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Amazon and Penguin Group (USA) Announce Six Finalists for 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award customers can vote for their favorites and choose the grand prize winners in the general fiction and young adult fiction categories at

Winners to be announced at a special awards ceremony in Seattle on June 16

SEATTLE & NEW YORK & CHARLESTON, S.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May. 22, 2012-- Thousands of entries poured in for the fifth annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) contest – and after several rounds of judging, six finalists have just been announced in the international competition sponsored by, CreateSpace and Penguin Group (USA). From now until May 30, Amazon customers can read excerpts from the finalists’ works and vote for their favorite novel to determine the winners in both the general fiction and young adult fiction categories at Based on customer votes, two grand prize winners, one in each category, will receive a publishing contract from Penguin Group (USA) which includes a $15,000 advance. This year’s ABNA winners will be revealed at a special awards ceremony in Seattle on June 16, 2012.

“This year’s ABNA contest saw thousands of submissions from talented writers around the world,” said Nader Kabbani, Director of Independent Publishing, Amazon. “According to the judges and editors, the quality of the entries continues to climb, making the contest more competitive each year. The finalists this year are among the best yet and customers will have a challenge picking a favorite.”

Tim McCall, Penguin Group (USA) Vice President of Online Sales and Marketing said, “Penguin prides itself on the relationships we have with our authors. We are thrilled that this contest allows us to be able to offer talented writers an opportunity to be published at Penguin, and we look forward to connecting these writers to new readers.”

An expert panel from the publishing world will also weigh in with comments on the finalists’ work to help voters make their selections. The literary experts for the 2012 general fiction portion of the contest are: Linda Fairstein, best-selling author of the Alexandra Cooper novels, including “Night Watch” (available July 2012); Anne Sowards, Executive Editor of The Berkley Publishing Group; and Donald Maass, literary agent and author of “The Breakout Novelist.” Panelists for the young adult fiction titles include: Andrea Cremer, best-selling author of “Nightshade,” “Wolfsbane” and “Bloodrose;” Regina Hayes, President and Publisher of Viking Children’s Books; and Charlie Olsen, literary agent for InkWell Management.

The three finalists in the general fiction category (listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name) are:

“The Beautiful Land” by Alan Averill, Seattle, Washington

Averill, a former “video game script doctor,” wrote a draft of “The Beautiful Land” as a part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a movement that challenges writers to complete a novel in thirty days. “The Beautiful Land” is a story of two people in love from the moment they met but destined to be apart forever. Thanks to a time machine and a mysterious invention buried deep in the Australian Outback, they now have one more chance to get it right.

“Grace Humiston and the Vanishing” by Charles Kelly, Scottsdale, Arizona

Kelly, a former reporter at the Arizona Republic, discovered the story of Grace Humiston, “the feminine Sherlock Holmes,” deep in the archives of the New York Times. Her story, particularly her work on a case to find a missing girl in 1917, became the basis for the novel. When a teenage girl from a wealthy family disappears, Humiston leads an investigation that takes her through the sewers of police corruption in New York City to the slave and prostitution trading ports of Argentina.

“A Chant of Love and Lamentation” by Brian Reeves, Oregon City, Oregon

Reeves, a former Peace Corps volunteer, spent ten years perfecting his novel. “A Chant of Love and Lamentation” reflects the struggle for Hawaiian identity and the sovereign movement. A cab driver sets off a sequence of events by blowing up a grand Waikiki hotel to strike back at the forces that have long suppressed Hawai’i. As the islands slide farther into strife, three men fight to hold onto a Hawai’i that once was, or push it towards its ultimate destiny.

The three finalists in the young adult fiction category (listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name) are:

“Dreamcatchers” by Cassandra Griffin, Kamloops, British Columbia

Twenty-eight-year-old Griffin is a true geek at heart, enjoying anything from Star Trek expos to comic conventions on her days off from driving 400 ton dump trucks in Northern Alberta. In her post-apocalyptic novel “Dreamcatchers,” WW III has come and gone, the divide between the rich and the poor has widened, and children now move in the world between waking and dreaming.

“Out of Nowhere” by Rebecca Phillips, Middle Sackville, Nova Scotia

Phillips has been writing young adult novels since the age of 12 and now has two children of her own. In “Out of Nowhere,” hypochondriac Riley finds herself haunted by her father’s death. When she meets and falls for the skateboarding, daredevil Cole, Riley begins to forget her problems at home until her mother announces two major changes and Riley lashes out.

“On Little Wings” by Regina Sirois, Olathe, Kansas

Sirois was born and raised outside of Kansas City. She minored in creative writing, but never found the right inspiration for a story until she became the mother of two little girls. “On Little Wings” is her first novel. In it, sixteen-year-old Jennifer’s discovery of an aunt she never knew existed reunites her family and provokes love and forgiveness.

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest is co-sponsored by, Penguin Group (USA) and CreateSpace. For the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest Official Rules and to read finalists’ excerpts, and vote for the winning novels, 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 seeks to be the world’s easiest and most comprehensive independent publishing platform for writers, filmmakers and musicians. The company is the leading provider of independent publishing tools that enable content creators to produce, polish, publish and distribute their work to customers around the world. CreateSpace offers industry-leading royalty rates, broad distribution to thousands of sales channels, an engaged peer community and complete creative control while content creators continue to own the rights to their work. CreateSpace is also a leader in manufacture on-demand for Books, CDs and DVDs maintaining “in-stock” availability for titles without inventory risk. CreateSpace is a brand of On-Demand Publishing LLC, a subsidiary of, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN).


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