Simpson Literary Project


There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.




The Simpson Literary Project honors the profound impact of Barclay and Sharon Simpson, distinguished philanthropic sustainers of the arts and education. For many years, they have inspired us all by championing the work and lives of artists, students, life-long learners, and underserved children. 

The Simpson Literary Project pursues two overarching and closely connected objectives: lasting educational outreach into schools, universities, and libraries, as well as celebrating and supporting authors across a great spectrum: from fledging young writers to mid-career writers of distinction to internationally celebrated authors.

The Simpson Literary Project offers four core initiatives: outreach to high school-age writers, a writer-in-residence program, a national literary prize, and our annual anthology—Simpsonistas: Tales from the Simpson Literary Project. Learn more about our programs.


A collaboration of the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation and the University of California, Berkeley, English Department.


Project BOARD


Diane Del Signore
Executive Director, Simpson Literary Project |


Joseph Di Prisco
Chair, Author & Educator |


Steven Justice
English Professor, Chair of the English Department, University of California, Berkeley

Karen Mulvaney
Board Member, Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation

Beth Needel
Executive Director, Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation


Joyce Carol Oates
Author and Professor of Humanities, Princeton University

Genaro Padilla
Chair Emeritus, English Department; Vice Chancellor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley


Vickie Sciacca
Senior Community Library Manager, Lafayette Public Library

Frank Starn
Community leader and corporate executive

David Wood
Community leader and public high school English teacher, Northgate High School, Walnut Creek, CA

Emeritus, PROJECT BOARD (2016-2018)

Donald McQuade
English Professor, Author, and Vice Chancellor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

Scott Saul
English Professor, Author, University of California, Berkeley




Diane Del Signore
Executive Director |

Tyson Cornell, Rare Bird | 
Publicist & Publicity

Christine McQuade Hsu
Digital Media |



The Wood Family Foundation
Patti James
Simpson PSB Fund: Sharon Simpson

System Property Development Company
Richard Morrison
Mario & Jen Di Prisco

Janet & Norman Pease
Dodge & Cox
David Wood & Kathy Garrison
Karen & Tom Mulvaney
James & Katherine Moule
The McBurney Foundation
Tracey Borst & Robert Menicucci
Frank & Carey Starn
Mike & Ginny Ross

Ralph & Liz Long
Jim & Lela Barnes
Ellen & Joffa Dale
Anne & Marshall Grodin

Jacinta Pister & Richard Whitmore
Bill & Susan Caplan
A. R. Taylor
Katharine Ogden Michaels
Kathy & Anthony Laglia
Debbie Goldberg
Alice Breakstone
Eliot & Martha Hudson


friends and thought-partners

Candace Andersen | Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors
Kathi Bahr |
Don Bogen
Noelle Burch | Contra Costa Juvenile Hall Library
Kathleen Caldwell A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland, CA
Vikram Chandra
Ron Charles |Editor, Book World, The Washington Post
Laura Cogan and Oscar Villalon | Zyzzyva, a San Francisco Journal of Arts & Letters
Cecil S. Giscombe
Robert Hass
Lyn Hejinian
Rita Iorfida
Patti James
Joyce Jenkins | Poetry Flash
Diane Johnson
Gail Kauffman
Diana Ketcham and Andrew Hoyem | Arion Press
P.F. Kluge
Wendy Lesser | Threepenny Review
Yiyun Li
Ian Maloney | The St. Francis College Literary Prize
Peter Maravelis | City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, San Francisco
Regan McMahon | Common Sense Media
John McMurtrie | Book Editor, San Francisco Chronicle
Karen Mulvaney
John Murray
Scott Saul
Elizabeth Tallent
Julayne Virgil | CEO, Girls Inc Alameda County
Jan Weissmiller | Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City
Willard Williams | Toadstool Books, New Hampshire
Tobias Wolff
David Wood