Borders Announces 2005 Original Voices Award Winners

Borders has announced the winners of the 2005 Borders Original Voices Awards, the retailer's program that shines a deserving light on emerging and innovative authors and musicians. Winners will receive $5,000 from the company for their outstanding achievement in crafting creative, original books and music. In addition, the winners will be honored at a special breakfast reception during the 2006 BookExpo America convention in Washington, D.C. in May.

Nicole Krauss' "The History of Love," published by W. W. Norton & Company, won top honors in the fiction category from a field of six finalists. According to members of the Borders selection committee, Krauss did "a masterful job of interweaving many story lines, bringing them all together in a moving and meaningful way, and the ending is pitch-perfect, down to the last line." "The History of Love," set in New York, tells the story of the intersecting lives of Leo Gursky, an aging Polish immigrant, and Alma Singer, a 14-year-old girl trying to hold her fragile family together.

"Finding George Orwell in Burma," written by Emma Larkin and published by The Penguin Press, was the nonfiction winner among six finalists. Larkin spent a year traveling around Burma, a shuttered military dictatorship in Southeast Asia, using the life and work of George Orwell as her guide. Members of the nonfiction committee said Larkin's story offers "an interesting perspective on how intellect survives the worst of humanity while still retaining a high standard of dignity. It is an eloquent and poetic blend of travel narrative, literary criticism and political commentary."

In the children's picture book category, "Russell the Sheep," written and illustrated by Rob Scotton and published by HarperCollins Publishers, was named the winner from a field of six finalists. This charming story of a sheep that can't sleep won the hearts of the Borders selection committee, who commented that this title is "a playful, unique take on traditional bedtime and counting books and Russell is just plain darling."

"Elsewhere," written by Gabrielle Zevin and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, was named the winner in the young adult category. Members of the selection committee found that this novel about life after death offers "a fascinating concept of the afterlife and is ultimately a novel full of hope." "Elsewhere" is where 15-year-old Liz Hall has ended up after dying; a place filled with those who have passed before and where life is lived backward, from the age at your death until you are once again an infant. One committee member commented, "I can only hope that the afterlife contains some of the elements that make "Elsewhere" so special. This is truly a marvelous book for readers of all ages."

For the first time, the 2005 Borders Original Voices program included music selections and from the group of six finalists, "Careless Love" by Madeleine Peyroux on the Rounder Records Group label was selected as the winner. In choosing this title as the award recipient, music committee members said, "It is Peyroux's voice that first catches your ear, but it is her beautiful, laid back, melodic jazz treatments of everything from Leonard Cohen to Bob Dylan to Hank Williams that keeps you listening."

"As in previous years, our committee members reviewed an outstanding selection of books and music for the 2005 Borders Original Voices awards," said Mike Spinozzi, executive vice president and chief product officer of Borders Group, Inc. "Each of the winning titles highlights the amazing new and emerging talent in the publishing and music industries and each represents the best-of-the-best from this past year. We are proud to honor this musician and group of authors for their exceptional works."

The six nominees in each category were chosen by Borders store employees and corporate office employees and the winners were selected by a cross-functional panel of judges at the corporate office, who volunteered to read each book nominated and listen to each CD and serve in several group discussions on the nominated selections.

Throughout the year, the Borders Original Voices program features the works of more than 200 contemporary authors/illustrators and musicians from around the world in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, young adult, picture books, and music. The monthly program highlights innovative and ambitious new work from new and emerging talents, as well as works that represent a new direction for established authors and musicians. All featured titles receive special placement in Borders stores, and are also highlighted in the in-store magazine, "Borders This Month."