “Ben Franklin: Unplugged, Love & Taxes” (currently being adapted by the Kornbluth brothers into another feature film); “Citizen Josh” and most recently “Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?” His “Red Diaper Baby: 3 Comic Monologues”is available in print and as an audio book.
In 2002, Kornbluth collaborated with the San Francisco Mime Troupe in writing their summer show, “Mr. Smith Goes to Obscuristan.” For two years he hosted the “Josh Kornbluth Show,” on San Francisco’s public TV station KQED. Kornbluth lives in Berkeley with his wife and son. Visit his website at joshkornbluth.com.
Kornbluth photo courtesy of William Mercer McLeod
Student Literary Competition
Contact: Ken Weisner