Jan 31 – Feb 6, 2011 Edition BN Announces Discover Awards Finalists

New York, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/February 1, 2011–Barnes & Noble, Inc. today announced the finalists for its prestigious 2010 Discover Great New Writers Awards. Finalists are selected from two categories, fiction and nonfiction; winners 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 receive $2,500. The finalists are:

David R. Dow, The Autobiography of an Execution (Twelve)
Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scribner)
Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Crown)

Kim Echlin, The Disappeared (Black Cat)
Nic Pizzolatto, Galveston (Scribner)
Eric Puchner, Model Home (Scribner)

The winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 2, at a private awards ceremony. The Discover Awards honor the best works featured the previous calendar year in the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program.

The Finalists
David Dow is against the death penalty, yet there are people he would like to see dead. The Autobiography of an Execution is the stunning result of his long career as an appellate lawyer, defending (via legal aid) more than 100 death-row inmates. It is a sobering portrait of the American criminal justice system, and a riveting work of nonfiction. For Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies was a titanic undertaking. Mukherjee, a doctor specializing in the treatment of cancer patients, believed his patients could better fight an enemy they understood. So, he studied the history of the disease, and weaves his fascinating research with the personal stories of patients he has encountered to form a compelling narrative history of cancer and those fighting it. A science writer, Rebecca Skloot is always on the hunt for a good story. She found it in the person of Henrietta Lacks, the woman from whom the first HeLa cells were harvested (without her knowledge); and in her pursuit of the full story behind this astonishing fact, Skloot spent a decade to fashion, with considerable skill, her debut, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

The Disappeared is Canadian writer Kim Echlin’s third novel, an exotic and haunting portrait of a passionate love that blooms in the jazz clubs of Montreal between a young girl and a Cambodian refugee torn between a future in a foreign country and a love for his homeland. Nic Pizzolatto’s debut novel, Galveston, is a gritty, noirish literary thriller that beats a dark path from New Orleans to the beaches of South Texas, following a hardened criminal who walks away from a shakedown with an unwanted souvenir in the form of a young prostitute who witnessed the event. In Model Home, his often comical, yet warmhearted debut novel of 1980s California, Eric Puchner introduces the Zillers – a family of five newly transplanted to Southern California – whose optimism presages a boom, but whose future is distinctly headed toward bust.

The Jurists
Two panels of distinguished literary jurists (each of whom was selected for the Discover program earlier in their careers) selected the finalists and will select the winners. This year’s nonfiction judges include Eric Blehm, 2006 Discover Award winner for The Last Season, and the author of The Only Thing Worth Dying For; journalist Christina Lamb, 2003 Discover Award finalist for The Sewing Circles of Herat, and author of The Africa House and House of Stone; and Terry Teachout, a drama and culture critic, whose work includes a biography of H.L. Mencken, The Skeptic, as well as a biography of Louis Amstrong, Pops.

Serving as this year’s fiction jurists are Peter Cameron, the author of numerous books, including the novels The Weekend and The City of Your Final Destination; John Dalton, 2004 Discover Award winner for his first novel, Heaven Lake, and whose second novel, The Inverted Forest, will be published this summer; and Zoë Ferraris, author of the novels Finding Nouf and City of Veils.

The Discover Awards
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 60 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. Recent winners of the annual Discover Great New Writers Award include David Cullen for Columbine, Victor Lodato for Mathilda Savitch; David Sheff for Beautiful Boy, Gin Phillips for The Well and the Mine; Joshua Ferris for Then We Came to the End, Kate Braestrup for Here If You Need Me, Nathaniel Fick for One Bullet Away, and Tracy Chevalier for Girl with a Pearl Earring.