McArdle and Ackley Win Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards 2010

Patricia McArdle and Amy Ackley have won this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in the respective categories of general fiction and young adult fiction. This is the first year two top prizes have been awarded. Both winners receive publishing contracts with Penguin USA and $15,000 advances. The winners were revealed today at the Amazon campus in Seattle, Washington. The two winners were selected by Amazon customers who voted for the books online.

“Thousands of customers participated in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award by posting reviews and casting votes for the winners. The results of this year’s vote were the closest we’ve ever had, which is indicative of both the competitiveness of the entries and the exceptional work from our finalists.”

Jeff Belle, Vice President, U.S. Books, Amazon

“It is such a pleasure to award two grand prizes this year and to have two wonderful new authors publishing with Penguin. We congratulate Patricia McArdle and Amy Ackley on their talent and achievement.”

Tim McCall, Penguin’s Vice President of online Sales and Marketing

Patricia McArdle, a resident of Arlington, Virginia, is a retired American diplomat whose postings have taken her around the world, including northern Afghanistan. Her novel, Farishta, centers around a female American diplomat who, transferred to a volatile, remote outpost in northern Afghanistan, provides aid to refugee women fleeing the violence. She becomes their farishta, or “angel,” in the local Dari language. Julie Barer of Barer Literary, LLC, one of the contest’s expert panelists, described McArdle’s Farishta as “a moving and fascinating story of one woman’s work in a place that few Americans have experienced beyond newspaper headlines and CNN stories. Both the originality of the setting and the quality of the writing make this debut stand out in the crowd.”
Farishta, by Patricia McArdle will be published by Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin USA.
Amy Ackley of Brighton, Michigan is a mother of three whose career has included a variety of jobs, from public administration to labor relations for top automakers. Ackley left home at the tender age of 16 and has supported herself ever since. Inspired by the loss of her father and two close friends to cancer, Sign Language tells the story of 12-year-old Abby North. Her first hint that something is wrong with her dad is the scar that appears on his stomach after he goes in for kidney surgery. Soon, the thing she calls “It” has a real name: cancer. Before, her biggest concerns were her annoying brother, the crush unaware of her existence and her changing feelings for her best friend, Spence. Now, her mother cries in the shower, her father is exhausted and nothing is normal anymore. Nancy Werlin said the novel “tells its story beautifully and movingly, and it earns its hopeful ending. Ackley is without question a talented writer.”
Sign Language, by Amy Ackley will be published by Viking Children’s Books, a division of Penguin USA.
The 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, which began Jan. 25, 2010, drew thousands of entrants, representing all 50 U.S. states and 22 countries. The contest is co-sponsored by Amazon, Penguin Group (USA) and CreateSpace. For complete terms and conditions on the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and to view the winning excerpts and reviews, please visit

Leave a Reply