Pen 2 Paper Judges

Thank you to this year's volunteer judges!


From a high angle, a smiling woman sits on a wrought iron bench on a green lawn. An wooden fence with a slightly open gate is in the background.Former P2P contestant Mel Finefrock (Poetry division) carries first place awards in poetry with "Optical Illusions" (2012) and prose with "Miles to Go" (2016). In addition, she has published her own book of poems entitled Patchwork Poetry and sometimes appears on popular blogs including the Mighty, the Huffington Post, and elephant journal. She is also the basis for blind protagonist Janie Jansen in Melissa Foster's Touched by Love. Watch Mel read her poems as the featured author at the August 2018 Lion & Pirate open mic!

Against a background of an ivy-covered wall, a man in a collared shirt gazes pensively out of the frame.Michael Noll (Fiction division) is the Program Director of the Writers' League of Texas, where he plans and organizes in-person and online classes, monthly panels at BookPeople, and the annual Agents & Editors Conference. He is also editor of the craft-of-writing blog Read to Write Stories and author of the forthcoming book The Writer's Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction. His short stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, Chattahoochee Review, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Indiana Review, and The New Territory. His story, “The Tank Yard,” was included in The Best American Mystery Stories 2016.

A seated woman with hands on hips smirks as she tosses her head over her shoulder.Maria R. Palacios (Poetry division) is a feminist writer, poet, author, spoken word performer, polio survivor, and disability activist whose message of hope and empowerment pulsates and breathes through her work. Maria's work has been featured in anthologies, articles, audio interviews, and other multimedia publications. Her work embraces self-acceptance, empowerment, and social justice surrounding women with disabilities, gender, and sexuality and a wide spectrum of issues as they relate to diversity. Her publications including Criptionary: Disability Humor & Satire, Dressing Skeletons: A Poetic Tribute To Frida Khalo, Poetic Confessions Vol. I, and the now out-of-print The Female King, as well as two empowerment journals for women and young girls, and The Big Little Black Book: An Address Book Revealing What Women Want Men To Know. Maria is also the founder of Houston’s Women with Disabilities Empowerment Forum and Grand Prize winner of Pen 2 Paper 2013. To learn more about Maria R. Palacios’ work and ongoing projects, you may visit her at or our guest blog. Watch Maria read her latest work as the featured author at the May 2018 Lion & Pirate open mic!

A woman in front of a shelf full of DVDs and with a sweater over her arm smiles at the camera like she has a secret.Kelsey Williams (Fiction and Comics divisions) holds a B.A. in English and Philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin. She works as the Member Services Manager / Project Coordinator for the Writers' League of Texas, and as Reviews Editor for fields magazine. She has experience working for the Texas Book Festival, Austin Bat Cave, Malvern Books, Half Price Books, and Feminine Inquiry. Her fiction has been published in Strange Romance Zine. In her free time, you can find her writing ghost stories and trying her best.

Mark Williams (Poetry division)

Thom Woodruff (Poetry division)

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