Indie Novelist Wins Ten Book Awards in Two Years

October 28, 2021 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
The 2021 NYC Big Book Award just recognized Harry Harambee's Kenyan Sundowner by Gerald Everett Jones in the highly competitive category of General Fiction as a Distinguished Favorite. This is the third award Jones has received for that novel, as well as the third he's received for this literary fiction and two mystery-thrillers in this and prior NYC Big Book competitions.

Ten awards overall in the last two years include both Winner (Gold) and Distinguished Favorite (Silver) for his Evan Wycliff mysteries in the 2020 NYC Big Book, which accepts entries from not only indie authors and small presses but also the major publishing houses (the "Big Five"). Of his mysteries, the first in the series, Preacher Finds a Corpse, also won an Independent Press Award (IPA) Distinguished Favorite, Best Literary Fiction in the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs (NABE) Pinnacle Awards, and a Finalist Eric Hoffer Award. Preacher Fakes a Miracle won an NYC Big Book Silver in the same year, winning Jones the top two slots in the Mystery category. Previously, Harry Harambee's Kenyan Sundowner was awarded Best Literary Fiction from NABE and Bronze in the Florida Association of Authors and Publishers (FAPA) President's Awards in Adult Fiction.

Awards in 2020 included an Independent Press Association (IPA) Distinguished Favorite for Clifford's Spiral in Fiction, as well as Eric Hoffer Finalist in Business for Jones's nonfiction textbook, How to Lie with Charts.

The NYC Big Book competition is judged by experts from different aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. Selected award Winners and Distinguished Favorites are based on overall excellence.
Loosely based on Jones's experiences living in Kenya for two years, Harry Harambee's Kenyan Sundowner is the story of Harry Gardner, a lonely widower from Los Angeles, who makes the challenging transition from tourist and passive observer to committed resident. It's an emotional story of expat intrigue in rapidly developing East Africa, reminiscent of The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene and The Constant Gardener by John le Carré.

Desmond Boi, editorial writer for The Standard newspapers and Citizen TV in Nairobi has gone so far as to suggest that the book could be disruptive in a positive way among Kenyans. He writes: "Harry Harambee's Kenyan Sundowner is a captivating, witty read that explores the sociopolitical climate in Kenya in an honest way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. This is a clear and compelling outlook that realistically paints Kenya while exploring glaring issues that are a bane to the country. When Harry decides to stop being a bystander who lets other people decide his fate, it's noteworthy. This can be equated to Kenyans finally deciding to take responsibility rather than just going with the flow, waiting for decisions that affect their lives to be made for them. And it can be done without selling one's soul in the process and leave a legacy and a better country worthy of its name." (Kenyan general elections are slated for August of 2022, and campaigning is already underway.)

2021 was a record year for the NYC Big Book Awards due to the high level of quality and diverse books submitted. Again in 2021, the competition received book submissions worldwide, including great submissions from journalists, well-established authors, small and large press as well as first time indie authors who participated in high numbers. Entries were from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. Cities such as Bangalore, Edmonton, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York, Seattle, Singapore, and Vancouver, were representative among the entries. Winners were recognized globally from Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Lebanon, Queensland, and the United States of America.

Among NYC Big Book entries, some awarded books were published by The American Bar Association, Friesen Press, Gatekeeper Press, Greenleaf Book Group, Joggling Board Press, Story Merchant Books, and WildBlue Press. Quality children's publishers such as Barefoot Books as well as Mango and Marigold press were awarded. Independent presses such as Brill, Goff Books, Koehler Books, Llewellyn Publications, ORO Editions, Routledge Publishers, Rowman & Littlefield, and She Writes Press took both Winner and Distinguished Favorite awards. AuthorHouse, IngramSpark, KindleDirect, and SDP Publishing were among the self-publishing platforms. Lastly, Hachette Books, MacMillan, Penguin Random House were among the large publishers that entered.

"We are elated to highlight these authors' books, recognize their excellence, and share their achievements." said awards sponsor Gabrielle Olczak. "We look forward to showcasing these titles to a larger audience."

Gerald Everett Jones remarked about his win, "I'm pleased to receive this recognition for 'Harry's' story, especially in competition with the Big Five. My small press LaPuerta Books and Media has published all eleven of my novels, and I'm thrilled by the opportunities for self-expression that new media platforms provide. Storytelling is a unifying force among people and cultures, and I urge both writers and readers to stay focused on that bright, hopeful spot."

Gerald Everett Jones is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Monica, California. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatists Guild, Women's National Book Association, and Film Independent (FIND), as well as a board member of the Independent Writers of Southern California (IWOSC). He holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the College of Letters, Wesleyan University, where he studied under novelists Peter Boynton (Stone Island), F.D. Reeve (The Red Machines), and Jerzy Kosinski (The Painted Bird, Being There). His author website is geraldeverettjones.com, and he hosts the GetPublished! Radio podcast.

Harry Harambee's Kenyan Sundowner is published by LaPuerta Books and Media and available in trade paperback and ebook formats from booksellers worldwide, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Google Books, and Rakuten Kobo.
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