Amazon and Penguin Group (USA) Name Patricia McArdle and Amy Ackley Winners of Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award
Patricia McArdle, author of "Farishta," and Amy Ackley, author of "Sign Language," win the competitions in the general fiction and young adult fiction categories, respectively.
SEATTLE – June 14, 2010 – Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Penguin Group (USA) (NYSE: PSO) today named the winners of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the international competition in search of the next popular novel. For the first time in the competition's history, two grand prizes were awarded: one for general fiction and one for best young adult novel. The winners, selected by Amazon.com customers, were revealed at an event held at the Amazon campus in Seattle this morning. Each one will receive a publishing contract from Penguin Group (USA) that includes a $15,000 advance. Patricia McArdle is the winner of the general fiction category for her novel, "Farishta," which will be published by Riverhead Books. Amy Ackley is the winner in the young adult fiction category for her novel, "Sign Language," which will be published by Viking Children's Books. Both of these novels are available for pre-order now on Amazon.com, at www.amazon.com/abna.
"Thousands of Amazon.com customers participated in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award by posting reviews and casting votes for the winners," said Jeff Belle, vice president, U.S. books, Amazon. "The results of this year's vote were the closest we've ever had, which is indicative of both the competitiveness of the entries and the exceptional work from our finalists."
"It is such a pleasure to award two grand prizes this year and to have two wonderful new authors publishing with Penguin. We congratulate Patricia McArdle and Amy Ackley on their talent and achievement," said Tim McCall, Penguin's vice president of online sales and marketing.
Patricia McArdle, a resident of Arlington, Va., is a retired American diplomat whose postings have taken her around the world, including northern Afghanistan. Her novel, "Farishta," centers around a female American diplomat who, transferred to a volatile, remote outpost in northern Afghanistan, provides aid to refugee women fleeing the violence. She becomes their farishta, or "angel," in the local Dari language. Julie Barer of Barer Literary, LLC, one of the contest's expert panelists, described McArdle's "Farishta" as "a moving and fascinating story of one woman's work in a place that few Americans have experienced beyond newspaper headlines and CNN stories. Both the originality of the setting and the quality of the writing make this debut stand out in the crowd."
Young adult fiction winner Amy Ackley of Brighton, Mich. is a mother of three whose career has included a variety of jobs, from public administration to labor relations for top automakers. Ackley left home at the tender age of 16 and has supported herself ever since. Inspired by the loss of her father and two close friends to cancer, "Sign Language" tells the story of 12-year-old Abby North. Her first hint that something is wrong with her dad is the scar that appears on his stomach after he goes in for kidney surgery. Soon, the thing she calls "It" has a real name: cancer. Before, her biggest concerns were her annoying brother, the crush unaware of her existence and her changing feelings for her best friend, Spence. Now, her mother cries in the shower, her father is exhausted and nothing is normal anymore. Nancy Werlin said the novel "tells its story beautifully and movingly, and it earns its hopeful ending. Ackley is without question a talented writer."
The 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, which began Jan. 25, 2010, drew thousands of entrants, representing all 50 U.S. states and 22 countries. The contest is co-sponsored by Amazon, Penguin Group (USA) and CreateSpace. For complete terms and conditions on the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and to view the winning excerpts and reviews, please visit www.amazon.com/abna.
About Penguin Group (USA)
Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam's Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group (http://www.penguin.com) is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.
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