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2005 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Awards Announced

Barnes & Noble booksellers has announced afternoon that Uzodinma Iweala's verbally dexterous, utterly original first novel, Beasts of No Nation (HarperCollins), and Nathaniel Fick's intelligent and thoughtful memoir of his Marine Corps service, One Bullet Away (Houghton Mifflin), have been named the winners of the thirteenth annual "Discover Great New Writers Awards" for fiction and nonfiction, respectively. They were each awarded cash prizes of $10,000, and a full year of additional marketing and advertising support.

Two panels of literary jurists also selected two additional fiction and nonfiction writers for prizes. Irish writer Kitty Fitzgerald's first novel, Pigtopia (Miramax Books), and Martin Moran's memoir, The Tricky Part (Beacon Press), took second place in fiction and nonfiction, respectively, and each received $5,000. Catherine Tudish's short-story collection, Tenney's Landing (Scribner), and Louise Brown's groundbreaking foray into a world of dynastic prostitution, The Dancing Girls of Lahore (4th Estate/HarperCollins), received third-place honors with a $2,500 prize for each. All six finalists received engraved crystal awards from Tiffany & Co. The winners and finalists read from their work at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble in New York City on March 1st.

Beasts of No Nation, Uzodinma Iweala's debut novel, is the chilling tale of a young African boy forced to become a soldier long before his time. Fiction jurist Carrie Brown offered the following comment on the prizewinner: "For its breathtaking portrayal of the survival of the human spirit in the face of suffering and cruelty, Beasts of No Nation would be a remarkable accomplishment for a writer practicing at the height of maturity and skill. Uzodinma Iweala was only 23 years old when he published this novel, but it is unmistakably an imaginative tour de force. (He) has found a voice for young Agu, an African child soldier conscripted into a brutal guerilla army, which is both harrowing and heartbreaking. The novel is testament to the profound ability of literature to show us horror, dismantle it and identify its parts, and arrive in the silent ether of the aftermath with something utterly unforgettable and, most importantly, worth cherishing."

One Bullet Away is Nathaniel Fick's gripping tale of his military service. Jurist Tom Groneberg said of the winning book, "One Bullet Away is about two wars in different places. It's about...(a) fight to become a Marine officer...and...the fights on the streets of Iraq and in the countryside of Afghanistan, the battle within a young soldier to do the right thing despite what the textbooks or his superiors might command.... While the book's subtitle might be: 'The Making of A Marine Officer,' ultimately, (Fick's book) heralds the making of a truly powerful new writer."

The 2005 Discover Awards honor the works of exceptionally talented writers featured in the Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" program during the 2005 calendar year. Last year, the Discover Great New Writers program featured the work of 70 previously unheralded fiction and non-fiction writers. The 2005 prize-winning authors join the ranks of an extraordinary group of writers, including last year's Discover Award winners, John Dalton for his first novel, Heaven Lake; and Alison Smith, for her emotionally evocative memoir, Name All the Animals. Other Discover Award winners include Monica Ali, Hampton Sides, Tracy Chevalier, David Guterson, and Chang-rae Lee.