NEW YORK, NY – January 26, 2016 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the nation’s largest retail bookseller and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced the six finalists for its prestigious 2015 Discover Great New Writers Awards. The Discover Great New Writers program, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2015, recognizes great fiction and nonfiction books from authors at the start of their careers. Since 1990, the program has introduced readers to more than 1,800 extraordinary literary talents, many of whom have gone on to become household names, including Gillian Flynn, Khaled Hosseini, Cheryl Strayed and many more.
The six winners of the Discover Great New Writers Awards will share a cash prize totaling $105,000 and be announced on Wednesday, March 2, at a private awards ceremony in New York City. The top winners in each category, fiction and nonfiction, will receive a $30,000 prize and a full year of promotion from Barnes & Noble. Second-place finalists will receive $15,000, and third-place finalists $7,500.
The finalists for the 2015 Discover Great New Writers Awards are:
In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar (Alfred A. Knopf): Exiled overseas and tethered to family mythologies, the characters in this sublime collection of short stories all share one thing: a profound dislocation from the things and people they love most in this debut.
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt): Thirteen siblings come together to decide the fate of the family home in East Detroit. This powerful debut was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award.
The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus (Farrar, Straus and Giroux): Secrets and lies, money and power; a family’s past collides with its present in this ambitious debut novel.
Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt (Random House): This is not only the powerful story of what the Maines’ family experiences when they acknowledge that one of their twin sons is a girl, but also a heartwarming and inspiring call to understand and celebrate the uniqueness in us all.
Bettyville by George Hodgman (Viking): Many face caring for elderly parents, but only a rare few could tell this story with the aplomb and honesty of this sharp, insightful—and often very funny—memoir from a middle aged ex-New Yorker caring for his elderly mother in their small Missouri hometown.
Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy (Random House): This steely examination of American society chronicles the commission, investigation and aftermath of a single murder. It quickly became a critically-acclaimed bestseller in 2015.
Books by the finalists can be purchased at any Barnes & Noble store, online at Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com/discover) or instantly downloaded on any NOOK® eReader or tablet.
Two panels of distinguished literary judges selected the finalists and will also select the winners.
Serving as this year’s fiction judges are:
Eleanor Brown, author of The Weird Sisters, a New York Times and international bestseller and a Discover Great New Writers selection. Her second novel, The Light of Paris, will be published by Putnam Books in 2016.
Ben Fountain, winner of the Discover Award (fiction) for Brief Encounters with Che Guevara and a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, soon to be a film by Ang Lee.
Thrity Umrigar, bestselling author of six novels and a memoir, including The Space Between Us and The Story Hour. She is the Armington Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University.
This year’s nonfiction judges are:
Scott Anderson, a veteran war correspondent and the author of five books, most recently the national bestseller Lawrence in Arabia. A frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine, his work has also appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper’s and Outside.
Candice Millard, author of two New York Times’ bestsellers, The River of Doubt, which was also a Discover Great New Writers selection, and Destiny of the Republic.
Cheryl Strayed, author of four books, including Wild, a #1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the Discover Award (non-fiction), and the New York Times’ bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough. Her books have been translated into 40 languages around the world.
Books by the judges can be purchased at any Barnes & Noble store, online at Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com/discover) or instantly downloaded on any NOOK® eReader or tablet.
The Discover Awards
Throughout its rich 25-year history, The Discover Great New Writers program has connected readers with books that are special, surprising, and a little off the beaten path, which they may have otherwise missed. In addition to helping customers find their next great read, the program has helped many emerging authors find their audience.
The Discover program's selection committee is comprised of Barnes & Noble booksellers from across the company and around the country. They are voracious readers who meet weekly throughout the year to look for compelling voices, extraordinary writing, and indelible stories from literary talents at the start of their careers.
Forty-six books were handpicked for the program in 2015 from the 1,000+ submissions from publishers of all sizes, and from these, the judges select the shortlist and the winners of the Discover Awards.
Past winners of the annual Discover Great New Writers Award include Evie Wyld for All the Birds, Singing and Bryce Andrews for Badluck Way (both 2014), Anthony Marra for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and Justin St. Germain for Son of a Gun (both 2013), Amanda Coplin for The Orchardist (2012), Joshua Ferris for Then We Came to the End (2007), Ben Fountain for Brief Encounters with Che Guevara (2006), Alison Smith for Name All the Animals (2004), Anthony Doerr for The Shell Collector (2002), Hampton Sides for Ghost Soldiers (2001), Elizabeth McCracken for The Giant’s House (1996), and Chang-rae Lee for Native Speaker (1995).
For more information on the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program, please visit www.bn.com/discover or ask one of the knowledgeable booksellers at Barnes & Noble’s 640 stores nationwide.