Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

The submission period for the second annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award began yesterday and ends on February 8, or until ten thousand entries have been received. The grand-prize winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin Group, including a $25,000 advance.

Entries may be uploaded through a link on Amazon’s site, which also includes information about the multi-tiered judging process. Amazon readers will vote for the winner from three finalists. During the finals, an expert panel—made up of novelists Sue Monk Kidd and Sue Grafton, Penguin Press editor in chief Eamon Dolan, and literary agent Barney Karpfinger, whose client list includes Bill Loehfelm, winner of last year’s Amazon Breakthrough Award for his book Fresh Kills—will post comments for customers to consider while voting. The winner will be announced on May 22.

Also included on the site are tips for submissions, such as this one about the importance of choosing an excerpt to post on the site: “The first ten pages of your book are some of the most important that you will write. Imagine a reader looking through the first few pages of a book to decide whether or not to purchase it: Something special needs to happen at the start—whether that's a sharp plot twist, the introduction of a fascinating character, or a beautifully crafted opening scene—to make the reader want more. When you select your excerpt text, choose where to stop judiciously: It doesn't necessarily have to be at word 5,000. Quality counts. Be careful that you don't leave readers hanging mid-sentence.”

The award is given for an unpublished, English-language work of fiction, between 50,000 and 150,000 words in length; there is no entry fee.

John Updike Remembered

by Staff
2.2.09

Pulitzer Prize–winning author John Updike had a profound impact on the literary community in the United States and abroad, and many authors, editors, publishers, and readers have come forward to reflect on the prolific writer’s life and work following his death from lung cancer last Tuesday.

House Approves $50 Million in Stimulus Funds for NEA

by Staff
1.30.09

The House of Representatives approved on Wednesday fifty million dollars in supplemental grants funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as part of the $819 billion economic stimulus bill put forward by president Barack Obama.

Former HMH Publisher Hired by Riverhead

by Staff
1.28.09

A little more than a month after Rebecca Saletan resigned as senior vice president and publisher of adult trade books at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), the experienced editor has been hired as editorial director of Riverhead Books.

Poets Chronicle Obama's First One Hundred Days

by Staff
1.28.09

As the nation watches president Barack Obama during his first one hundred days in office, poets from across the country have begun to contribute their responses—in verse—to the new presidency on the blog Starting Today: Poems for the First One Hundred Days. 

Editor of Publishers Weekly Among Those Laid Off in Reed Restructuring

by Staff
1.27.09

The magazine that has been diligently reporting the rising number of layoffs in the publishing industry has been hit with a high-profile layoff of its own. Sara Nelson, the editor in chief of Publishers Weekly, the industry's leading trade magazine, was recently laid off as part of a restructuring by the publication's parent company, Reed Business Information.

Finalists Chosen for National Book Critics Circle Awards

The National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its 2008 awards at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City on Saturday night. The winners in each category—poetry, fiction, nonfiction, autobiography, criticism, and biography—will be named on March 12 at an awards ceremony at the New School. 

The finalists in poetry are:
August Kleinzahler for Sleeping It Off in Rapid City (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Juan Felipe Herrera for Half the World in Light (University of Arizona Press)
Devin Johnston for Sources (Turtle Point Press)
Pierre Martory for The Landscapist (Sheep Meadow Press), translated by John Ashbery
Brenda Shaughnessy for Human Dark with Sugar (Copper Canyon Press)

The finalists in fiction are:
Roberto Bolaño for 2666 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Marilynne Robinson for Home (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Aleksandar Hemon for The Lazarus Project (Riverhead)
M. Glenn Talyor for The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart (West Virginia University Press)
Elizabeth Strout for Olive Kittredge (Random House)

The finalists in autobiography are:
Rick Bass for Why I Came West (Houghton Mifflin)
Helene Cooper for The House on Sugar Beach (Simon & Schuster)
Honor Moore for The Bishop’s Daughter (Norton)
Andrew X. Pham for The Eaves of Heaven (Harmony Books)
Ariel Sabar for My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq (Algonquin)

The nonprofit organization composed of seven hundred book critics and reviewers from across the country also announced on Saturday that the winner of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award is the PEN American Center; Ron Charles will receive the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.

Last year, Mary Jo Bang won the NBCC Award in poetry for Elegy (Graywolf), Junot Díaz won in fiction for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead), and Edwidge Danticat won in autobiography for Brother, I'm Dying (Knopf).

 

 

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