Barnes & Noble has announced that Kate Braestrup's memoir, Here If You Need Me, and Joshua Ferris' debut novel, Then We Came to the End — both published by Little, Brown — are the winners of the 15th annual Discover Great New Writers Awards. Each author will receive $10,000 and a year of additional marketing and advertising support.
Publisher's Weekly gave starred reviews to both books.
On Braestrup's: "It may take ingenuity to interest browsers in a memoir by a middle-aged mother who, 11 years ago, was suddenly widowed, then became a Unitarian-Universalist minister, and now works as chaplain to game wardens in Maine. But good memoir writing does not depend on celebrity or adventure ... and Braestrup's insightful essays are extraordinarily well written, mingling elements of police procedural and touching love story with trenchant observations about life and death."
On Ferris': "At once delightfully freakish and entirely credible, Ferris's cast makes a real impression."
Second place winners ($5,000 each): Elizabeth Samet for Soldier's Heart (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); Matthew Eck for The Farther Show (Milkweed Editions).
Third place ($2,500 each): Yaroslav Trofimov for The Siege of Mecca (Doubleday); Vendela Vida for Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name (Ecco).
Note: Chicago writer and former Sun-Timesman Robert Kurson (Shadow Divers and Crashing Through) served on this year's nonfiction jury panel.