Interested in being a juror for the Florida Book Awards? Complete the form linked to indicate your interest, background and qualifications, and provide your contact information. As juror positions open in each category, the Florida Book Awards Director will refer to this list to review qualifications and interest when reaching out to potential jurors for the upcoming awards cycle.

Select the category for the judges
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Ron was born in the South Carolina Low Country where he grew to love the wildlife and sounds of the swamp. He received a BA in philosophy from the College of Charleston, an MA from the University of South Carolina, and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. He moved to Florida in 1988 and since 1995 has taught at the College of Central Florida in Ocala where he lives with his wife Sandra (also a CF faculty member) and their three children.

 

Ron's fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in publications such as Chattahoochee ReviewYalobusha ReviewApostropheTimber Creek ReviewDeep South Magazine, and The Blotter. His novels The Gospel of the TwinHume's Fork, and Purple Jesus are available from Bancroft Press

Cooking

Cooking
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Katharine Zimmerman is a native Floridian with family roots reaching back to the Spanish settlers. She hails from a long line of reader, writers and wonderful cooks. Katharine learned to prepare dishes passed down from her family along with recipes from the delicious and diverse flavors of Florida cuisine including coastal seafood, country cookin’, and Bahamian, Cuban, Greek and Spanish delicacies. She has cooked professionally and for family, friends and countless covered dish suppers.

Katharine is an award-winning grant consultant working with local, national and international organizations and funders. Katharine has a B.A. from The American University and over the years has written poetry and essays for national and local publications. She is on the Board of Directors of Air Care Alliance, a nonprofit public service organization representing a nationwide network of volunteer pilot groups that deliver impactful and inspiring service through aviation.

 

Cooking
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Linda McCarthy is a 30+ years retired librarian with experience in academic and public libraries. She is an avid cookbook reader, diner and cook who’s taken and taught cooking classes for years. She delights in a wide variety of cuisines from Southern cooking to vegetarian and every culinary culture. Linda subscribes to a variety of cooking magazines reading cookbook reviews and seeking out items of interest. She owns over 700 cookbooks.

 

Florida Nonfiction

Florida Nonfiction
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R. Boyd Murphree is the coeditor (along with Robert A. Taylor) of The Governors of Florida, the 2020 Florida Book Awards’ Phillip and Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal for Florida nonfiction. His research and writing interests include Florida history and politics, U.S. political and intellectual history, the history of the American Civil War Era, and Cold War history. Murphree was born in Key West, raised in Tallahassee, and lives with his wife, Margaret, in Quincy, Florida. He received his PhD in history from Florida State University and currently works as an archivist and historian in Special and Area Studies Collections at the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries in Gainesville.

 

Florida Nonfiction
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Steven Noll is an Instructional Professor in the department of history at the University of Florida. In 2012, he was named one of the 300 best professors in the US by the Princeton Review. His 2009 book was the prize-winning Ditch of Dreams (co-authored with David Tegeder), which analyzed the history of the ill-fated Cross Florida Barge Canal project. His latest book, published in 2022 and published by the University Press of Florida, is entitled Writing for the Public Good: Essays from David Colburn and Senator Bob Graham.  His interests include Florida history, environmental history, and the history of disability. Currently, he is working on two projects- one a continuation of the barge canal book that examines the ongoing controversy over Rodman (Kirkpatrick) Dam and the other an analysis of the nationwide 1977 disability rights demonstrations.

Florida Nonfiction
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Award-winning writer, naturalist and activist Susan Cerulean has written from Tallahassee and Indian Pass, Florida since 1981. I Have Been Assigned the Single Bird: A Daughter’s Memoir, released by University of Georgia Press in 2019, garnered the Sarton Award by the Story Circle Network. Her nature memoir Coming to Pass: Florida’s Coastal Islands in a Gulf of Change (UGA Press, 2015) received a Gold Medal in the category of Florida Nonfiction by the Florida Book Awards. In 2005, Tracking Desire: A Journey After Swallow-tailed Kites (UGA Press) was named Editors’ Choice by Audubon magazine.

General Fiction

General Fiction
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Jane Goddard is a Florida native, a lover of the outdoors, and an avid reader. She holds a BA in English (World Literature) from the University of South Florida and a Master of Liberal Studies from Rollins College, as well as a law degree from Barry University School of Law. Bookstores and libraries are her natural habitat, when she's not out exploring and appreciating Florida's history, culture, and natural places, or pursuing her first love, horseback riding. Jane is the first woman to through-paddle the entire St. Johns River in a solo kayak.

General Fiction
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Patricia Romig is a retired librarian and Language Arts Instructor. Her favorite reads are literary fiction, mysteries, science fiction and anything British. Most days, when Patricia is not reading, she is outside walking or weeding in the garden. Other days Patricia volunteers at various civic organizations and boards.

General Fiction
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Before becoming a professional technical writer, Kathleen served as a high school writing/literature/AP Rhetoric and Composition instructor and college English professor; She is an expert in writing theory and practice. Kathleen has written/published professionally in the sciences (emerging technology/Artificial Intelligence/cognitive development/other research-related topics), in the field of education and training, and as an expert in literary analysis. She is also a poet, and had one of her works selected as a finalist by the Florida Today (in a poetry contest). Kathleen is a fan of Florida history, and worked as a Reference Librarian at the Melbourne Beach library, where she explored their extensive Florida history collection. 

General Nonfiction

General Nonfiction
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Maria is the Director of Communications and Marketing for the College of Sciences and Mathematics at Auburn University. She has been the editor of the Florida Libraries journal since 2010 and received the President's Award from the Florida Library Association in 2015. Maria earned an MSLIS from Florida State University and an MBA from Florida Atlantic University.

General Nonfiction

Deborah Williamson is a recently retired teacher with over 30 years experience teaching in the public schools of Alabama, South Carolina and Florida as well as over 10 years experience as an adjunct professor at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. She started out as an art teacher but also worked in the ESE department teaching gifted students. Deborah holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (drawing/printmaking), a Bachelor of Arts Education, a Master of Arts Education, and an Education Specialist degree in Arts Education.

Older Children's Literature

Older Children's Literature
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Alia Shields is a Florida native who has recently returned to Miami after more than a decade spent in the Northeast. Alia received her B.A. in British and American Literature from New College of Florida and an M.L.I.S. in from Florida State University with an emphasis on Youth Services. She has worked as a children's librarian in Virginia and New Jersey. Currently Alia is a Learning Resources librarian at Miami Dade College. She has served as chair of ALSC's Notable Children's Digital Media committee, been a member of the Excellence in Children’s and Young Adult Science Fiction committee and was most recently on the 2023 Caldecott committee.

Poetry

Poetry
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Dr. Precious Symonette is an award-winning educator. She teaches Creative Writing at Miami Norland Senior High School and has been teaching for 17 years. Dr. Symonette was named the 2017 M-DCPS Teacher of the Year, 2017 Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist, and recognized as a 2016 National Education Association Superhero Educator. She is an official Freedom Writers Teacher, and she started the Florida Freedom Writers Foundation which helps to promote free expression both in written and verbal form. Due to her unique lived experiences, educational journey, and love for writing and civic engagement, Dr. Symonette actively collaborates with colleagues and organizations to create opportunities for students to learn about themselves, and the world around them, and to participate in service-learning projects.

Poetry
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Before becoming a professional technical writer, Sandra Simonds served as a high school writing, literature, AP Rhetoric and Composition instructor and college English professor. She is an expert in writing theory and practice and has written and  published professionally in the sciences, in the field of education and training, and as an expert in literary analysis. Sandra is also a poet, having one of her works selected as a finalist by the Florida Today. She is a fan of Florida history, and worked as a Reference Librarian at the Melbourne Beach library, where she explored their extensive Florida history collection. 

Poetry
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Lenna DellaRocca has been involved in the Florida poetry world since 1980. His chapbook, Things I See in the Fire, was winner of the Yellow Jacket Poetry Contest. Altogether, Lenny is the author of five collections of poetry and the founding editor and publisher of South Florida Poetry Journal SoFloPoJo. A Pushcart nominee, his work has appeared in Nimrod, Seattle Rev. Sun Dog, Fairy Tale Rev. among others. Lenny is the editor and publisher of Witchery, a place for Epoems, embedded at SoFlopoJo. He is currently curating poems for Chameleon Chimera, An Anthology of Florida Poets.

Popular Fiction

Popular Fiction
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Jamie M. Smith has over 25 years of integrated marketing and communications experience and is currently Associate Vice President of Communications and Government Relations for State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF). Smith holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Management and Marketing and various industry certifications and is a Gulf Coast Leadership Institute and Leadership Florida graduate. She is the recipient of SCF’s Innovation Grant and Awards of Excellence, and her creative direction has been recognized with numerous state and national awards, including the prestigious Telly Award. She loves gardening and exercising and is an avid reader and collector of signed books of all genres.

Popular Fiction
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I'm an almost-native Floridian, having moved down in 1989. I grew up with shuttle launches in my back yard. I loved reading and knew I wanted to be a teacher as long as I could remember. I'm currently entering my 21st year as a classroom teacher. Although my background is English Literature, I've taught everything from middle school journalism to Speech & Social Media. I have a wonderful husband of 7 years, Diego, and a sleek little kitten named Alice Rose. If I'm not in the classroom, I'm probably teaching a yoga class or making a mess in the kitchen.

Popular Fiction
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Ann VanderMeer is an award-winning editor & anthologist. She currently serves as an acquiring editor for Tor.com and Weird Fiction Review and is the Editor-in-Residence for Shared Worlds, a Science Fiction and Fantasy writing camp for high school students. Her anthologies include The WeirdSisters of the RevolutionThe Big Book of Science FictionAVATARS, INC (an online XPRIZE anthology), The Big Book of Classic Fantasy and The Big Book of Modern Fantasy.

Spanish-Language

Spanish-Language
Photo of Samiria Hernandez Hiraldo

Samiri Hernández Hiraldo, Ph. D. was a finalist of the National Poetry Series’ Paz Prize for Poetry 2012 competition (in honor of Octavio Paz). Her poems in English and Spanish have appeared in several journals and magazines. She is the author of three books of poetry in Spanish, Al vapor, Cuando el líquido es sólido, and Perforaciones, and one book of poetry in English, The Five Legs of the Cat. She coordinates poetry events and currently teaches anthropology at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

 

 

Spanish-Language
Photo of Andres Pi Andreu

My name is Andres Pi Andreu. I’m Cuban-American. I was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1969. I live in Miami, Florida, since 2003. I currently work as a National Bilingual Literacy Consultant for different major educational publishers. I am also the author of several Spanish Language Acquisition programs and Language transference programs. I have worked for Houghton Mifflin, Pearson, McGraw Hill, Benchmark Educations, and many other major publishers as a Senior Development Editor, Curriculum developer and writer.

Currently I own TIB Editorial, a small educational development house that works with all major publishers in the US. I’m also the Director of Ediciones Malecón, a publishing company that specializes in literature written in Spanish in the US.

Spanish-Language
Photo of Isabel Garcia Cintas

Isabel Garcia Cintas is an independent bilingual writer and journalist born in Argentina. She studied journalism and photography in Buenos Aires and worked in radio and print media. She has published four books: El Recado de la Mujer Holandesa (2020) Bronze Medal Best Novel-Mystery, at the 2021International Latino Book Awards (ILBA). Her short story book La Casa Vieja y Otros Relatos (2016) won Gold Medal, Spanish Category at the 2016 Florida Book Awards and Honorable Mention, Popular Fiction, at the 2016 ILBA. Incidente en la Patagonia (2011), a political thriller, won Honorable Mention at the 2015 Latino Books Into Movies Awards. All of these books are translated into English and available at Amazon.com. Her novel Del Mediterráneo al Plata (2012), based on the memoirs of her immigrant grandparents, was a finalist at the 2012 Dan Poynter’s Global e-Books Awards. In addition, her short stories are included in four anthologies. Isabel moved to the United States in 1987 and has lived in Florida since 2001. She is an editorial staff member at the digital cultural magazine Letra Urbana.com. For more information, visit www.isabelgarciacintas.com.

Visual Arts

Visual Arts
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Emily Raffield is currently a freelance writer for Southern Living magazine, Coastal Luxury magazine and various other publications. She is an author of Saints of Old Florida: A Coastal Lifestyle Book, a past Florida Book Awards winner in Visual Arts. Emily received her B.S. in Marketing and Communication from Florida State University in 2010. She formerly worked in Public Relations in New York City, in brand marketing for Chick-fil-A Corporate in Atlanta, Ga., as a brand marketing consultant, and in social media direction for The Bitter Southerner, an e-publication in new Southern journalism. Emily returned home to Florida when looking for an escape from the corporate realm, where she began to pursue her true love of writing, creative direction, and artistic styling. Emily currently designs clothing and accessories, inspired by the coastal lifestyle, for her line, BECASA. BECASA is accessible online or at its brick and mortar shops, in Apalachicola, FL and Inlet Beach, FL. Emily and her husband, Rene, reside in Apalachicola as Emily deeply appreciates the community and generational love for place and people that’s found along the North Florida coastline -- and even more so in our beautiful state.

Visual Arts
Photo of Joy Wallace Dickinson

Joy Wallace Dickinson has written hundreds of “Florida Flashback” features in the Orlando Sentinel about aspects of Central Florida’s past. She’s also the author of Orlando: City of Dreams, Remembering Orlando: Tales from Elvis to Disney, and Historic Photos of Orlando. She has received honors from the Florida Historical Society, the Historical Society of Central Florida, and AIA Orlando, for work that promotes an appreciation of historic architecture. In a past life, she worked at Stanford University Press and as a book and publication designer in San Francisco, where she helped complete graphic-standards projects for both Hewlett-Packard and Apple Inc.

Visual Arts
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Dr. Michelle Demeter serves as the Head of Instruction and Undergraduate Services at New York University Libraries. In her role, Michelle leads the development and facilitation of instructional services that support the research and creative endeavors of faculty and students across campus. Prior to moving to NYC, Michelle spent the majority of her life in Florida. She grew up in Spring Hill, and earned her undergraduate degrees in English Literature and Religious Studies at the University of South Florida. She continued her graduate education with a master's degree in Religious Studies and a master's degree in Library and Information Studies at Florida State University. Michelle is currently ABD in the Art History doctoral program at Florida State, where her dissertation is focused on the art and visual culture expressed within the four attractions created by Walt Disney for the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair.

Young Adult Literature

Young Adult Literature
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Jennifer Siegel has been an avid reader her entire life, with her nose always in a book. This love led her to study English and film in college and volunteer staffing at several author signings and attended several others as a reader. Jennifer considers her bookshelf to be her prized possession. Although she wishes she could have found my place in the book world,she and her husband have dedicated themselves to growing their restaurant business.

Young Adult Literature
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Laurie Arnez has lived in Naples, Florida for 35 years. She is a retired Elementary School Media Specialist, having taught for over 30 years. Laurie was previously a member of the Sunshine State Young Readers’ Award Program, a program sponsored by the Florida Association of Media Educators. Laurie served as a member of the program for grades 3-8 and K-2 and served as its Chairperson.She spent her career reading, selecting and promoting children’s literature and enjoys discovering new books and authors.

Young Adult Literature
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Karyn Dombrosky grew up in Broward County and received both her undergraduate degree in Special Education and her Master's in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida. She has worked in the Youth Services section of Florida public libraries since 1999 with a focus on providing services and programming to children, teens, and adults with special needs. A new transplant to Central Florida, she is happy to be surrounded by family and is excited to discover the unique qualities of the Orlando Metropolitan area.

Young Children's Literature

Young Children's Literature
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I grew up in Hawaii and New Jersey. I was an elementary school teacher for a short time before I became a librarian. I have been a youth services librarian for 15 years. My three kids keep me busy. We try to spend as much time outdoors as we can at different playgrounds and parks. One of my favorite places in Tallahassee is Lake Ella. I love to walk around the lake and people watch. I love to play tennis. My favorite children's author is Eric Carle!

Young Children's Literature
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Caitie Cerise has worn many hats in her career as an elementary school teacher, technology project manager, and public library manager and is currently the Library Director for the Walton County Public Library System. Caitie and her family have been based in the Florida Panhandle for her husband's Air Force service for the last 14 years, and love exploring the beautiful nature on the Emerald Coast. 

A proud graduate of Auburn University and Florida State University, Caitie holds a BA in English and an MA in Information Science and is working on her Certified Public Manager certification. When not reading picture books with her son, she spends her time volunteering as a coach for soccer and tee-ball, soaking up the sun on the beach, and traveling with her family. Caitie is thrilled to support Florida authors as a Florida Book Awards juror.