Meet the Louise Meriwether First Book Prize Judges:
YZ Chin was born and raised in Taiping, Malaysia and now lives in New York. She works as a software engineer by day and a writer by night, and is the premier winner of the Louise Meriwether First Book Prize.
Glory Edim is the founder of Well-Read Black Girl (WRBG), a Brooklyn-based book club and digital platform that celebrates the uniqueness of Black literature and sisterhood. In fall 2017 she organized the first-ever Well-Read Black Girl Festival. She has worked as a creative strategist for over ten years at startups and cultural institutions, including The Webby Awards and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Most recently, she was the Publishing Outreach Specialist at Kickstarter, where she helped writers use the platform to build community and find funding for their creative projects. She is currently working on her first book, Well-Read Black Girl: Telling Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves, to be published by Random House in 2018. She serves on the board of New York City's Housing Works Bookstore and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Tyler Ford is an award-winning agender advocate, writer, and speaker whose creative and critical writing on queer and trans identity inspires, comforts, and challenges a diverse spectrum of audiences. Ford is an editor at Condé Nast’s LGBTQ+ platform, them.
Natalia Oberti Noguera
Dubbed "The Coach" by Marie Claire, Natalia (aka Ms. Oberti Noguera) is Founder & CEO of Pipeline Angels. Pipeline Angels is changing the face of angel investing and creating capital for women and nonbinary femme social entrepreneurs. Natalia is also Creator & Host of Pitch Makeover, a podcast on pitching and investing that spotlights startups launched by women, nonbinary people, and men of color. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature & Economics from Yale, as well as an MA in Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. Natalia serves on the boards of Walker's Legacy, Women 2.0, and iRelaunch.
Inc. Magazine selected Natalia as one of "The Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs of 2016," Latina.com included her in their list of "25 Latinas Who Shine in Tech," and Women's eNews recognized her as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century for 2012. StartOut, a network of LGBTQ entrepreneurs, honored Natalia with the 2017 Nixon Peabody Trailblazer Award, "recognizing an entrepreneur whose pioneering approach or vision has set a trend for an entire industry."
Brontez Purnell has been publishing, performing, and curating in the Bay Area for over ten years. He is author of the cult zine Fag School, Since I Laid My Burden Down, Johnny Would You Love Me If My Dick Were Bigger, frontman for his band The Younger Lovers, and founder and choreographer of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company. Formerly a dancer with Gravy Train!!!, a queer electro indie band that gained national prominence in the mid-2000s, Purnell's other prominent artistic collaborations include his supporting role in the queer independent feature film, "I Want Your Love" (dir. Travis Mathews, 2012).
He was a guest curator for the Berkeley Art Museum's L@TE program in 2012, awarded an invitation to the 2012 Radar Lab queer arts summer residency, honored by Out magazine's 2012 Hot 100 List and 2013 Most Eligible Bachelors List, won the 2014 SF Bay Guardian's Goldie for Performance/Music, and received the 2018 Whiting Award for Fiction.
Emily Raboteau is the author of a novel, The Professor's Daughter, and a work of creative nonfiction, Searching for Zion, a finalist for the Hurston Wright Legacy Award, and winner of a 2014 American Book Award. Her fiction and essays have been widely published and anthologized in Best American Short Stories, The New York Times, The New Yorker, McSweeney's, The Believer, Tin House, The Guardian, VQR, and elsewhere. Honors include a Pushcart Prize, The Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the NY Foundation for the Arts, the Lannan Foundation, and the MacDowell Colony. An avid world traveler, Raboteau resides in New York City and teaches creative writing in Harlem at City College, once known as "the poor man's Harvard."
Melissa R. Sipin
Melissa R. Sipin is a writer from Carson, CA. She won Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open and the Washington Square Review’s Flash Fiction Prize. She co-edited Kuwento: Lost Things, an anthology on Philippine myths (Carayan Press 2014), and her work has been featured in Guernica Magazine, PEN/Guernica Flash Series, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Eleven Eleven Magazine, and Amazon’s literary journal Day One, among others. Cofounder of TAYO Literary Magazine, her fiction has won scholarships and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Poets & Writers Inc., Kundiman, VONA/Voices Conference, Squaw Valley’s Community of Writers, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and was shortlisted for the David Wong Fellowship at the University of East Anglia. She is represented by Sarah Levitt at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency in New York City and is hard at work on a collection of stories and novel. More at www.msipin.com
Jamia Wilson is the executive director and publisher of the Feminist Press. Jamia Wilson joins the Press after serving as Executive Director of Women, Action, & the Media, a direct-action network dedicated to creating gender justice in media at all levels. Previously, Wilson has served as TED Prize Storyteller and VP of Programs at Women’s Media Center. A thought leader and writer, Wilson has contributed to New York Magazine, the New York Times, The Today Show, and the Guardian, and is a columnist for Rookie. In 2016 Wilson was honored as a Black Feminist Human Rights Defender by Black Women’s Blueprint and was recognized by Refinery29 as one of “17 Faces of the Future of Feminism“ in 2013.