Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers Award honored Untouchable by Scott O'Connor (F + W Media) in the fiction category, and Kosher Chinese by Michael Levy (Holt Paperbacks) in nonfiction, at a ceremony in New York on March 7.
The first place nonfiction award was presented by Marie Arana, author of American Chica, a Discover selection and National Book Award finalist in 2001. Arana called Levy's Kosher Chinese "tart, droll, and deeply human," and enumerated the book's many subjects, which include Cat's Cradle, how to watch the movie Titanic, and Shaquille O'Neal.
Judge Chris Abani, author of 2004 Discover selection Graceland, presented the fiction award to O'Connor, calling Untouchable "a conflicted love letter to Los Angeles" and "the book every writer wants to have written." O'Connor, in accepting the award, praised Barnes & Noble's program, saying, that "most of these books would have never found the audience they found if it weren't for this program."
The other nonfiction finalists this year were [sic] by Joshua Cody (3rd place, W.W. Norton) and Day of Honey by Annia Ciezadlo (2nd place, Free Press).
The other two fiction finalists were Volt by Alan Heathcock (3rd place, Graywolf Press) and Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante (2nd place, Grove/Atlantic).
This year's judges for nonfiction were Arana, John Freeman and Koren Zailckas. The fiction judges were Abani, Bo Caldwell, and Lauren Belfer.
Now in its 21st year, the Barnes & Noble Discover program has featured upwards of 2,000 books since its inception.