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A different kind of award

Posted by David Mehegan  March 1, 2007 04:36 PM

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James Patterson

I groused below that awards for American fiction-writers are paltry, compared to Irish and English prizes, but my frame of reference needed to be enlarged. For example, thriller author James Patterson announces tomorrow this year's winners of his PageTurner Awards, which honor groups or individuals for salutary activities that encourage reading.

The winners, according to a story by the AP's Hillel Italie, include Vermont librarian Pam Shelton, who set up a book project in Botswana, and an organization called First Book, which distributes books to low-income American families. The top prize of $100,000 will go to the Washington Center for the Book, based in Seattle, which conceived of the "One City, One Book" program that has swept the country.

Funded by Patterson, who reportedly sold 12 million books last year, PageTurner awards will go to 39 winners, for a total of $500,000. Patterson said he intends to give away as much as 60 percent of his earnings to PageTurner winners.

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