Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Story Prize Judges, Part II: Rick Simonson

This is the second in a series of three posts, each focusing on one of the three judges this year for The Story Prize.

Rick Simonson has worked at Seattle's Elliott Bay Book Co., one of the U.S.'s leading independent book stores, since 1976. He founded and continues to help run Elliott Bay's internationally-recognized author reading series, which has presented writers from around the world since 1984. Rick is a founding board member of Copper Canyon Press and has served on numerous advisory boards and panels for the American Booksellers Association, the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Arts & Lectures, Seattle Review, the Miami Book Fair, and the Beijing Book Fair, among others. He writes a column, "Mist Place," for

But all of that doesn't tell the whole story. Rick has established a national reputation for himself through sheer dedication, a love of books, a sharp eye, and indefatigable enthusiasm. The reading series at Elliott Bay isn't just a couple of authors a week; it includes book groups, play readings, and programs outside of the bookstore--at Seattle libraries and cultural centers--nearly every night of the week, year round. And he does all of this not to sell books but to sell what they have to offer.

Rick is someone whose opinion publishers and editors solicit and whose enthusiasm for a book can help it find a sizable audience. We're fortunate to have him as a judge for The Story Prize.