Best of the Net 2016  



2016 JUDGES

Kazim Ali is a poet, essayist, fiction writer and translator. His books include several volumes of poetry, including Sky Ward (Wesleyan University Press, 2013), winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry, The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books' New England/New York Award, The Fortieth Day (BOA Editions, 2008), and the cross-genre text Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities (Wesleyan University Press, 2009). He has also published a translation of Water's Footfall by Sohrab Sepehri (Omnidawn Press, 2011), Oasis of Now: Selected Poems by Sohrab Sepehri (BOA Editions, 2013) and (with Libby Murphy) L'amour by Marguerite Duras (Open Letter Books, 2013). His novels include Quinn's Passage (blazeVox books), named one of "The Best Books of 2005" by Chronogram magazine and The Disappearance of Seth (Etruscan Press, 2009), and his books of essays include Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence (University of Michigan Press, 2010) and Fasting for Ramadan (Tupelo Press, 2011). In addition to co-editing Jean Valentine: This-World Company (University of Michigan Press, 2012), he is a contributing editor for AWP Writers Chronicle and associate editor of the literary magazine FIELD and founding editor of the small press Nightboat Books. He is the series co-editor for both Poets on Poetry and Under Discussion, from the University of Michigan Press. He is an associate professor of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Oberlin College.
Porochista Khakpour was born in Tehran in 1978 and raised in the Greater Los Angeles area. She has been awarded fellowships from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, Northwestern University, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Ucross Foundation, Djerassi, and Yaddo. She is most recently the recipient of a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Literature Fellowship in Creative Writing (Prose). Her debut novel Sons and Other Flammable Objects (Grove/Atlantic, 2007) was a New York Times Editor's Choice, Chicago Tribune Fall's Best, and 2007 California Book Award winner. Her second novel, The Last Illusion (Bloomsbury, 2014) was a Kirkus Best Book of 2014, a Buzzfeed Best Fiction Book of 2014, an NPR Best Book of 2014, and the recipient of many other honors. Her other writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in Harper's, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast, The Village Voice, The Chicago Reader, The Paris Review Daily, Newyorker.com, and many other magazines and newspapers around the world. In 2017, her first memoir Sick will be published by HarperPerennial. She currently lives in New York City's Harlem and is Writer in Residence at Bard College.
Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University and is currently a Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi. Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division, and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, the UK edition released in 2016. Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, PEN Journal, Oxford American, The Best American Series, and Guernica. He is a currently a columnist at The Guardian. Kiese Laymon has two books forthcoming, including a memoir called Heavy which will be released in 2016 and the novel called And So On which can be expected in the Spring of 2017, both from Scribner.




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