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Borders® Selects 2008 Original Voices Award Winners


ANN ARBOR, Mich.— Borders today announced the winners of its 2008 Original Voices Awards. Now in its 13th year, the Original Voices Awards recognize fresh, compelling and ambitious written works from new and emerging talents of 2008 in the categories of fiction, non-fiction, young adult/independent reader and children’s picture books.

The winner for the fiction category is Steven Galloway’s debut novel, “The Cellist of Sarajevo”,” published by Riverhead. Inspired by a true story, this novel captures the endurance of the human spirit, the brutality of war and the redemptive power of music. Members of the Borders Original Voices committee said, “A haunting story of ordinary and not-so-ordinary people trying to find and retain their humanity in the midst of war and siege, ‘The Cellist of Sarajevo’ is beautifully written, unforgettably moving and impossible to put down.”

Eric Weiner is the winner of the non-fiction category for “The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World,” published by Twelve. Witty and insightful, this book chronicles the author’s year-long journey to the world’s most and least happy places, as he seeks to investigate not only what happiness is, but where it is. According to the Borders selection committee, “‘The Geography of Bliss’ appeals to experienced travelers looking for off-the-beaten-path destinations to visit on their next adventure and armchair tourists seeking enlightenment from different cultures without leaving their living room. Part travelogue, part self-help, part anthropological study, the best part of this entertaining and informative book is Weiner’s rich, clever writing.”

“I Am Apache,” written by Tanya Landman and published by Candlewick, is the winner in the young adult/independent reader category. Set in the 19th century Southwest, this sweeping and suspenseful book centers around a young woman who seeks to avenge her brother’s death by becoming an Apache warrior.

According to the Original Voices committee, “‘I Am Apache’ is an engaging, well researched book that any young adult -- or any adult for that matter -- will find compelling, thanks to its unorthodox storyline and passionate, vengeful protagonist.”

In the children’s picture book category, the winners are author Adam Rubin and illustrator Daniel Salmieri for “Those Darn Squirrels!,” published by Clarion Books. This book offers a delightfully charming take on the classic man-versus-squirrel conflict that plays out in backyards everywhere, as a lonely old man grows to accept the mischievous squirrels that raid his birdfeeders. The Original Voices selection committee said, “The quirky, colorful illustrations perfectly complement the imaginative text, making this a book that kids and parents will cherish and want to read again and again.”

Borders selects innovative and inspiring new books from first-time authors, as well as works that represent a new direction for established authors, for its Original Voices program. Throughout the year, more than 100 works from contemporary authors and illustrators are highlighted to customers through in-store features that rotate on a monthly basis. In December 2008, finalists for the awards were chosen by both corporate and store employees via an online voting process. A committee of employees representing each of the four categories read each finalist book and selected the winners.

“I’m thrilled to receive this award from Borders. It’s particularly gratifying because store employees -- those on the literary frontlines -- helped make the selection. The award has, dare I say, made me less grumpy,” said Eric Weiner, non-fiction winner for “The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World.”

Each winner will receive $5,000 from Borders in recognition of his or her outstanding achievement in producing creative and original works. In addition, the winning books will be featured in the company’s more than 500 Borders stores nationwide.


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