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Former BYU Writing Fellow wins young adult novel publication prize

"Notes On a Near-Life Experience" by Olivia Birdsall

Brigham Young University alumna Olivia Birdsall was recently selected by Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers as the winner of the 2005 Delacorte Press Contest for a First Young Adult Novel.

The winning book, “Notes on a Near-Life Experience,” will be published by Random House Children’s Books in spring 2007.

Birdsall is a former Writing Fellow with the BYU Publications Lab.

“Notes On a Near-Life Experience” is the story of 15-year-old Mia, whose life is anything but perfect. Between her parent’s divorce and the crush she has on her brother’s “off-limits” best friend, Mia finds that her teenage existence is definitely not what she imagined it to be.

“Olivia Birdsall’s manuscript stood out from the crowd with its authentic, funny and terribly honest voice,” says Stephanie Lane, editor for the publication. “Fifteen-year-old Mia remains utterly convincing as she suffers through her parents’ messy divorce, falls in love for the first time, and recognizes (with the help of an understanding shrink) that she can’t make her problems go away by ignoring them. I’m thrilled to be working with Olivia and to be introducing her quirky, believable voice to young adult readers.”

“Notes On a Near-Life Experience” is Birdsall's first novel, and was part of her master’s of fine arts degree requirements at New York University. A native of California, Birdsall resides in New York City.

The Delacorte Press Contest for a First Young Adult Novel is awarded annually to encourage the writing of young adult fiction and is open to U.S. and Canadian writers who have not previously published a young adult novel.

The judges are the editors of the Knopf Delacorte Dell Young Readers Group.

For more information, contact Deirdre Paulsen at (801) 422-3101.

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