Amazon and Penguin Group (USA) Reveal Finalists for Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

Amazon.com customers can now vote for the winners at www.amazon.com/abna
Winners to be announced in Seattle on Monday, June 13

SEATTLE, NEW YORK, CHARLESTON, S.C. — May 24, 2011—Six finalists have been selected from among thousands of qualified writers in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, the international competition in search of the next popular novel, sponsored by Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN), Penguin Group (USA) (NYSE: PSO) and CreateSpace, part of the Amazon group of companies. From now through June 1, Amazon customers can vote for their favorite work at www.amazon.com/abna after reading excerpts from the finalists' respective novels in the general fiction and young adult fiction categories. The two grand prize winners of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, who will each receive a publishing contract from Penguin Group (USA) which includes a $15,000 advance, will be revealed in Seattle on Monday, June 13, 2011.

An expert panel will weigh in with their comments on the finalists for customers to consider while voting. The 2011 expert panelists for the general fiction category are: Lev Grossman, author of the New York Times bestseller "The Magicians" and theupcoming sequel "The Magician King," and book critic for Time magazine;literary agent Jennifer Joel of ICM; and Marysue Rucci, Vice President, Editorial Director with G.P. Putnam's Sons. The expert panelists for the young adult fiction category are: Gayle Forman, journalist and author of the New York Times bestsellers "If I Stay" and "Where She Went"; literary agent Julie Just of Janklow & Nesbit; and Jennifer Besser, Vice President and Publisher, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers.

"This year was the biggest ever for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, and there were so many fantastic submissions in both categories," said Nader Kabbani, Director of Independent Publishing, Amazon. "We encourage our customers to go on Amazon.com today to have their voices heard and help select the Grand Prize Winners for 2011."

Tim McCall, Vice President, Director of Online Sales and Marketing, Penguin Group (USA), commented: "It's always wonderful to be able to offer talented writers an opportunity to be published at Penguin, and we look forward to the long and fruitful relationships we've developed with the writers we've discovered in this competition. "

The top three finalists in the general fiction category, listed in alphabetical order by author's last name, are:

"East of Denver" by Gregory Hill, Denver, CO
Hill lives in Denver where he works at the University of Denver library and plays in "The Babysitters," a rock and roll power trio that includes his wife on drums. "East of Denver" tells the story of Shakespeare Williams, who returns to his family's farm in eastern Colorado to find his widowed, senile father living in squalor.  Facing the loss of the farm, Shakespeare hatches a plot with his father and a motley crew of his former high school classmates to rob the local bank. 

"Dog Christ" by Lucian Morgan, Phoenix, AZ
Morgan has a degree in Russian language and literature. In his words, he has held "a thousand jobs, none of them particularly noteworthy," but says he has always written because it tells him things he "wouldn't otherwise know." His novel features Gustav Arturo Deal, a man who is mostly confined to a wheelchair and is assumed by most to be afflicted with severe brain damage.  Deal lives in a monstrosity of a home with a man and a woman who claim to be his parents, and the cast of characters they employ:  an Italian mechanic, a French chef, Mexican grounds laborers and a waitress who occasionally seems to be Argentinian. 

"I Am Livia" by Phyllis T. Smith, Brooklyn, NY
Smith, who teaches computer applications at a junior college in Brooklyn, has long had a fascination with Roman history. "I Am Livia," a historical novel set in ancient Rome, is narrated by Livia Drusilla, a character based on the real woman who married the adopted son and heir of Julius Caesar.  In Smith's story, Livia is a champion of women's rights—mostly her own—and reveals her manipulative and politically cunning nature…something she may have acquired from her father, who was among those who plotted the assassination of her husband's father.

The top three finalists in the young adult fiction category, listed in alphabetical order by author's last name, are:

"Spookygirl" by Jill Baguchinsky, Marco Island, FL
Baguchinsky, a longtime fan of supernatural tales, wrote the first draft of "Spookygirl" as part of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, a movement that challenges writers to complete a novel in thirty days. In the novel, Violet Addison has moved into an apartment above her father's funeral home in Florida. Violet regularly converses with the ghosts in the house, but what she is really scared of is starting her sophomore year at a new school.  Not only will she battle rumors about her father's involvement in her mother's death, but, even more frightening, the evil forces that inhabit the girls' locker room.

"Lost in Thought" by Cara Bertrand, Sturbridge, MA
Bertrand lives near Boston with her husband, two Boxer dogs and new infant daughter.  A former middle school literacy teacher, she challenged herself to write a novel of her own and completed it in six months, just before the contest deadline. In this paranormal story, we meet Lainey Young, a junior at Northbrook Academy with a secret: she has the supernatural ability to see how someone died or will die. She is shocked when she learns that she is not the only student with extraordinary gifts. Among the others, all members of a hidden society of the psychically gifted, are Jenna, the Sensor, and Carter Penrose, the Historian, an Academy graduate with secrets of his own.

"Devolution" by Richard Larson, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Larson has studied at Providence College in Rhode Island and will soon begin his junior year at the University of Alberta. His early childhood was spent in his birthplace of Niger, West Africa, where his father taught the local language. His novel "Devolution" is a futuristic thriller featuring Dimas, a master thief who navigates a society where computers are built directly into the human brain. When a debilitating virus sweeps the city and the minds of its denizens, Dimas is forced to delve into the underworld in an attempt to locate its source.

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest is co-sponsored by Amazon.com, Penguin Group (USA) and CreateSpace. For the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest Official Rules and the finalists' excerpts, and to vote for the winning novels, please visit www.amazon.com/abna.

 

About Amazon.com  
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon's developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon's own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Kindle, Kindle 3G, Kindle with Special Offers and Kindle DX are the revolutionary portable readers that wirelessly download books, magazines, newspapers, blogs and personal documents to a crisp, high-resolution electronic ink display that looks and reads like real paper. Kindle 3G and Kindle DX utilize the same 3G wireless technology as advanced cell phones, so users never need to hunt for a Wi-Fi hotspot. Kindle is the #1 bestselling product across the millions of items sold on Amazon.

Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.co.jp, www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.ca, www.amazon.cn, and www.amazon.it. As used herein, "Amazon.com," "we," "our" and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.

Forward-Looking Statements
This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com's financial results is included in Amazon.com's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.

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 (www.penguin.com) is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.

About CreateSpace
CreateSpace is a leader in manufacture on-demand services for independent content creators, publishers, film studios and music labels. CreateSpace provides inventory-free, physical distribution of Books, CDs and DVDs on Demand, music downloads via Amazon MP3 and video downloads via Amazon Video On Demand. CreateSpace is a brand of On-Demand Publishing LLC, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN).

 

Contacts:

Amazon Media Hotline
206-266-7180
www.amazon.com/pr

Penguin Group (USA)
Marilyn Ducksworth
212-366-2564
marilyn.ducksworth@us.penguingroup.com

Stephanie Sorensen
212-366-2576
stephanie.sorensen@us.penguingroup.com