Abby Geni and Matthew Desmond Are the 2016 Discover Great New Writers
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the nation’s largest
retail bookseller and a leading retailer of content, digital media and
educational products, today announced that Abby Geni’s The
Lightkeepers (Counterpoint Press), a sublime debut novel about a
young woman who finds herself at the center of a murder mystery on a
remote island, and Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and
Profit in the American City (Crown Publishing Group), a finely
reported narrative that puts human faces on a modern American crisis and
will change the way readers view poverty today, are the winners of the
2016 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 the bookseller.
Second-place winners are Yaa Gyasi for Homegoing (Alfred
A. Knopf), a heartbreaking and beautiful novel that follows two branches
of a family—one in America and the other in Africa—over 300 years, and Hope
Jahren for Labgirl (Alfred A. Knopf), a spirited memoir and a
moving story of scholarship, friendship and the natural world written by
a scientist at the top of her game. Each writer was awarded a $15,000
Third place was awarded to Jung Yun for Shelter (Picador
USA), a riveting domestic drama in which a young father is forced to
face his past—and his parents—in order to save his family’s future, and Patrick
Phillips for Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America (W.W.
Norton), a meticulously researched history of the author’s hometown, and
an ugly and harrowing episode of American history. Each writer received
a $7,500 cash prize.
The awards were presented this afternoon at a private ceremony in New
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
the 42 titles handpicked by our booksellers for the Discover Great New
Writers program in 2016.
Books by the finalists and judges can be purchased at any Barnes & Noble
store nationwide, online at Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com)
or instantly downloaded on any NOOK® eReader or tablet.
Two panels of distinguished literary judges selected the winners.
Serving as this year’s fiction judges are:
Wiley Cash, The New York Times bestselling author of the
critically acclaimed A Land More Kind Than Home (a Discover Great
New Writers selection) and This Dark Road to Mercy. His third
novel is forthcoming in 2017.
Benjamin Percy, the author of three novels, two story
collections, and a craft book, including The Dead Lands, Red
Moon (a Discover Great New Writers selection), and Thrill
Me: Essays on Fiction. His fourth novel, The Dark Net, is
forthcoming in April 2017. He also writes the Green Arrow
and Teen Titans series at DC Comics®.
Emma Straub, The New York Times bestselling author of the
novels Modern Lovers, The Vacationers, and Laura
Lamont’s Life in Pictures (a Discover Great New Writers selection), as
well as the short story collection Other People We Married.
This year’s nonfiction judges are:
Jennifer Finney Boylan, the author of 15 books. Her
2003 memoir, She’s Not There: a Life in Two Genders, was the
first bestselling book by a transgender American. Her new novel, Long
Black Veil, is forthcoming in April 2017. Boylan’s novel The
Planets was a 1991 Discover Great New Writers selection.
Sloane Crosley, the author of The New York Times bestselling
essay collections, I Was Told There’d Be Cake (also a
finalist for The Thurber Prize for American Humor) and How Did You
Get This Number, as well as the bestselling novel, The Clasp.
Brando Skyhorse, the author of a novel, The Madonnas of Echo
Park (a Discover Great New Writers selection), and recipient of both
the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from
the American Academy of Arts and Letters for Take This Man: A Memoir.
Previous Winners of the Discover Awards
Previous winners of the annual Discover Awards include 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 in 2013), Amanda Coplin for The
Orchardist (2012), David Sheff for Beautiful
Boy (2008), Joshua Ferris for Then
We Came to the End (2007), Ben Fountain for Brief
Encounters with Che Guevara (2006), Uzodinma Iweala for Beasts
of No Nation (2005), Alison Smith for Name
All the Animals (2004), Monica Ali for Brick
Lane (2003), Dina Temple-Raston for A
Death in Texas (2002), Hampton Sides for Ghost
Soldiers (2001), Elizabeth McCracken for The
Giant’s House (1996), and Chang-rae Lee for Native
Additional information about the 2016 Discover Award winners and judges
can be found at www.bn.com/discover.
The Discover Great New Writers Program
The Discover Great New Writers program (www.bn.com/discover),
which celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2015, was
established in 1990 to highlight works of exceptional literary quality
that our booksellers believe readers won’t want to miss. Titles are
handpicked for their indelible narrative voices, powerful storytelling
and gorgeous prose. Many of the writers previously
selected for the program have gone on to become household names.
For more information on the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
program, please visit www.bn.com/discover,
or ask one of the knowledgeable booksellers at Barnes & Noble’s 638
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& Noble, Inc.
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