Katherine Boo, Michael Chabon & Amy Tan Join American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel

By Jason Boog Comment

The American Heritage Dictionary has added a number of writers to its usage panel, including Katherine BooMichael Chabon and Amy Tan. See all the 2012 and 2013 additions to the panel below…

The panel is a collection of about 200 novelists, linguists, editors, journalists, poets, and other wordsmiths who guide “hundreds of supplementary notes inform the reader about usages that are contentious.” They guide readers with extra context for words like “irregardless” “affect”  or “impact.” Here’s more from the release:

Since 1964, five years before the publication of the first edition, the editorial staff has turned to the Usage Panel for feedback and guidance. Because we have collected five decades’ worth of information, we can show the change in opinion over time (as at ). Of course the makeup of the Panel has changed over the years. Only one member from the original panel, William Zinsser, remains. Usually panelists stay on until their deaths. We received James Michener’s final ballot, for example, very soon after his death; the ballot is quite likely one of the last items he worked on. Occasionally, a member will ask to retire. As a result, each year we invite a handful of people to join the ranks of the Usage Panel.

Here are the 14 new Panelists that were added last year and this year:

2013 Panelists

Katherine Boo is an author, a staff writer for The New Yorker, a MacArthur Fellow, and a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.
Michael Chabon is a writer and a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.
Connie Eble is a professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Margalit Fox is an author and a senior writer at The New York Times.
Edward P. Jones is an author, a professor of English at The George Washington University, and a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.
James Lindgren is a professor of Law at Northwestern University.
Tracy K. Smith is a poet, a professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University, and a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.
Amy Tan is a writer.

2012 Panelists

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a writer for The Atlantic.
Peter Gordon is a puzzlemaker and a crossword editor.
Susan Orlean is an author and a staff writer for The New Yorker.
Claudia Rankine is a poet, a playwright, and the Henry G. Lee Professor of Poetry at Pomona College.
Mary Roach is a writer.
Will Shortz is a puzzlemaker and the crossword editor for The New York Times.