Monday, June 22, 2015

Meet our Final Round Judges

The Board of Directors wishes to thank those (listed below) who spent hours and days of reading time in the initial stages of judging the seventy-five 2014 novels. Many made comments such as that they had found new authors they liked and would be searching out their books. We hope all enjoyed the work.

The scoring and comments of each of these judges was carefully reviewed by the Board of Directors. The difficult job of selecting a small number of semifinalists took longer than we expected; there were many good books, and we wanted to adhere to M.M. Bennetts' views of literature in making our choices. We eventually reached the last stage. With additional reading by certain members and vetting by experts to whom we turned, the group at last heartily endorsed the selection of our three finalists.

The decision was turned over to a panel of three judges.

Jim Bencivenga was a book editor and worked with M.M. Bennetts for seven years as a book critic for The Christian Science Monitor. We thank the staff at the Monitor for helping us find a colleague of hers that could help us.

A writer and editor for 23 years at the Christian Science Monitor, Jim is interested in freelance writing and sharing his knowledge and expertise in the areas of education, astronomy, religion, technology and the environment.  From authoring one-off articles, to shepherding an author through a lengthy article, or even a book, he leads a life of the mind through written expression.

Jim has worked as a visiting adjunct professor of Journalism at Ithaca College, a Writer/Consultant at Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, Wash., DC, an Education Writer and Editor, Book Editor, Ideas Editor of Science & Technology, Religion, Ethics, and Books, and a Community Producer of the website for The Christian Science Monitor.

He is a Trustee of the Asher Student Foundation actively engaged in a variety of ways in supporting Christian Science students of all ages who are enrolled in accredited colleges, universities and certificate programs across the country. Jim was the Director of Information Services at the National Institute of Education in the US Department of Education for two years and was in the Ford Foundation Education Fellowship regarding Special Education in Prisons, visiting twelve prisons in eight states.

Jim was twice the recipient of the NY Times feature writing award presented by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Director of Publications at the National Institute of Education within the US Dept. of Education. He worked as the President of a community based Group Home for adjudicated teenagers in Bozeman, MT.

Jim can be reached at Jimmyb3 at

Edd Morris is a medical doctor and the author of the full color Exploring English Castles: Evocative, Romantic, and Mysterious True Tales of the Kings and Queens of the British Isles. Edd has a passion for history, travel, and for visiting castles in the UK and in Europe.

His website,, attracts more than a third of a million visitors every year, and is one of the web's most visited resources on castles. Edd graduated with a BA from the University of Warwick, and a MA and MBBS from the University of London. He presently works as a doctor within the UK National Health Service.

Many thanks to Reader/Judges Andrew Latham, Anna Belfrage, Anne-Marie Caluwaert, Annie 'EditingPen', Arthur Russell, Audra Friend, Averil Bennetts, Charles Bazelgette, Christoph Fischer, Cryssa Bazos, Darius Stransky, Darlene Williams, Deborah Swift, EM Powell, Fiona Powell, Geri Dunlop Clouston, Glen Craney, Helen Hollick, Irene Conroy, Jacqui Reiter, Jeanne Greene, Jonathan Hopkins, Jude Knight, Katherine Pym, Kathy Carroll, Laurel Ann Natress, Lauren Gilbert, Linda Collison, Linda Root, Lisl Zlitni, Margaret Porter Evans, Margaret Skea, Mike Rendell, Mike Uretsky, Nancy Bilyeau, Pippa Elliott, Richard Abbott, Robyn Leatherman, Rose Spears, Sarah Johnson, Shannon Gallagher, Sr. Sheila, Sophia Rose, Sue Millard, Tru Denton, and Williamaye Jones. We couldn't have done it without you!

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