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April 3, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Rick Simonson, Deb Caletti named National Book Award judges

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Everybody knows Seattle is a serious reading town. The latest evidence: two local bibliophiles have been named judges for the National Book Award, one of American’s most prestigious literary prizes.

Bookseller Rick Simonson of Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Co. will serve on the fiction panel, along with novelists Charles Baxter, Gish Jen and Rene Steinke, as well as Charles McGrath, former editor of the New York Times Book Review.

Seattle-area writer Deb Caletti, who was a NBA finalist in 2004 for her novel “Honey, Baby, Sweetheart,” will serve on the young people’s literature panel along with novelists Cecil Castellucci and E. Lockhart, bookseller Peter Glassman and Lisa Von Draseki, curator of the Children’s Literature Research collections at the University of Minnesota.

This is the first year the NBA has expanded its panels to include, not just writers, but other “literary experts.” Having judged a few contests myself, I offer congratulations and a prediction: the parcel post delivery man is your new best friend.

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