The 2013 Discover Award Winners

We're thrilled to annouce the winners of the 2013 Discover Great New Writers awards.

 

Anthony Marra’s novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (Hogarth/Crown Publishing Group), and Justin St. Germain’s memoir, Son of a Gun (Random House) have been named the winners of the 2013 Discover Awards for fiction and nonfiction, respectively. Each writer was awarded a cash prize of $10,000

Read more...

Second Language: A Guest Post by Jennifer Percy

We’re still talking about Jennifer Percy’s striking debut, Demon Camp: A Soldier’s Exorcism in the Discover reading room, months after we knew it had made the cut for our Spring 2014 list. We’re terrifically pleased to run “Second Language”, an original guest post by Jennifer, followed by a conversation in which she discusses the language of trauma – and hauntings – and the book that stands as a reminder that, as Jennifer says, nonfiction “can and should be held to the same literary standards as fiction”, among other things, with Discover Great New Writers

Read more...

"We Are All—Every One of Us—Unreliable Narrators": Alethea Black and Mary Miller in Conversation

Mary Miller (The Last Days of California, Discover Spring '14)  and Alethea Black ( I Knew You'd Be Lovely, Discover Spring '11) cover similar territory in their writing: with indelible voices, their characters long for connection, and look to be understood -- and understand their places in the world.  In this far-ranging conversation for the Discover blog, Miller and Black discuss starting their writing careers later in life; the differences between writing long form fiction vs. short stories, and for an adult audience vs. a YA audience; and how shifting a story’s POV can electrify it, among many, many other things.

Read more...

A Peruvian Investor Walks into a Packard Plant: A Guest Post by Mark Binelli

Place is so much more than topography or social fault lines, political history and census data.  Capturing capital-P place – the soul, the machine, the people, the ethos thrumming just below the surface – is one of the most challenging aspects of the writer’s task.  But when it comes alive through vital, zig-zagging prose like Mark Binelli’s in Detroit City is the Place to Be (a Holiday 2012 Discover pick, now available in paperback, with a new afterward by the author), the results are unforgettable.  Because can't get enough of Binelli's wry reportage, he generously sent along this guest post for the Discover blog.

Read more...

More Than One Story: A Guest Post by Jennifer DuBois

You think you know this story, but have you heard these voices? We were completely taken with the mix of voices that pulse through Holiday 2013 selection Cartwheel, and compel the reader through an emotionally-fraught, psychologically complex story.We’re still carrying Jennifer duBois’s characters around with us weeks later, so I asked her to riff on how she gives voice to her characters (and how she teaches her students to do the same), and this is what she said:

Read more...

The Kind of Thing You Still Write About: A Guest Post by Wiley Cash

We're still raving about Wiley Cash's incredibly assured, character-driven debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home -- and we're giving away NOOK book copies (while supplies last) on Friday, November 22nd as part of our nationwide Discovery Friday event.  Wiley returns to the Discover blog with "The Kind of Thing You Still Write About", an original piece on discovering -- and being discovered.

Read more...

"I'd Been Thinking About This Book for Years Before I First Put Pen to Paper": A Q&A with Jo Baker

 Perfect for Austenites and Downton Abbey fans, this smart, sweet-tempered, and entirely engaging story puts the household staff of Pride and Prejudice front and center. Jo Baker discusses her own love of Jane Austen’s books, the influence of "that English class thing" (and the scene from Pride and Prejudice that jumpstarted the writing of Longbourn), and writing about characters that kept interesting (and surprising her), among other things, with Discover Great New Writers.

Read more...

The 2013 Whiting Writers Awards + Discover: Jennifer Dubois, C.E. Morgan, and Amanda Coplin

Few things better in the world than watching a writer receive an award, if you ask me.  Last night in New York, the Whiting Writers Awards were presented, and among the 10 recipients were three Discover writers: C.E. Morgan (2009, shortlisted for the Discover Award -fiction), Amanda Coplin (2012, winner of the Discover Award - fiction), and Jennifer Dubois (2013).  Jennifer discusses the inspiration for the new novel; challenging her characters’ -- and readers’ – preconceptions, (mis)interpretations, and snap judgments; and a list of the books she’s been reading lately with Discover Great New Writers.

Read more...

I Like People Who Are Fearless in Their Honesty: A Conversation with Samantha Irby

We're still thinking about Samantha Irby's  scathingly funny, brutally honest, and emotionally powerful debut essay collection, Meaty (Discover Holiday '13)  Irby discusses blogging, comedy, self-censorship, and the writers she loves, among other things, with Discover Great New Writers.

Read more...

What to Read? Recommendations from Carrie Brown

Carrie Brown -- author of among other titles, the 1998 Discover Award winner Rose's Garden, paperback favorite The Rope Walk, and now The Last First Day, an indelible portrait of a woman's life and the happiness she ultimately, and perhaps unexpectedly, finds -- writes about the essay, poetry and story collections that she's been recommending lately.

Read more...

I Was So Busy Reading That I Hardly Thought of Writing: A Conversation with Adelle Waldman

In Adelle Waldman’s terrifically insightful, zingy comedy of manners, The Confessions of Nathaniel P., (Discover Fall '13) readers follow a young writer, his star on the rise, whose immaturity and fear of commitment --among other traits--keep him bouncing and bumbling along as he looks for love. Waldman discusses why she was compelled to write about relationships from a young man’s perspective, her literary heroes, and who she’s been reading lately, among other things, with Discover Great New Writers.

Read more...

Fascinated by the Border Between Innocence and Ignorance: A Conversation with Caleb Crain

Caleb Crain, author of the luminous and elegant novel Necessary Errors (Discover, Fall 2013) discusses the appeal of sending a character abroad, asks "how someone can be responsible for something he doesn't know", and shares a list of his favorites books featuring innocents abroad, among other things, with Discover Great New Writers.

Read more...

It Seemed Like a Dark and Tragic Tale: A Conversation with Hannah Kent

Our vote was unanimous: The Discover selection committee readers and I were completely taken by Hannah Kent’s moody and spellbinding debut, Burial Rites (Discover, Fall 2013).  Set against a stark Icelandic landscape, a servant woman convicted of murder reveals the truth behind her story as she awaits her execution. This is terrific, old-fashioned storytelling, where language and landscape are inextricably bound to character and plot.  Kent discusses the true story behind her debut novel, the “complicated” relationship between fact and fiction in Burial Rites, and how the volcanic, other-worldly island landscape became almost character of its own, among other things, here on the Discover blog.

Read more...

A Librarian's Manifesto: A Guest Post by Eric Lundgren

We were gobsmaked by Eric Lundgren’s very clever, very witty, and slightly off-kilter debut novel, The Facades, in much the same way we were by Robin Sloan’s 2012 Discover selection, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Sven Norberg's wife is missing, and his search for clues about her disappearance brings him face to face with an underworld of librarians, music critics and mall workers that's at once outrageous and familiar as he follows the trail deep into his odd Midwestern town. Lundgren riffs on libraries, librarians, and the genesis of his novel in a guest post on the Discover blog.

Read more...

The Blurred Borderline Between Spirits & Humans: A Q&A with Yangsze Choo

It's a truth universally acknowledged around our office that the Discover selection committee readers love a great coming of age story -- in fact, our entire Fall 2013 list is made up of coming of age stories, both fiction and non -- and  The Ghost Bride is one of the most mesmerizing iterations of the classic trope that we're seen recently.  Yangsze Choo discusses Chinese literary traditions, why she was drawn to write about the overlap between everyday life and the supernatural, and the parallels between 1890s colonial Malaya and Jane Austen's world, among other things, with Discover Great New Writers.

Read more...

On Getting to Work: A Guest Post by Mario Alberto Zambrano

The Discover selection committee readers loved the language, the structure, and – most of all -- the narrator of Mario Alberto Gonzales’s striking coming-of-age novel, Lotería.  Eleven year old Luz Castillo is a ward of the state with a family in tatters. Refusing to speak to the adults who wish to help her, she relies on a deck of illustrated Lotería cards to reveal her family’s story. Gonzales’s debut shares the visceral emotional power of We the Animals by Justin Torres, a Fall 2011 Discover pick, and Sandra Cisneros’s modern classic, The House on Mango Street – but readers may be surprised to learn that writing wasn’t the young author’s first artistic love, as Zambrano explains in a guest post on the Discover blog.

Read more...

On Baseball and Distraction: A Guest Post by Justin St. Germain

We see a lot of memoirs in the Discover reading room, but it’s only the truly great ones, like Wave and This Boy’s Life, The Liar’s Club, The Tender Bar, and Wild, with their electric prose, keen-eyed observations, and undercurrents of grief – sometimes elegiac, sometimes open and messy, often stultifying – that makes the hair stand up on the back of readers’ necks. The raw, relentless honesty and emotional resonance of those earlier Discover picks echo in Justin St. Germain’s  Son of a Gun.  He talks about baseball and grief in a guest post on the Discover blog.

Read more...

What's It Like for a Critic to Write a Novel? A Guest Post by Caleb Crain

There’s lots to like in Caleb Crain’s marvelous debut novel, Necessary Errors. This is a coming-of-age story of exiles and expats finding freedom in post-Velvet Revolution Prague.  In elegant prose and with great tenderness, Crain captures all the messiness of twenty-something lives, where exuberance and idealism collide with expectations and indiscretions.

 

But Crain’s talent isn’t limited to writing novels; for years now, his journalism and criticism have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Nation, The New York Times, the London Review of Books, The Paris Review Daily, and n+1.

 

Which is why I had to ask: What’s it like to be a critic-turned-novelist

Read more...

Baseball is Made for Stories: A Conversation with Lucas Mann

As much a history of a Midwestern town and a character study of its residents,  Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere (a Summer '13 Discover pick), is a book about baseball, fandom, fathers and sons, sports mythology, and ultimately about America, told in a open, honest, wry voice.  Lucas Mann discusses his own history with baseball, the people he met while writing Class A, and loving literary nonfiction "because it's so full of possibilities," among many other things, with Discover Great New Writers.

Read more...

In Many Ways Fiction is More Truthful Than Textbook History: A Q&A with Kristiana Kahakauwila

Kristiana Kahakauwila, author of the earthy and emotionally resonant story collection, This is Paradise (Discover Summer '13),  discusses the challenges of writing short stories, how Hawai'i's history and variations of pidgin vernacular inform her work, and how her research took her to a Nebraska City ranch in January, among other things, with Discover Great New Writers.

Read more...

Secretly Writing Little Novels: a Conversation with Rebecca Lee

Ben Fountain isn't the only reader recommending Rebecca Lee's magnificent Bobcat & Other Stories, a Summer 2013 Discover Great New Writers selection.  Lee discusses being "very drawn to the long short story", redemption, the true pleasure of reading and writing, among other things, with Discover Great New Writers.

Read more...

Emotions Bled Through, Almost Unexpectedly: Dennis Mahoney & Kate Southwood (Part 2)

In part 2 of a wide-ranging and highly entertaining conversation Dennis Mahoney (Fellow Mortals) and Kate Southwood (Falling to Earth) talked about the kinds of stories they tend to gravitate towards, reading like a novelist, and writing what you need to write.

 

 

Read more...

Emotions Bled Through, Almost Unexpectedly: Dennis Mahoney & Kate Southwood (Part 1)

Dennis Mahoney’s and Kate Southwood’s debut novels, Fellow Mortals and Falling to Earth (both Spring '13 selections),would make a perfect box set: gorgeously written, similar in theme and tone, thoughtful and provocative. They talk about the distinction between the tragic and tragedy, giving their characters privacy, and which comes first:  the story itself or the emotions behind it, in part 1 of a wide-ranging and highly entertaining conversation.

Read more...

“I First Learned of My Father’s Plane Crash from the Jerusalem Post” A Q&A with Carol Shaben

Into the Abyss is what we refer to as a 1 AM read: impossible to put down, worth losing sleep to finish.  Carol Shaben has done an extraordinary job of reporting the stories of four men – the pilot, a police officer and the criminal he was handcuffed to, and the author’s father -- who survived a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness. She discusses why she was inspired to write the book, her research and responsibility she felt to the survivors and their family members, and paying homage to her father and his remarkable life, here on the Discover blog.

Read more...

BEA Took Over Our Lives Last Week, but At Least We Were Taking Notes

After a terrific week of events surounding BEA, we're back on the beam with a riff on forthcoming titles from Discover alumni...

Read more...

Khaled Hosseini Recommends 3 Great Reads

Khaled Hosseini launched his tour for And the Mountains Echoed last night in New York at the Barnes & Noble Union Square, and when interviewer Bill Goldstein asked him who he was reading a recommending lately, Hosseini said...

Read more...

Scares: A Guest Post by Benjamin Percy

In an alternate America with nightmarish overtones of our own, Benjamin Percy brings a keen eye for the wonder of the natural world in Red Moon, his page-turning take on the supernatural thriller and a Summer '13 Discover pick.  Percy writes about things that go bump on the road - and in his book - in a guest post for Discover Great New Writers.

Read more...

Deciding Which Stories to Leave Out: Ethan Rutherford and Matt Burgess in Conversation

Ethan Rutherford, author of  the surreal and fiercely funny story collection The Peripatetic Coffin (Discover, Summer '13) talks about the overlap between writing and music, his fear of losing sight of what a story is about, and throwing out "the Second Great American Whaling Novel", among other things, with with Matt Burgess, author of Dogfight: A Love Story (Discover, Holiday 2010).

Read more...

[Tap, tap]: The Summer 2013 Discover Great New Writers Season begins May 7th

Our Summer  2013 Discover Great New Writers season -- featuring  14 titles carefully chosen from hundreds of submissions -- begins Tuesday, May 7th.  By turns exhilarating and heartbreaking, lyrical and thought-provoking, these are the impressive short story collections, inspirational true stories, and the dazzling novels that the Discover selection committee members couldn't stop talking about.

Read more...

Good News All Around: Awards News for Discover and B&N Recommends Alumni

Last week was a very good week for Discover Great New Writers and B&N Recommends Alumni, starting with the Pulitzers on Monday and wrapping up with the Los Angeles Times on Friday...

Read more...

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."