Get to Know the Winners of the 26th Annual Discover Great New Writers Awards

Abby Geni and Matthew Desmond Are the 2016 Discover Great New Writers Award Winners

New York, New York, 2017-Mar-06 — /EPR Retail News/ — Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the nation’s largest retail bookseller and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today (March 1, 2017) announced that Abby Geni’s The Lightkeepers (Counterpoint Press), a sublime debut novel about a young woman who finds herself at the center of a murder mystery on a remote island, and Matthew Desmond’sEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown Publishing Group), a finely reported narrative that puts human faces on a modern American crisis and will change the way readers view poverty today, are the winners of the 2016 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.

Second-place winners are Yaa Gyasi for Homegoing (Alfred A. Knopf), a heartbreaking and beautiful novel that follows two branches of a family—one in America and the other in Africa—over 300 years, and Hope Jahren for Labgirl (Alfred A. Knopf), a spirited memoir and a moving story of scholarship, friendship and the natural world written by a scientist at the top of her game. Each writer was awarded a $15,000 cash prize.

Third place was awarded to Jung Yun for Shelter (Picador USA), a riveting domestic drama in which a young father is forced to face his past—and his parents—in order to save his family’s future, and

Patrick Phillips for Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America (W.W. Norton), a meticulously researched history of the author’s hometown, and an ugly and harrowing episode of American history. Each writer received a $7,500 cash prize.

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

The Discover Great New Writers Awards are presented annually in recognition of literary excellence. The six finalists for the Discover Great New Writers Awards were chosen by two panels of noted authors from the 42 titles handpicked by our booksellers for the Discover Great New Writers program in 2016.

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:

  • Wiley Cash, The New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed A Land More Kind Than Home (a Discover Great New Writers selection) and This Dark Road to Mercy. His third novel is forthcoming in 2017.
  • Benjamin Percy, the author of three novels, two story collections, and a craft book, including The Dead Lands, Red Moon (a Discover Great New Writers selection), and Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction. His fourth novel, The Dark Net, is forthcoming in April 2017. He also writes the Green Arrow and Teen Titans series at DC Comics®.
  • Emma Straub, The New York Times bestselling author of the novels Modern Lovers, The Vacationers, and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures (a Discover Great New Writers selection), as well as the short story collection Other People We Married.

This year’s nonfiction judges are:

  • Jennifer Finney Boylan, the author of 15 books. Her 2003 memoir, She’s Not There: a Life in Two Genders, was the first bestselling book by a transgender American. Her new novel, Long Black Veil, is forthcoming in April 2017. Boylan’s novel The Planets was a 1991 Discover Great New Writers selection.
  • Sloane Crosley, the author of The New York Times bestselling essay collections, I Was Told There’d Be Cake (also a finalist for The Thurber Prize for American Humor) and How Did You Get This Number, as well as the bestselling novel, The Clasp.
  • Brando Skyhorse, the author of a novel, The Madonnas of Echo Park (a Discover Great New Writers selection), and recipient of both the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for Take This Man: A Memoir.

Previous Winners of the Discover Awards

Previous winners of the annual Discover Awards include Mia Alvar for In the Country: Stories and Jill Leovy for Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America (both 2015), Evie Wyld for All the Birds, Singing (2014), Anthony Marra for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and Justin St. Germain for Son of a Gun (both in 2013), Amanda Coplin for The Orchardist (2012), David Sheff for Beautiful Boy (2008), Joshua Ferris for Then We Came to the End (2007), Ben Fountain for Brief Encounters with Che Guevara (2006), Uzodinma Iweala for Beasts of No Nation (2005), Alison Smith for Name All the Animals (2004), Monica Ali for Brick Lane (2003), Dina Temple-Raston for A Death in Texas (2002), Hampton Sides for Ghost Soldiers (2001), Elizabeth McCracken for The Giant’s House (1996), and Chang-rae Lee for Native Speaker (1995).

Additional information about the 2016 Discover Award winners and judges can be found at

About Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) is a Fortune 500 company, the nation’s largest retail bookseller, and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products.  The Company operates 638 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, and one of the Web’s premier e-commerce sites, (  The Nook Digital business offers a lineup of popular NOOK® tablets and eReaders and an expansive collection of digital reading and entertainment content through the NOOK Store®. The NOOK Store features more than 4.5 million digital books in the US (, plus periodicals and comics, and offers the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices through Free NOOK Reading Apps™ available for Android™, iOS® and Windows®.General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained by visiting the Company’s corporate website at

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All Contacts:

Mary Ellen Keating
Senior Vice President
Corporate Communication
(212) 633-3323

Alan McNamara
Senior Director
Corporate Communications
(212) 633-3379

Source: Barnes & Noble, Inc.