Congratulations to Chicago author Dwight Okita, who you might remember from a March 19 posting on this blog. Okita was one of 10 finalists in Amazon.com's Breakthough Novel contest, in which the public voted for the winner.
Okita didn't win for his book, The Prospect of My Arrival, but he did get enough votes to make the Top 3, who were all flown to New York for the awards ceremony. The winner was Bill Loehfelm, for his book, Fresh Kills, about an estranged son struggling to find his father's killer and make peace with the past.
Here's a note Okita sent out to his supporters last night:
As some of you know, I got the exciting phone call from Amazon telling me that I had made it to the Top 3 in the novel contest! They flew us to New York last weekend for the awards ceremony. Though I didn't win the publishing deal, I made many great connections in the business and hope to find a happy ending to my novel yet. Thanks to everyone for their support of my novel. More to come later.
And here is what Publisher's Weekly had to say about Okita's book:
In Chicago of 2025, the experimental Pre-Born Project at the Infinity Medical Center has inserted the consciousness of a fetus into the unoccupied body of a 30-year-old man, who will visit seven Referrals before deciding whether he chooses to be born. In lesser hands, this odd premise might have veered into political diatribe or slapstick. Instead, the protagonist, called Prospect, takes the reader on an engrossing and moving journey into the meaning of life, filled with fresh observations and memorable characters. Addressing the reader with a voice that skillfully blends innocence and wisdom, this latter-day Candide discovers unexpected connections among his Referrals and lands in jeopardy that keeps the pages turning until its satisfying and touching conclusion. The reader will find many insights and turns of phrase (curtains that "move like jellyfish in the summer breeze") to savor along the way.