Judges & Panelists

Welcome to the Judge and Panel page! Below you will find the short bios and website links to the Judges and Panelists in each category of the Indie Lit Awards.


Wallace (Unputdownables)

Wallace grew up in a home where reading was preferred to TV, playing outside was more popular than playing Atari (yes, Atari — but she admits to playing Frogger whenever she could squeeze a game in when older brothers weren’t around), and eating carob instead of chocolate and local goat’s milk instead of store bought cow’s milk was the norm (though she quickly recognized this was not the norm for all of her friends, and stole away to their houses to gorge on processed foods and soda whenever she could). As an adult, she is happy that most of the above stuck… though there is plenty more TV in her week and she doesn’t have to go to a friend’s house to binge on junk food anymore. She reviews an eclectic mix of literature spanning from graphic novels to classics. After teaching for seven years, Wallace now does consulting in child care and keeps the blog Unputdownables. You can find her on Twitter @unputdwnables or you can reach her at: unputdownableswebsite@gmail.com.

Speculative Fiction


Bryce (The Stamp of Approval and Only the Best SciFi and Fantasy)

While blown away by The Lord of the Rings trilogy years earlier, Bryce was still a bit of a late-comer to Speculative Fiction; not truly becoming obsessive until a college friend introduced him to such great works as Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince series and George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Having normally gravitated toward math and science, Bryce attributes his obsessive reading to being the reason he is currently attending law school. Bryce is active on multiple Speculative Fiction forums and contributes reviews to two book review blogs.


Jamie (Mithril Wisdom)

Jamie has been an avid reader of fantasy fiction for as long as he can remember, and has attempted several times to write about the surreal stories and characters that fight for space in his head. He is a graduate of Egyptology, specializing in Egyptian religion, mythology and folklore, which carries his love of the fantastical into academia. Jamie is currently working on (read: always thinking about but never writing) a fantasy novel that blends traditional fantasy elements with Celtic mythology and vampire mythology.

Gem (Gemzina)

Gem is a very new blogger from New Zealand who has been an avid reader all her life. There were times when she was younger that her parents banned her from reading! Fortunately Gem’s obsession with reading has continued and after a very long stint at University she decided to share her love of books with the blogosphere. Gem loves exploring the darker side of fiction, no happy endings are required, and so her primary interest is in Dark Fantasy and Science Fiction. In her spare time Gem writes, beads and learns guitar.

Jared (Pornokitsch)

Jared does all his reading on the way into work. He wishes he lived further away from the office.

Literary Fiction


Lyndsey (Amused, Bemused, and Confused)

Lyndsey Jenkins is a speechwriter and part-time creative writing student from London. She likes carrot cake (baking and eating), Tina Fey, photography, playing squash, South Indian food, Sunday afternoons, and planning set-lists just in case she is ever invited to join a band. She has a tendency towards over-enthusiasm. She reads mostly biography, classics and contemporary literary fiction. Favourite books include The Blind Assassin, Howards End, Sense and Sensibility, and Paradise. When Wolf Hall did not win the Booker, she thought, well, someone had better show these professional judges what’s what. She writes about books and splurges out random thoughts at www.teadevotee.com. Contact her on twitter @teadevotee or teadevotee(at)gmail.com

Ti (Book Chatter)

Lover of all things bookish, Tina, or Ti as she likes to be called, is the creator of Book Chatter, a blog about books, where she chats with friends about books and life. Blogging since 2008, she’s gotten to know quite a few bloggers both virtually and face-to-face and never tires of the interaction that gushing about books creates. She adores Literary Fiction but has been known to read other genres too…specifically Dystopian Fiction. Who knew? Her favorite authors are Cormac McCarthy, Ian McEwan, John Steinbeck, and George Orwell. She lives in Southern California with The Hub and her two kids, works full-time, and secretly wishes for a Housewives of Santa Clarita so she can leave her job as a technical writer. She can be reached at bookishchatter[at]gmail[dot]com or on Twitter @tibookchatter.


Jill (Fizzy Thoughts)

Mild-mannered government employee by day, intrepid reader by night, Jill blogs about the books she reads at Fizzy Thoughts. She tries not to play favorites, although she does tend to gravitate towards literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, and travel memoirs. Jill readily admits to being a cover whore, and also a sucker for gadgets (although her nook, Calliope, isn’t too fond of the word gadget). She’s been known to post reviews written by her pet goat, Billy, and rewrite songs from a bookish perspective. She also enjoys laughing at the poses her yoga instructor tries to get her to do, hanging out with her surfing boyfriend (when he’s on dry land), and traveling. She’s currently planning a trip to Boston, so if you have any hot tips, please do let her know. Twitter @fizzythoughts.

Matt (A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook)

Matt is an avid reader since he was little. Not a single day goes by without his reading at least a chapter of the current novel. He is an archivist at a research library, which allows him to coalesce hobby with work. An eclectic reader, he admires Toni Morrison, Jose Saramago, James Baldwin, and most recently, David Mitchell. He splits his time between reading and exploring the outdoors.

Meg (Write Meg)

Meg is an editor, writer and avid reader from Maryland. When she’s not flipping the pages of a paperback, she’s crocheting a scarf, baking exotic cupcakes or taking photos of her dog, boyfriend and any family member within grabbing distance. A 2007 graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.A. in English Literature, Meg’s poetry and short stories have appeared in regional publications. Her personal column “Right, Meg?” runs in three newspapers in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Favorite authors include Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Safran Foer, Megan McCafferty and Meg Cabot. Read her bookish thoughts and random adventures at her blog, www.writemeg.com, and follow her on Twitter @writemeg.

Melody (Fingers and Prose)

Melody’s love for literary fiction began when she realized it was much more satisfying to read L.M. Montgomery than The Babysitter’s Club. This love was solidified later on with books like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and How Green Was My Valley. She can’t help it; she loves the creativity and insight, the unique experience each book brings. She also enjoys historical fiction/non-fiction, junior fiction, and the classics (relegating the science fiction to her husband’s nightstand.) One of her favorite things about her two book clubs is the exposure to books she wouldn’t normally choose to read. When she isn’t reading (or trying to get her four kiddos to read—she’s currently homeschooling three of them which gives her unending opportunities to foist books on them), she can be found procrastinating chores, avoiding eating vegetables, and appreciating or creating something artsy.



Cass (Bonjour, Cass!)

Cass is a twenty-something disgruntled accountant who uses reading and blogging to exercise the neglected right half of her brain. In high school she was elected President of her rural Connecticut hometown’s Young Adult Advisory Board, where she successfully campaigned to add Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and other significant books to the otherwise Sweet Valley High-dominated YA section of the library. This brief stint as an advocate for compelling, realistic novels helped inspire a passion for books that authentically portray otherwise neglected communities. As a self-identified queer person, she is particularly interested in supporting representative GLBTQ books. Cass now lives in Boston with her partner, their three cats, and an ever expanding library of queer non-fiction. She blogs at bonjourcass.com, and can be reached on Twitter as @bonjourcass, or email her at bonjourcass AT gmail DOT com.


Amy (Amy Reads)

Amy works as a consultant for a software consultant which means quite a bit of travel and many days in airports, giving her the perfect excuse to read more books. She enjoys reading non-fiction, young adult, and adult fiction – especially if it has anything to do with women or gender issues (including, of course, GLBTQ studies). Always an introvert who preferred staying home with a book to going out, twitter and book blogging has rescued her from endless conversations with herself. You can chat with her on Twitter @amckiereads or send her an email at amy[dot]mckie[at]gmail[dot]com (or chat on gchat!).

Danika (The Lesbrary)

Danika is a reader, a bookstore worker, a student (English major, Women’s Studies minor), a vegan, and a lesbian–but mostly the first one. When she discovered the awesomeness that is book blogging, she went looking for an active lesbian book blog. Unsuccessful, she resolved to start her own, and The Lesbrary was born. She loves talking about lesbian books with anyone who will listen, so feel free to contact her at danikaellis[at]gmail[dot]com.

Jodie (Book Gazing)

Jodie is a 25 year old woman from the West Midlands in England. She has been blogging at Book Gazing for just over two years, but lurked around reading book blogs for six years before embracing technology. She will read anything as long as someone can make it sound exciting and anticipates that her obituary will involve some mention of falling book stacks. In 2010 Jodie was one of the organizers of Nerds Heart YA tournament, which attempts to interest readers in quality, young adult novels that have received low levels of publicity and presented characters that are often underrepresented in young adult fiction. Right now she’s involved in organizing the first European Book Blogger Conference.

Trisha (eclectic/ eccentric)

Trisha is rather obsessed with reading, reviewing, logging, discussing, organizing, smelling, and touching books. No tasting though. That’s just strange. Her job feeds her passion as she teaches literature, composition, and film to (mostly) eager undergraduate students. Her blog, eclectic / eccentric, features book reviews written by a college professor who sees value in both Hamlet and Harry Potter. Classic lit, graphic novels, SFF, YAL, plays, and films, all that can be read is included. As the title of her blog indicates, she is varied in her interests, so books of all styles, genres, shapes, and sizes find their way into her library and onto her blog. When she isn’t immersed in the world of books – which let’s face it, is not too often – she enjoys watching movies and television. And when she finally realizes that she hasn’t moved off her couch in days, she likes hiking and riding her bike.



Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

Kim is a journalist and book blogger from Madison, Wisconsin, has been blogging since May 2008. She received her Master’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and now works for a trade magazine in the design engineering and manufacturing sector. In her free time, she is a reader, blogger, and freelance writer. She loves to read non-fiction, but also finds time for literary fiction, comics, and classics. Her blog, Sophisticated Dorkiness, was voted 2010 Best Non-Fiction Book Blog for Book Blogger Appreciation week. You can also find Kim on Twitter, @kimthedork.


Debbie (Readerbuzz)

Debbie Nance started reading before she was potty trained. She joyfully works as a school librarian in a primary school where she spends her days sharing her love for books with 574 four to eight year olds. She gave up watching television in 2003 so as to have more time to read. Debbie Nance loves to read literary fiction, brilliantly written nonfiction, and children’s picture books. Her blog is Readerbuzz (www.readerbuzz.blogspot.com), her email is debnance@gmail.com, her Twitter name is debnance, and at Facebook she is Debbie Ashley Nance. She is also crazy about playing guitar, drawing, writing, puppets, traveling, Scrabble, gardens, and walking … and let’s not forget serendipity and paradox…

Betty (Reflections with Coffee)

Betty, Reflections with Coffee, started reading at age three and never stopped. She’s a fourth-generation teacher, recently retired. Ah, the joys of retirement allow her to sit all day in her La-Z-Boy chair with a cat and a book on her lap. Betty has had the best of both worlds: 12 years as a SAHM and 28 years of teaching. She is an eclectic reader, going through different phases. Roald Dahl is a family favorite — the bookshelf includes all of his children’s and adult books. When not reading, Betty travels, plays games with friends, goes to Cirque du Soliel shows, and chases her 20-month-old grandson (now she knows the meaning of the word GRAND).

Florinda (The 3R’s Blog)

An avid reader since the age of four, Florinda discovered as she entered her forties that she was losing track of what she’d read, and started her blog in March 2007 as a means of correcting that situation. She’s found it very useful. She uses the blog for other things as well – the second and third R’s in its name – but it’s still primarily about books. She prefers contemporary fiction of no particular genre, but has always liked to combine it with nonfiction, primarily memoir, biography, and history. In her offline life, Florinda is a wife, mother, stepmother, and accountant.

Shauna (Evergreen Junior High Library)

I have been a librarian for 12 years, and working in schools for 7. I have been the Teacher-Librarian at Evergreen JH, the school where I attended junior high, since 2007. I have served on numerous American Library Association award committees, including The SB&F Best Books for Young Adults award, and YALSA’s Popular Paperbacks.  I am currently serving on the 2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee (BFYA, formerly BBYA for all you teen librarian).

Mary (A Novel Idea)


17 Responses to Judges & Panelists

  1. I was wondering if you were going to add a Romance or Erotica category to the awards, because that would be awesome. And also? I’d love to volunteer as a judge on that one.

    • Wallace says:

      Wonderful! Yes, we are open to adding categories that we can find competent judges for. I will e-mail you about this for next year’s awards (I am hoping to start putting judges in place in March).

  2. Melissa says:

    Was wondering if you would be considering adding a YA section to the awards next year. If you are, then I would love to be a judge for this section.

  3. Sally says:

    If you find yourself in need of judges for next year, hon, I would absolutely be interested. GLBTQ is my speciality, Speculative Fiction my passion, and I love the idea of a Romance/Erotica category.

    Regardless, kudos on a wonderful idea!

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  5. sagustocox says:

    I think Poetry should be added to the list of awards for 2011. Thanks for considering it. What a great idea!

  6. Adam says:

    Love this project!

    I voted back in November, but I wanted to add that, if you are ever interested in adding a male-perspective to the GLBT judging panel, I would be thrilled to jump on board.

    Keep up the great work, all!

  7. iubookgirl says:

    Sorry to see you couldn’t get a Mystery panel together. I’d love to participate next year as a Mystery judge.

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  10. Literary Feline says:

    I would also be interested in possibly being a panelist/judge in a crime fiction (mysteries, suspense, thrillers) category, if you do add it in the future.

  11. Beth F says:

    I would be happy to serve on a a panel if you are still looking for 2011 judges.

Comments are closed.