Local Authors Win International Book Awards

Big Skye Ranch, by local authors Laura Ambler, of Easton, and Mala Burt, of St. Michaels, won the 2009 Grand Prize Runner-up Award at the annual international book competition of the London Book Festival, in London, U.K. Their novel also won first place in the e-book category.

In the announcement, the contest judges said Big Skye Ranch is “a forerunner of a new generation of e-books that are roping in the hard-to-reach teenage audience.” This is the first time an “e-book” has been a winner of the overall book competition. Ambler and Burt attended the awards ceremony in London.

“Big Skye Ranch uses full color graphics and provocative subject matter to bridge the reading generation gap,” the judges said.

The two authors collaborated to write the book for young teenagers under the fictitious author’s name “Laurel Jaguar,” an irreverent teenager who relates to today’s teen market.

They wrote the book as a downloadable novel, an e-book, with new technologies that provide immediate access to the teen market. The entire book can be read on smart phones for the price of a ring tone, making it inexpensive and instantly available to teens. It can also be read on e-reader devices, the Kindle, and laptop computers, all popular among younger readers.

The novel tells the stories of last chance teens who must confront psychological issues faced by many in their age group. They end up at “Big Skye Ranch,” a boot camp in the Montana wilderness. The troubled teens are empowered by peers to learn trust and embrace self-worth, important messages for today’s young readers.

The authors combined their individual skills for the book. Mala Burt is a published novelist and a clinical social worker. Laura Ambler is a screenwriter, artist and graphic designer. Both are award winning writers who are active in the Eastern Shore writing community.

The e-book and digital medium is a world-wide growth phenomenon in publishing, especially among teens and young adults. Big Skye Ranch is also available on Amazon. For more information and a view of the cover and color graphics, see the websitewww.bigskyeranch.com.