Barnes & Noble Announces Finalists for the 15th Annual Discover New Writers Awards

February 7, 2008
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February 7 – February 14, 2008 Edition

Barnes & Noble Announces

Finalists for the 15th Annual

Discover New Writers Awards

NEW YORK, NY/02/01/08 — Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), has announced the finalists for its prestigious 2007 Discover Great New Writers Awards. The winners in each category, fiction and nonfiction, receive a $10,000 prize and a full year of additional promotion from Barnes & Noble. Second-place finalists receive $5,000, and third-place finalists, $2,500. The finalists are:

Fiction

Matthew Eck, The Farther Shore (Milkweed Editions)

Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End (Little, Brown)

Vendela Vida, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name (Ecco Books)

Nonfiction

Kate Braestrup, Here If You Need Me: A True Story (Little, Brown) Elizabeth D. Samet, Soldier’s Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) Yaroslav Trofimov, The Siege of Mecca: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam’s Holiest Shrine and the Birth of Al Qaeda (Doubleday)

The winners will be announced on Wednesday, February 27, at a private awards ceremony. At 7:00 p.m. that evening, all six finalists are invited to read from their work at Barnes & Noble’s Lincoln Triangle store in New York City (1972 Broadway at 66th Street). The Discover Awards honor the best works featured the previous calendar year in the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program.

The Finalists

Matthew Eck’s harrowing fiction debut, The Farther Shore, is a riveting exploration of contemporary warfare. A veteran of the U.S. Army efforts in Somalia, Eck places readers amidst the swirling dust and stifling fear of a small band of U.S. soldiers as they anticipate an ambush from an invisible assailant. His characters, seemingly abandoned by their command, wrestle with moral and personal demons to chilling effect. Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris’ comic first novel, was a finalist for the National Book Award. The story of a declining advertising agency and its malcontented denizens, Ferris’ characters are so realistic, readers will think he’s been spying on the antics at their own offices.

The frozen, silent landscape of Lapland – home of the reindeer people – is the setting for Vendela Vida’s ambitious second novel, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name. Her indomitable protagonist, a New Yorker in search of her true heritage, peels away an onionskin of lies to embrace a history she could never have imagined.

Here If You Need Me is Kate Braestrup’s poignantly crafted memoir, which invites readers to ride shotgun with her as a chaplain in the game warden service. Set in Maine, and filled with stories both heartwarming and tragic, Braestrup’s book is a celebration of nature and life. A passion for literature led Elizabeth Samet to West Point, where she’s spent a decade teaching cadets. The result of her work is captured in Soldier’s Heart, an affecting book that should be required reading for dispirited Americans. Yaroslav Trofimov, a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, employs a stunning you-are-there immediacy in The Siege of Mecca, an historical portrait of a little-remembered battle that presaged the terrorism of today.

Two panels of distinguished literary jurists selected the finalists and will select the winners. Serving as this year’s fiction jurists are Louisa Ermelino, the author of the novels Joey Dee Gets Wise and The Black Madonna; John Burnham Schwartz, the author of The Commoner, and whose novel, Reservation Road, was released as a feature film last fall; and Rupert Thomson, the author of many novels, the most recent of which was Death of a Murderer.

This year’s nonfiction judges include Lucinda Franks, author of My Father’s Secret War; Dr. Perri Klass, whose most recent book was Treatment Kind and Fair: Letters to a Young Doctor; and Robert Kurson, bestselling author of Shadow Divers, and most recently, Crashing Through.

The Discover Great New Writers program was established in 1990 to highlight works of exceptional literary quality that might otherwise be overlooked in a crowded book marketplace. This year’s selections featured the work of 68 new and previously underappreciated writers. Submissions to the program are read and discussed by a group of Barnes & Noble booksellers before selection for the program’s seasonal promotions. Past winners of the annual Discover Great New Writers Award include Ben Fountain for Brief Encounters with Che Guevara (2006), Eric Blehm for The Last Season (2006), Uzodinma Iweala for Beasts of No Nation (2005), Nathaniel Fick for One Bullet Away (2005), Alison Smith for Name All the Animals (2004), Monica Ali for Brick Lane (2003), Manil Suri for The Death of Vishnu (2001), Tracy Chevalier for Girl with a Pearl Earring (2000), and David Guterson for Snow Falling on Cedars (1994).

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller and a Fortune 500 company, operates 801 bookstores in 50 states. For the fourth year in a row, the company is the nation’s top bookseller brand, as determined by a brand’s overall strength based on its combination of familiarity, quality and purchase intent, according to the Equitrend® Brand Study by Harris Interactive®. Barnes & Noble conducts its online business through Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com), one of the Web?s largest e-commerce sites.

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