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Amazon and Penguin Group (USA) Name Gregory Hill and Jill Baguchinsky Winners of Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award
Hill, author of "East of Denver," and Baguchinsky, author of "Spookygirl," receive publishing contracts from Penguin Group (USA)

SEATTLE & NEW YORK & CHARLESTON, S.C., Jun 13, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- (NASDAQ: AMZN) and (NYSE: PSO) -, Penguin Group (USA) and CreateSpace, a part of the Amazon group of companies, today announced the winners of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the international competition in search of the next popular novel, at an event held at the headquarters in Seattle. Gregory Hill is the winner of the general fiction category for his novel, "East of Denver," and Jill Baguchinsky is the winner in the young adult fiction category for her novel, "Spookygirl." Hill and Baguchinsky will each receive a publishing contract from Penguin Group (USA) that includes a $15,000 advance. "East of Denver" and "Spookygirl" will be published by Dutton's adult and children's divisions, respectively. The novels are available for pre-order now on at

This year's competition drew the most submissions in the history of the contest. After several rounds of judging, the winners were selected by customers from a group of six finalists.

"Today's winners were chosen by customers, and that's one thing that makes this contest so exciting - it offers aspiring writers the opportunity to be heard and also connects them directly with customers to help discover great new voices in fiction," said Nader Kabbani, Director of Independent Publishing at Amazon. "We congratulate Gregory and Jill and also thank all of the people who participated for making this year's Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest the biggest ever."

Tim McCall, Vice President, Director of Online Sales and Marketing, Penguin Group (USA), said, "Penguin is always seeking exciting new work and we were gratified to see the many promising manuscripts entered in this year's competition. We are very much looking forward to publishing Gregory's and Jill's novels."

Gregory Hill lives in Denver where he works at the University of Denver library and plays in "The Babysitters," a rock and roll power trio that includes his wife on drums. "East of Denver" tells the story of Shakespeare Williams, who returns to his family's farm in eastern Colorado to find his widowed, senile father living in squalor. Facing the loss of the farm, Shakespeare hatches a plot with his father and a motley crew of his former high school classmates to rob the local bank. Expert panelist Lev Grossman, book critic for Time Magazine and author of the New York Times bestseller "The Magicians" and the upcoming sequel "The Magician King," says that Hill's writing is "on a par with that of top-flight black-comic novelists like Sam Lipsyte and Jess Walter, and it deserves to be read."

Jill Baguchinsky, a longtime fan of supernatural tales, wrote the first draft of "Spookygirl" as part of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, a movement that challenges writers to complete a novel in thirty days. In the novel, Violet Addison has moved into an apartment above her father's funeral home in Florida. Violet regularly converses with the ghosts in the house, but what she is really scared of is starting her sophomore year at a new school. Not only will she battle rumors about her father's involvement in her mother's death, but, even more frightening, the evil forces that inhabit the girls' locker room. Expert panelist Jennifer Besser, Vice President and Publisher of G. P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, writes that this "funny and suspenseful novel sets itself apart and heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice."

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest is an annual contest co-sponsored by, Penguin Group (USA) and CreateSpace. For the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest Official Rules, to view the winning excerpts and reviews, or pre-order the novels now, please visit

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About Penguin Group (USA)

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam's Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group ( is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.

About CreateSpace

CreateSpace is a leader in manufacture on-demand services for independent content creators, publishers, film studios and music labels. CreateSpace provides inventory-free, physical distribution of Books, CDs and DVDs on Demand, music downloads via Amazon MP3 and video downloads via Amazon Video On Demand. CreateSpace is a brand of On-Demand Publishing LLC, a subsidiary of, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN).


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