Barnes and Noble Names Winner of Writing Awards

NEW YORK — Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest retail bookseller, announced that Mia Alvar’s In the Country (Knopf/Vintage), a sublime collection of short stories about characters who are profoundly dislocated from the people and places they love most, and Jill Leovy’s Ghettoside: a True Story of Murder in America (Spiegel & Grau), a steely examination of American society that chronicles the commission, investigation, and aftermath of a single murder, are the winners of the 2015 Discover Awards for fiction and nonfiction, respectively. Each writer was awarded a cash prize of $30,000 and a full year of marketing and merchandising support from the bookseller.

This is the 25th anniversary of the Discover Great New Writers program by Barnes and Noble.

Second-place winners are Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) for fiction, a powerful novel in which thirteen siblings come together to decide the fate of the family home in Detroit that was also a finalist for the National Book Award, and George Hodgman’s Bettyville (Viking) for nonfiction, a sharp, insightful and often very funny memoir by a middle-aged ex-New Yorker caring for his elderly mother in their small Missouri hometown. Each writer was awarded a $15,000 cash prize.

Third place was awarded to Sophie McManus for The Unfortunates (FSG) for fiction, an ambitious novel in which a family’s past collides with its present over money, power, secrets and lies, and to Amy Ellis Nutt for Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family for nonfiction, the inspiring true story of one family’s experiences after they acknowledge one of their twin sons is a girl. Each writer received a $7,500 cash prize.

The awards were presented this week at a private ceremony in New York City.

The Discover Awards are presented annually in recognition of literary excellence. The six finalists for the Discover Awards were chosen from the 46 titles handpicked by our booksellers for the Discover Great New Writers program in 2015.

Books by the finalists and judges can be purchased at any Barnes & Noble store nationwide, online at Barnes & ( or instantly downloaded on any NOOK eReader or tablet.

The Jurists

Two panels of distinguished literary judges selected the winners.  Serving as this year’s fiction judges are:

Eleanor Brown, author of The Weird Sisters, a New York Times and international bestseller and a Discover Great New Writers selection. Her second novel, The Light of Paris, will be published by Putnam Books in 2016.

Ben Fountain, winner of the Discover Award (fiction) for Brief Encounters with Che Guevara and a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, soon to be a film by Ang Lee.

Thrity Umrigar, bestselling author of six novels and a memoir, including The Space Between Us and The Story Hour. She is the Armington Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University.

This year’s nonfiction judges are:

Scott Anderson, a veteran war correspondent and the author of five books, most recently the national bestseller Lawrence in Arabia. A frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine, his work has also appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper’s and Outside.

Candice Millard, author of two New York Times’ bestsellers, The River of Doubt, which was also a Discover Great New Writers selection, and Destiny of the Republic.

Cheryl Strayed, author of four books, including Wild, a #1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the Discover Award (nonfiction), and the New York Times’ bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough. Her books have been translated into 40 languages around the world.