Watch this page for continued updates as the Library invites an esteemed panel of judges including actors, actresses, authors, bloggers, columnists, comedians, editors, producers, professors, and writers to score the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. We thank them for their time and expertise! See the list of judges from the last competition.
Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry will serve as the finalist judge in the humor writing category of the 2018 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Barry has written more than 30 books, including the novels Big Trouble, Lunatics, Tricky Business and, most recently, Insane City. He has also written a number of books with titles like Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland, which, he quips, "are technically classified as nonfiction, although they contain numerous lies." In 2006, he served as the opening night keynote speaker at the University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. Photo by: Daniel Portnoy Photography, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Award-winning novelist and short story writer Bonnie Jo Campbell will serve as the finalist judge in the human interest writing category in the 2018 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. She is the bestselling author of Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, Once Upon a River and American Salvage, among other works. Author Tom Bouman, writing in 2009 for the national British newspaper The Guardian, places American Salvage on the Top Ten List of Rural Noir novels alongside Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice and The Complete Stories (1946-1952) of Flannery O’Connor. Campbell was a National Book Award finalist, NBCC Award finalist and a Guggenheim Fellow, and the Boston Globe called her a "master of post-industrial landscapes." She rides a variety of bicycles and a donkey in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photo by: Blue Flower Arts.
Jim Bebbington is the editor of the Dayton Daily News. He attended Purdue University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and has been a reporter and editor for Cox Media Group Ohio since 1994. He has taught journalism at the Ohio State University and Ohio Dominican College.
Barb’s fun blog "I Feel Your Pain" appears at BarbBest.com and Alltop.com - and woo hoo - it was named by Feedspot as one of the "Top 100 Humor Blogs on the Planet." Her comedy material has been performed by Joan Rivers and her essays and light verse have been published in numerous print and digital publications. Be sure to boost your feel-good hormones by treating yourself to Barb's latest book The Misery Manifesto: A Self-Help Parody for the Self-Absorbed. Did you know? She’s an Erma Bombeck Global Humor Winner.
Rob Bloom is an advertising Creative Director, award-winning comedy writer, and 80s pro wrestling historian. He has written for the Cartoon Network, McSweeney's, The Onion, NPR, among others. Recently, Rob's short film, produced by the UCB Theatre, played in more than 20,000 theaters across the country. Rob is also the writer of a syndicated humor column, which has been praised by the Erma Bombeck Writing Institute, as well as by his parents who display it on their refrigerator with magnets shaped like fruit. Find Rob on Twitter at @robbloomcw and at his site, RobBloom.com.
Jennifer is the author of acclaimed young adult novels, Hate List, Bitter End, Perfect Escape, Thousand Words, and Torn Away. Her debut novel, Hate List, received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA "Perfect Ten," and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Bitter End received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and VOYA and is listed on the YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list. She is also the author of the Shade Me series. Jennifer’s debut middle grade novel, Life on Mars, was released in 2014, and was followed by How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots, Traitors, and Missy the Cruel and Pennybaker School is Headed for Disaster. Jennifer also writes , as well as women's fiction, under the name Jennifer Scott. Visit her at www.JenniferBrownAuthor.com or www.JenniferScottAuthor.com.
Michael Campbell is a humor writer and musician. Of Mice and Me, Campbell's 2017 collection of humor essays, is now available in print and eBook editions, as is his previous book, Are You Going To Eat That? His “Dumpster” column closes every issue of Food & Spirits magazine. Campbell also has four albums of original songs. The 2015 album My Turn Now includes a title track with a hilarious cameo by former game show host Richard Dawson. Learn more at michaelcampbellsongwriter.com.
Molly D. Campbell is a two-time Erma Bombeck award winning writer. She is the author of two novels, Keep the Ends Loose and Crossing the Street, published by The Story Plant. She is also an artist. Molly is working on her third novel. She lives in Dayton with her husband and four cats.
Jackie Curl handles public information for Washington Township, Ohio where the print materials she produces have won frequent awards from the City-County Communications and Marketing Association. Previously, as a reporter for the Springfield News-Sun, she wrote a column that took top honors from the Ohio Associated Press and Ohio Newspaper Women's Association. According to one judge: "She writes about Erma Bombeck-like topics, yet in her own unique style." Jackie has completed stints as adjunct professor at Antioch College for the Writing Well and journalism curriculum and as copy director for a communications firm with clients in the telecommunications industry. When she isn't writing, she is reading modern and classic novels with fellow members of the "Reinterpreting the Classics" book club.
Matthew Dewald is a former director of the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop. He is now a writer and editor in Richmond, Virginia.
Irene Dickey is an author, consultant, and a lecturer of marketing in the School of Business at the University of Dayton. As the landscape of business continues to rapidly change, Irene closely follows news and trends to educate her audiences on important and emerging topics and developments. Consistent with the University of Dayton’s mission, she has a passion for working with persons and organizations in the community in a broad scope of activities in order to help them grow and strengthen. Irene has won numerous teaching, professional and community awards. She has also been a frequent judge for the Dottie Yeck Good Life Award contest at the library. Irene lives in Washington Township with her husband and two dogs and is blessed to be surrounded by her growing family. She once said, to her, the Washington Centerville Public Library was like a "candy store."
Kelly Epperson has written 30+ books as a Ghostwriter, some for New York Times bestselling authors, one that sold 3 million copies. As Book Coach/Editor, she has helped countless clients become authors. She’s been writing her weekly newspaper column since 2001. Kelly was hired by Larry Winget (television commentator/NY Times bestseller) and Suzanne Evans (business coach/NY Times bestseller) as Book Coach for their programs. Kelly works one-on-one with clients and offers group workshops, retreats, and online courses. Kelly still has the postcard she received from Dave Barry in 2001 offering encouragement as a columnist and is forever grateful!
Jenny Gardiner is an award-winning #1 Kindle bestselling author who has published more than twenty-five novels, a memoir, and a collection of essays. Her work has been found in Ladies Home Journal, the Washington Post, Marie-Claire.com, Paste.com, and on National Public Radio. She was a columnist for Charlottesville’s Daily Progress for over a decade, and is as an occasional essayist on regional NPR affiliate WVTF-FM. She’s also the volunteer coordinator for the Virginia Film Festival. Jenny has worked as a professional photographer, an orthodontic assistant (learning quite readily that she was not cut out for a career in polyester), a waitress (probably her highest-paying job), a TV reporter, a pre-obituary writer, as well as a publicist to a United States Senator (where she honed her fiction-writing skills). She's photographed Prince Charles, Elizabeth Taylor, and the president of Uganda. She and her husband and many pets live in Virginia, where they love to petsit their kids' grandpuppies. She’s really bad at math.
Mindy Hoffbauer is a professional explainer. During the past couple decades, Mindy has worked as a technical writer (just like Erma!), editor, social media manager, online help developer, corporate trainer and English adjunct instructor, among other things. She lives in Bellbrook, Ohio (just like Erma did!), has two grown children, and is married to a University of Dayton grad (just like Guess-Who?). In her spare time, she writes mostly nonfiction, reads mostly fiction and works diligently to deepen her laugh lines.
Ryan Ireland, PhD, is the author of two novels, Beyond the Horizon and Ghosts of the Desert. He has also published scholarly, popular, and creative nonfiction in Public Libraries Quarterly, Voices of Youth Advocates, and Ripcord. In 2016, Ryan delivered a TEDx talk about his research on public libraries, entitled, Your Story Matters. Currently Ryan sits on the board of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop and co-chairs a nonprofit, Third Story Literacy Project, with his wife, Amber.
Leigh Anne Jasheway is a comedy writer, humorous motivational speaker, stand-up comic, comedy writing teacher and wiener dog wrangler. She is the author of 25 books, including Confessions of a Semi-Natural Woman; Don’t Get Mad, Get Funny; Not Guilty by Reason of Menopause; Bedtime Stories for Dogs and Bedtime Stories for Cats; and her latest, The Dogs’ Guide to Human(Kind). She won the national Erma Bombeck Humor Writing Award in 2003 for her true story on how her first mammogram caught on fire. She teaches comedy writing and improv at Lane Community College, and formerly, the University of Oregon. She is the humor columnist for the Register Guard’s Weekend (for the past nine years), wrote weekly columns for The Comic News for nine years, and has written essays and columns for a variety of publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, and The Funny Times. She blogs on Medium as well as Accidentalcomic She is the former host of The Giggle Spot on All Comedy 1450 AM. She blogs at Accidentalcomic.wordpress.com, Wagnotwhine.wordpress.com, and on Medium. Read more about Leigh Anne on her website accidentalcomic.com.
Fredrick Marion is the founder of www.daytonlit.com, a site committed to growing Dayton's literary scene. A former columnist and features reporter at the Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, FL, he also writes a weekly email newsletter on writing and life that's available at www.fredrickmarion.com. His first novel, a middle grade fantasy titled The Very Strange and Very Secret Trashcan Club, is in progress with representation by The Bent Agency. Proud papa to three kids (all 3 and under), all his shirts have a permanent spit-up mark on the left-hand shoulder. He says it adds character.
Martha Moody graduated from Oberlin College and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, spending 15 years in private practice. After publishing her first novel, Best Friends, she retired from private practice. Since then she has written three more books, The Office of Desire , Sometimes Mine, and Sharp and Dangerous Virtues. When Moody isn't working on her most recent manuscript, she is active in the Dayton Women's Literary Club and the Jewish Community Relations Council and as a writing teacher in the local public school system. Moody is also involved in a long-term project teaching English to middle school students in the Arab village of Deir al Assad, Israel. In acknowledgement of her philanthropy, Moody was honored by the YWCA in 2011 as a Woman of Influence and by the local NCCJ in 2015 with a "Humanitarian Award." Visit her website at marthamoody.net
Bill O'Neill has written for the Cape Cod Times, the Boston Globe, the London Sunday Times, CMJ New Music Monthly, the Harvard Independent, and a batch of other publications. He was the lifestyle editor at the Cape Cod Times for almost 10 years, and the paper's pop-music columnist for 12 years. He won awards for his interviews with a mannequin keeper, Liza Minnelli and a guy who claims to be Elvis Presley Jr.
Max Pross is a Primetime Emmy Award-winning producer and writer known for The Simpsons (1989), Seinfeld (1989) and Late Night with David Letterman (1982). He has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy ten times and twice for Writers Guild of America, USA. Together with writing team partner Tom Gammill, he has also written for Saturday Night Live, The David Letterman Show, The Wonder Years, and Monk.
Ron Rollins is director of digital content for Cox Media Group Ohio and the Ideas & Voices opinion pages editor for the Dayton Daily News and its two sister papers in southwest Ohio. He’s served in a variety of writing and editing positions at the DDN and Cox since 1986.
Joel Schwartzberg is a nationally-published essayist and award-winning author of Get to the Point! (2017), Small Things Considered (2014), and The 40-Year-Old Version (2009). Joel is also a speechwriter and public speaking trainer, and his essays have been published in Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Daily News, The New York Post, New Jersey Monthly, The Star-Ledger, Fast Company, and five editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Jack Thomas is an executive producer, former attorney, stand-up comedian, and a Primetime Emmy Award-winning writer and producer known for The Fairly OddParents (2001), Regular Show (2010) and The Replacements (2006). He currently works for Dreamworks Animation where he helped launch the "Turbo:FAST" series for Netflix and writes on the series; "Dragons: Race to the Edge." Thomas has had an eclectic writing career - everything from writing introductions for American Movie Classics to writing comedy sketches for the FOX NFL Pregame Show to even polishing up the script for the feature "Carpool" - before landing in animation in 2001 on The Fairly OddParents. He met Nancy Cartwright at Ohio University when they were on the speech team together.
Winner of the prestigious Will Rogers Writing Contest, George Waters writes a weekly humor column which appears in newspapers and on his website , The "Wa" Blog. His work is featured in Suzette Martinez Standring's book, The Art of Column Writing, and his humorous parenting essays have appeared in L.A. Parent, Dallas Child, Kansas City Parent, New Jersey Family and numerous others regional parenting publications. Read more from George Waters in The Art of Column Writing: Insider Secrets from Art Buchwald, Dave Barry, Arianna Huffington, Pete Hamill and Other Great Columnists by Suzette Martinez Standring.
Linda Wolff writes at Carpool Goddess, where she proves that midlife, motherhood, and the empty nest aren’t so scary. Her work has appeared on The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Today’s Parent, Grown and Flown,Your Teen, and many more.Her humorous essays have been published in numerous anthologies, the most recent: But Did You Die? Setting the Parenting Bar Low. Linda lives in Los Angeles with her husband and is the proud mama of two grown kids,who still enjoy coming home to visit.
Claire Zulkey is a freelance writer and mother of two in Evanston, IL. She is the author of the young adult novel An Off Year, and runs the longstanding Chicago reading series Funny Ha-Ha. You can learn much more about her by going to Zulkey.com.