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Kim Echlin wins Barnes & Noble Discover Award

Toronto writer Kim Echlin took home the big prize yesterday at the Barnes & Noble 2010 Discover Awards. The U.S. chain named Echlin winner of the fiction category for her third novel, The Disappeared (first published by Hamish Hamilton Canada in 2009), which follows the love story between a Canadian woman and a Cambodian man during the genocidal reign of the Khmer Rouge.

A jury made up of authors Peter Cameron, John Dalton, and Zoë Ferraris said in a press release, The Disappeared is a powerful and affecting novel, one that’s willing to consider the greatest devotion and the most terrible cruelty.”

In the non-fiction category, David R. Dow, a lawyer and founder of the Texas Innoncence Network, won for The Autobiography of an Execution. The winners received $10,000 plus a year’s worth of marketing and merchandising support from Barnes & Noble.

Second prizes of $5,000 went to Eric Puchner for his novel Model Home and Rebecca Skloot for her book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Nic Pizzolatto’s debut novel Galveston, and Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, received third place honours and $2,500 each.

The Discover Awards honour “exceptionally talented writers” from B&N’s Discover Great New Writers program.  The 2010 winners were chosen from a pool of 60 “previously unknown fiction and non-fiction writers.”

The awards were presented during a private ceremony in New York.