Barnes & Noble Names Discover Awards Finalists 
Winners to be Announced at a Special Ceremony in New York City on Wednesday, March 6
Prize Pool for Winning Writers and Finalists is More Than $100,000 with 
Winners Receiving a Year of Promotion from Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest retail bookseller, today announced the six finalists for its prestigious 2018 Discover 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 its debut, the program has introduced readers to nearly 1,900 extraordinary literary talents, many of whom have gone on to become household namesincluding Matthew Desmond, Anthony Doerr, Elizabeth Gilbert, Zadie Smith, Cheryl Strayed, Colson Whitehead and many more.

The six winners of the Discover Great New Writers Awards will share a cash prize totaling $105,000 and will be announced on Wednesday, March 6, 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 each, and third-place finalists $7,500 each. 

The finalists for the 2018 Discover Great New Writers Awards are:


BN Discover Award Finalist HowarthBN Discover Award Finalist MirzaBN Discover Award Finalist OrangeOnly Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth (Harper) – A beautifully written, classic story of brothers and revenge, injustice and honor, set in 1880s Australia.

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza (SJP for Hogarth) –At once intimate and epic, this is an unforgettable story of family and identity, past and present, choices and consequences, home and the outside world.

There There by Tommy Orange (Knopf) –Tommy Orange writes about the lives of Urban Native Americans with force and velocity, digging deep into narratives that balance between painful and profound.


American Prison by Shane Bauer (Penguin Press) – A ground-breaking inside investigation into the private prison industry and the forces that drive it, told by a journalist who was legitimately hired under his own name with no background check.

Educated by Tara Westover (Random House) – A searing story of growing up off the grid, which becomes an inspirational story of a young woman who saves her own life through her love of books and learning.

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon (Scribner) – An insightful, fearless, and often very funny story of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that explores what a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation.

Books by the finalists can be purchased at all Barnes & Noble stores nationwide and online at

The Judges

Two panels of distinguished judges selected the finalists and will also select the winners.

Serving as this year’s fiction judges are:

Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, TX.

Helen Simonson is the New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand (a 2010 Discover Great New Writers selection) and The Summer Before the War. She was born in England and spent her teenage years in a small village near Rye, in East Sussex. A graduate of the London School of Economics with an MFA from Stony Brook Southampton, she is a former travel advertising executive who has lived in America for the last three decades.

Jess Walter is the author of eight books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Beautiful Ruins, the National Book Award finalist The Zero, the Edgar Award-winning Citizen Vince, and the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poet. His work has been published in 32 languages and his short fiction has won a Pushcart Prize and appeared three times in The Best American Short Stories yearly anthology. He lives in Spokane, Washington, with his family.

This year’s nonfiction judges are:

Mira Jacob is the author of the graphic memoir Good Talk, forthcoming from One World/Random House in March 2019. Her acclaimed debut novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing was also a 2014 selection of the Discover Great New Writers program. Her recent work has appeared in The New York Times Book ReviewVogueand BuzzFeed among other outlets.

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc is a journalist who is best known for her 2003 nonfiction book Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship among many other awards and fellowships, she will be the Elias Ghanem Chair at the Black Mountain Institute of the University of Nevada Las Vegas starting in February 2019.

Beth Macy is the author of the widely-acclaimed and bestselling books Truevine and Factory Man. Based in Roanoke, Virginia for three decades, her reporting has won more than a dozen national awards, including a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard.

Books by the judges can be purchased at all Barnes & Noble stores nationwide and online at

The Discover Awards

Since 1990, the Discover Great New Writers program has connected readers with incredible, unforgettable stories 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.

Fifty-two books were handpicked for the program in 2018 from the more than 1,000 submissions from publishers of all sizes, and from these, the judges select the shortlist and the winners of the Discover Awards in 2018.

Past winners of the annual Discover Great New Writers Award include: Patty Yumi Cottrell for Sorry to Disrupt the Peace and Jessica Bruder for Nomadland (both 2017); Matthew Desmond for Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City and Abby Geni for The Lightkeepers (both 2016); Mia Alvar for In the Country: Stories and Jill Leovy for Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America (both 2015); Evie Wyld for All the Birds, Singing (2014); Anthony Marra for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and Justin St. Germain for Son of a Gun (both 2013); Cheryl Strayed for Wild and Amanda Coplin for The Orchardist (both 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, customers should visit or ask one of the knowledgeable booksellers at any Barnes & Noble store nationwide.  

About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) is the world’s largest retail bookseller, and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products.  The Company operates 630 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, and one of the Web’s premier e-commerce sites, (  The Nook Digital business offers a lineup of popular NOOK® tablets and eReaders and an expansive collection of digital reading and entertainment content through the NOOK Store®. The NOOK Store ( features digital books, periodicals and comics, and offers the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices through Free NOOK Reading Apps™ available for Android™, iOS® and Windows®.

General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained by visiting the Company’s corporate website at

Barnes & Noble®, Barnes & Noble Booksellers® and Barnes &® are trademarks of Barnes & Noble, Inc. or its affiliates. NOOK® and the NOOK logos are trademarks of Nook Digital, LLC or its affiliates.

For more information on Barnes & Noble, follow us on TwitterInstagramPinterest and Snapchat (bnsnaps), and like us on Facebook. For more information on NOOK, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.