ANN ARBOR, Mich., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Borders today announced the winners of its 2009 Original Voices Awards. Borders created the Original Voices program 14 years ago to recognize original and compelling works by new authors in such categories as Fiction, Non-Fiction and Children/Young Adult. Each winner will receive $5,000 from Borders in recognition of their individual achievements in producing innovative works. In addition, the winning titles will be featured in the company's more than 500 Borders stores nationwide.
"The Calligrapher's Daughter," by Eugenia Kim and published by Henry Holt, takes top honors in the Original Voices Fiction Category. Inspired by the life of Kim's Korean mother, "The Calligrapher's Daughter" is a sweeping coming-of-age story of Najin Han, born in 1910 at the start of the Japanese occupation of Korea. The story follows her life first as a privileged daughter of a tradition-bound father, then as student, patriot and humanitarian in the midst of a then crumbling Korean culture. "It's a thought-provoking novel that will stick with you after reading it because of its atmosphere, life lessons and historical perspective," according to the Original Voices selection committee.
Matthew Crawford's "Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work," captures first place in the Original Voices Non-Fiction Category. Published by Penguin Press, the book brings to the forefront the nearly lost art—and profession—of making things with one's hands. Tradesman and motorcycle shop owner Crawford brings his own experiences and philosophies to bear as he makes a compelling argument for elevating manual crafts as a life and profession worth choosing. Members of the selection committee found that "Crawford's blending of philosophical analysis and personal narrative makes for a wonderfully thought-provoking — and at times very humorous — read. It's very timely as well, given the evolution of our economy."
"After," by Amy Efaw and published by Penguin (Viking), is the Original Voices winner in the Children/Young Adult Category. Emotionally raw and gut wrenching, Efaw's "After" is the unforgettable story of straight-A-student Devon Davenport who becomes pregnant, gives birth in her apartment and then does the unthinkable—throws the baby in the dumpster. Through skillful writing, Efaw sets Davenport on a course of clarity, acceptance and redemption and brings readers along for the journey. The selection committee found that "By all of today's standards, Davenport should be a despicable character, though through airtight storytelling, Efaw pulls readers into the thought process of the character and allows them to actually sympathize with her."
Original Voice Award nominees in each category were chosen by Borders store employees and corporate office employees. The winners were selected by a cross-functional panel of judges at the corporate office, who volunteered to read each book nominated and serve in several group discussions on the nominated selections.
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