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First-time authors vie for Quill award …

June 12, 2007 |  3:49 pm

Alongwaygone_2 A former child soldier from Sierra Leone whose bestselling memoir has made him an overnight celebrity, an indie filmmaker and a British teacher whose Brontë-esque novel was the subject of a publishers’ bidding war are among five nominees for the book industry’s debut author of the year award.

Nominees for the 2007 Quill award are: Ishmael Beah for "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier," which Starbucks began promoting in February in its coffee shops across the country and donating $2 for each copy sold to a UNICEF fund; Miranda July, director of the 2005 movie "Me and You and Everyone We Know," for her short-story collection "No One Belongs Here More Than You"; Diane Setterfield, a French teacher from Yorkshire, England, for "The Thirteenth Tale," a gothic suspense tale; Daniel J. Levitin, a cognitive psychologist from Montreal, for "This Is Your Brain on Music"; and music critic Rob Sheffield for "Love Is a Mix Tape," a memoir about his late rock critic wife and the soundtrack of their life together.

More than 6,000 of the nation’s booksellers and librarians will vote on the nominees, who were named Tuesday by Publisher’s Weekly. The winner will be announced Sept. 10. The public will then be able to vote online for the Quill book of the year from among the best adult and children’s books in each of 18 categories.

The populist-oriented Quill Awards were launched by the industry in 2005. That year, J.K. Rowling won top honors for her sixth note: sounds like she might have written at least one other non-harry potter book. book, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," and Elizabeth Kostova was named the debut author of the year for her runaway bestseller, "The Historian."

— Kristina Lindgren