Alan Averill has been named winner of the fifth annual Amazon Breakthough Novel contest for his work, The Beautiful Land, while Regina Sirois took home the other top honor, in the young adult fiction category, for On Little Wings. Sirois and Averill have each received $15,000, as well as book contracts with Penguin who will publish the books next year.
Amazon said that this year's contest drew more entries, in the "thousands," than previous years. The finalists of the contest were selected by a panel (which included literary agents, established authors and book editors), and then the winners were chosen, from among the finalists, by Amazon customers.
Averill, who lives in Seattle, used to work on video game scripts. Sirois was raised, and settled, outside of Kansas City.