Judges

Virginia Archer

Virginia is a founder and writing mentor for New South Story Lab, a Baton Rouge non-profit that hosts free writing workshops for local youth. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in anthropology and political science. After college, she put her cultural studies to good use and began exploring writing, film, gastronomy and innovative education. Virginia believes in the importance of doing what you love and enjoys curating environments where creativity thrives. She's been in non-profit administration since 2010, having worked to help at-risk youth, mental health patients and the homeless. Virginia currently serves at LSU Libraries as director of development, where she enjoys hanging out with beautiful, rare books, scrolls from the ancient world and oral histories from the Mississippi Delta. Her interests are cinema, art, writing prose poetry and screenplays, reading, cooking gumbo, community organizing and celebrating life.

Robin Palmer Blanche

After a decade-long career in Hollywood, Robin Palmer regained her sanity and chucked her cushy network executive job and expense account to become a writer.

Luckily her perseverance paid off with the publication of her first YA book CINDY ELLA, the first in a series of modern retellings of fairy tales set in a fictional Los Angeles high school. This was followed by GEEK CHARMING (made into a highly rated original Disney Channel movie starring Sarah Hyland); LITTLE MISS RED, WICKED JEALOUS, THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, and ONCE UPON A KISS. In addition, she wrote a five-book middle grade series called YOURS TRULY, LUCY B. PARKER. A few years ago she moved back into screenwriting as well and has written numerous television movies including the highly rated Hallmark movie SO YOU SAID YES starring Kellie Martin.

She lives in Louisiana with her husband, daughter, and way too many animals.

James Fox-Smith

English-born, Australian-raised, James has been publisher of Baton Rouge-based Country Roads magazine since 1995. He lives in rural West Feliciana parish north of St. Francisville with his wife, Ashley, two children, and a fluctuating number of dogs, cats and chickens.