NEW YORK, NY – March 2, 2011 – Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, today announced that Canadian Kim Echlin’s nostalgic novel of a cross-cultural love story, The Disappeared (Black Cat), and attorney David R. Dow’s spellbinding account of his efforts to defend the seemingly indefensible, The Autobiography of an Execution (Twelve), have been named the winners of the 2010 Discover Awards for fiction and non-fiction, respectively. Each writer was awarded a cash prize of $10,000, and a full year of marketing and merchandising support from the bookseller.
Eric Puchner’s darkly hilarious novel, Model Home (Scribner), set in Southern California, and Rebecca Skloot’s fascinating history behind the HeLa cells, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Crown), took second place honors, each receiving $5,000. Debut novelist Nic Pizzolatto’s Galveston (Scribner) and Siddhartha Mukherjee’s engrossing biography of cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scriber), won third place honors, each receiving $2,500. The awards were presented this afternoon at a private ceremony in New York.
The Disappeared, Kim Echlin’s novel, is a love story that spans two countries – Cambodia and Canada – and three decades, in the life of a woman who fell in love with a Cambodian refugee in the jazz clubs of Montreal as a teenager. Fiction jurist John Dalton said, “The Disappeared is a powerful and affecting novel, one that's willing to consider the greatest devotion and the most terrible cruelty."
Writers participating in this year’s fiction jury panel included Peter Cameron, the author of numerous books including his most recent novel, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You; John Dalton, whose first novel, Heaven Lake, won the Discover Award in 2004; and Zoë Ferraris, whose Saudi Arabian mystery series includes the novels Finding Nouf and City of Veils.
The non-fiction winner, The Autobiography of an Execution, is David R. Dow’s thrilling account of his efforts to give death row inmates a proper defense in a criminal justice system gone awry. Non-fiction jurist Terry Teachout said, "No matter how you feel about capital punishment – and especially if you support it, whether staunchly or uneasily – this book will bring you face to face with the arbitrary, often capricious way in which the death penalty really works. It's the most sobering book that I read in 2010.”
Writers on the non-fiction jury panel included Eric Blehm, whose book, The Last Season, won the Discover Award in 2006; British journalist Christina Lamb, whose book, The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan, was a finalist for the Discover Award in 2002; and critic Terry Teachout, whose biographies include The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken, and Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong.
The Discover Awards honor the works of exceptionally talented writers featured in the Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” program during the previous calendar year. In 2010, the Discover Great New Writers program featured the work of 60 previously unknown fiction and non-fiction writers. Previous Discover Award winners include Dave Cullen, Victor Lodato, Tracy Chevalier, Joshua Ferris, David Guterson, Chang-rae Lee, Anthony Doerr, Hampton Sides, Ben Fountain, and David Sheff.
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