Judging Panel: Allen Rucker

Allen Rucker was raised in Bartlesville Oklahoma and has an MA in Communication from Stanford University an MA in American Culture from the University of Michigan and a BA in English from Washington University in St Louis

He is the author or co-author of thirteen books of humor and non-fiction His first-person account of becoming paralyzed at middle age called 'The Best Seat In The House How I Woke Up One Tuesday and Was Paralyzed for Life' was published by HarperCollins in 2008 Widely reviewed and praised it was a New York Times 'Editor's Choice' The review from Publisher Weekly concludes

'Rucker is a gifted observer-humorist unleashing a straight-arrow honesty and a vibrant penetrating wit while probing the most intimate aspects of contemporary life and human behavior'

His latest collaboration a first-hand account of the TV revolution of the 1970's with iconic network program executive Fred Silverman will be published by the Syracuse University Press in a yet-to-be-announced release date

Mr Rucker has written three books on the acclaimed HBO series 'The Sopranos' the most successful being the New York Times 1 bestseller 'The Sopranos Family Cookbook' He co-wrote 'Hollywood Causes Cancer The Tom Green Story' with Tom Green and two award-winning books of satire with comedian Martin Mull 'The History of White People In America' and 'A Paler Shade of White'

Other books include memoirs co-written with country music stars Kenny Rogers 'Luck Or Something Like It' Gretchen Wilson 'Redneck Woman' and Alabama's Randy Owen 'Born Country'

As a TV writer-producer he co-founded the experimental video documentary group TVTV whose work is still widely shown and acclaimed forty-five years later As a TV writer in Hollywood his credits include numerous network specials documentaries and teleplays including the HBO series 'The History of White People In America' 'Christopher Reeve A Celebration of Hope' Emmy nominee the original HBO movie 'Hometown Boy Makes Good' starring Anthony Edwards 'CBS The First Fifty Years' 'Big Guns Talk' a history of the Western and 'Family Values The Mob The Movies' A 2005 documentary he wrote for PBS's 'American Experience' about Vietnam entitled 'Two Days in October' and directed by Robert Kenner won both the George Peabody Award and the Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking

Mr Rucker is the recipient of the duPont-Columbia Journalism Award the Writers Guild of America Annual Award the Billboard Video Award and two CableACE Awards among others In 2005 he received a special Writers Guild Award for career distinction as a writer with a disability

Mr Rucker is a contributing editor of New Mobility magazine and a longtime blogger for the Christopher Reeve Foundation web site He is also the Chair of the Writers with Disabilities Committee at the WGA and Co-Chair of the annual Media Access Awards The MAA's recently won the Ruderman Inclusion Prize from the Ruderman Foundation of Boston Mr Rucker has taught at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and Chapman University among others and lectures widely on the subject of disability He lives in LA with wife Ann-Marie also a graduate of Washington University in St Louis They have two sons

Catch up with Allen's current writings on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/ruckerposts/