One of the highlights of my year is judging Kindle Storyteller and while I was thrilled, obviously, to be in Nashville for Digital Book World, I really wish I could have cloned myself to be at Amazon Storyteller Awards tonight.
For those who don’t know, Amazon’s Storyteller Award was open to writers publishing in English across any genre who published their work through Kindle Direct Publishing before 31 August 2018. The book had to be previously unpublished and available as an ebook and in print.
Judging Kindle Storyteller: The Process
The award is to recognize outstanding storytelling and the judging is two-fold.
1) Firstly, the longlist is selected from books are those that are doing well with readers during the entry period, and rising in the bestseller ranks.
2) From those, a shortlist of five books is selected by the Amazon team, from a variety of genres. These are distributed to a panel of judges. This year the judging panel was:
Claire Allfree, Books Editor, The Metro (chair)
Laura Deacon, Editor Amazon Publishing
David Leadbeater, last year’s winner
and yours truly.
Our instructions were as follows:
When it comes to judging, the key factor to bear in mind is the quality of the storytelling. The Storyteller award is not an attempt to discover a new literary genius, but rather a celebration of the power of storytelling to capture the reader’s imagination and convey their ideas.
This is why we encourage entries across such a broad range of genres across fiction and non-fiction. As you read the shortlist please consider the story that the authors are telling and how it is being conveyed
Judging Kindle Storyteller: 2018’s Winner
This year, for me, there was a clear winner and the judging was unanimous: The Afterlife of Walter Augustus by Hannah Lynn charmed all.
This entry best encompassed the guidance from our Chair, Claire Alfree, during the process to choose the book with a “compelling story to tell which also has a fresh and imaginative way of telling it”.
Lynn’s story treated a Cinderella-type character—Letty, an overweight, passive, shoe saleswoman who gets the money and the man– in a most original way. Letty is already being married to her Prince Charming for decades and has amassed her fortune herself.
Here is the book blurb:
Walter Augustus is dead. His current state of existence has become a monotony of sweet tea and lonely strolls and after decades stuck in the Interim — a posthumous waiting room for those still remembered on Earth — he is ready to move on. Only when he is forgotten by every living person will he be able to pass over and join his family in the next stage of the afterlife. At last the end is tantalizingly close, but bad luck and a few rash decisions may see him trapped in the Interim for all eternity.
Letty Ferguson is not dead. Letty Ferguson is a middle-aged shoe saleswoman who leads a pleasant and wholly unextraordinary life, barring the secret fortune she seems unable to tell her husband about. However, when she takes possession of an unassuming poetry anthology, life takes on a rather more extraordinary dimension.
I appreciated the sweet outlook on life and love, in both the long-established marriage and the burgeoning romance between Walter and Letty’s mum, Trish in the afterlife.
I especially like its premise around memory and how we live on after death. And of course loved that the story was built around a poetry book.
Lynn handled the process of sorting souls through the Interim and onward with imaginative verve and insight. She offers a new take on the oldest and biggest life question—what happens after we die?— and handles that question with sensitivity, humor and grace.
Compelling and imaginative storytelling. Congratulations Hannah Lynn!