NEW YORK – May 27, 2009 – Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Penguin Group (USA) (NYSE: PSO) today named James King the winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the international competition in search of the next popular novel. King's novel, Bill Warrington's Last Chance, was selected as the Grand Prize Winner by Amazon.com customers. The winner, who will receive a publishing contract from Penguin Group (USA) that includes a $25,000 advance, was revealed at an awards ceremony held in New York City this morning. Bill Warrington's Last Chance will be published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA). The book is available for pre-order now on Amazon.com, at www.amazon.com/abna.
Sue Monk Kidd, author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Secret Life of Bees, was among the panel of four publishing experts who reviewed the top three entrants' manuscripts and posted critiques of each on Amazon.com. About King's novel, she enthused, "one of the best things you can say about a novel is that the story lingers after you finish it. I have gone on thinking about this one without trying. "The other three members of the expert panel were: Sue Grafton, New York Times bestselling author of the alphabet mystery series; Barney Karpfinger, literary agent and founder of The Karpfinger Agency; and Eamon Dolan, vice president and editor-in-chief, The Penguin Press.
James King, an Ohio native and current resident of Wilton, Conn., has been a corporate communications specialist for the past 20 years, but dreamt of becoming a fiction writer since the age of six. In 2006, with the support and encouragement of his wife and two children, King decided to pursue his dream. He entered the Master of Arts program in creative writing at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., and when he completed his degree in May 2008, he had written most of what would become the novel Bill Warrington's Last Chance.
"James King's debut novel is a mature, nuanced, and insightful story; a family drama that will resonate with so many readers. This is what we look for at Penguin, and it will be our genuine pleasure to publish Bill Warrington's Last Chance," said Tim McCall, Penguin's vice president of Online Sales and Marketing.
"Amazon customers were very engaged in the final phase of the competition through their reviews and votes for the winner, which showed us how passionate they are about the novels they enjoy reading," said Jeff Belle, vice president, U.S. Books, Amazon. "The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award empowers customers to select the winner from three very different and impressive entries, and we look forward to making Bill Warrington's Last Chance available to them on Amazon.com."
In Bill Warrington's Last Chance, the title character tries to reestablish ties with his estranged children after he is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. After several attempts at a reunion fail, he decides to kidnap his 15–year–old granddaughter, April, so that his children will be forced to talk to each other–and to him–as they attempt to "rescue" April.
The 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, which began Feb. 2, 2009, drew several thousand entrants, representing all 50 U.S. states and 21 countries around the world. 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 excerpt 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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As used herein, "Amazon.com," "we," "our" and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.
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CreateSpace is a business of On-Demand Publishing LLC, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). A leader in manufacture on demand services for independent creative content owners, CreateSpace was originally founded as CustomFlix Labs, Inc. in 2002 and acquired by Amazon.com, Inc. in 2005. The company's mission is to connect its members to a worldwide audience through multiple channels, including Amazon.com. CreateSpace provides inventory-free, physical distribution of Books, CDs and DVDs on Demand, video downloads via Amazon Video On Demand and music downloads via Amazon MP3.
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