Paul Howarth and Kiese Laymon are the 2018 Discover Great New Writers Award Winners

New York, New York – March 6, 2019 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest retail bookseller, today announced that Paul Howarth’s Only Killers and Thieves (Harper), a timeless story of brothers, revenge, injustice and honor, and Kiese Laymon’s Heavy (Scribner), an unforgettable memoir of growing up with racial prejudice and violence both at home and in the culture at large, are the winners of the 2018 Discover Awards for fiction and nonfiction, respectively. Each writer was awarded a cash prize of $30,000 and a full year of marketing and merchandising support from Barnes & Noble. 

Second-place winners are Tommy Orange for There There (Knopf), about the lives of Urban Native Americans, and Shane Bauer for American Prison (Penguin Press), a ground-breaking investigation into the private prison industry and the forces that drive it. Each writer was awarded a $15,000 cash prize.

Third place was awarded to Fatima Farheen Mirza for A Place for Us (SJP for Hogarth/Crown),an unforgettable story of family and identity, and Tara Westover for Educated (Random House), an inspirational story of a young woman who saves her own life through her love of books and learning. Each writer received a $7,500 cash prize.
Kiese LaymonThe awards were presented this afternoon at a private ceremony in New York City.
The Discover Great New Writers Awards are presented annually in recognition of literary excellence. The six finalists for the Discover Great New Writers Awards were chosen by two panels of noted authors from 52 titles picked by our booksellers for the Discover Great New Writers program in 2018.
Books by the finalists and judges can be purchased at any Barnes & Noble store nationwide, online at or downloaded on any NOOK® eReader or tablet.

The Judges
Two panels of distinguished literary judges selected 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 (a 2002 Discover Great New Writers selection), Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and National Book Award finalist News of the World.
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 Poets. 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.
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 Review, Vogue, and 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 is also the Elias Ghanem Chair at the Black Mountain Institute of the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
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: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century (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 Phenomenaand 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: Stories (2006); Alison Smith for Name All the Animals (2004); Anthony Doerr for The Shell Collector (2002); Hampton Sides for Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission  (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. 
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