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June 23 , 2006
CONTACT: Ward Mullens

or Lisa Donovan

EMU lecturer's book selected as finalist for book of the year by independent publishers association

YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University lecturer Steven Gillis’s novel The Weight of Nothing is a finalist for “Book-of-the-Year” in literary fiction by the Independent Publishers Association and by ForeWord Magazine.

Gillis’s novel was one of four finalists chosen from a pool of more than 300 to be considered for these national awards. The awards are unique because they are open only to writers whose works are the product of small publishing houses. 

“It always feels good to be recognized in this way by editors/judges. Awards, obviously, aren’t why I write, though it’s always cool to get some recognition,” said Gillis, who is a lecturer in writing at EMU.

The Weight of Nothing deals with issues of memory, regret, revenge and forgiveness through the eyes of two friends, Bailey Finne and Niles Kelly. They ultimately travel to Algiers to confront  their demons and try to put them in the past, Gillis said.

“I wanted to write a story which dealt with this issue of personal history and how one got beyond those ‘incidents and accidents’ which otherwise come to frame us,” said Gillis, of Ann Arbor.

The novel has received favorable reviews. Midwest Book Review gave it five stars and characterized it as “a poignant chronicle of the long, difficult journey of the human spirit.”  Publisher’s Weekly described Gillis’ novel as “beguilingly mystical.”

Gillis’ first novel, Walter Falls, was named a finalist for National Book of the Year in 2003.

Gillis is currently working on a collection of stories entitled Giraffes, which will be published later this year by Atomic Quill Press. He also is working on a new novel entitled Temporary People.





Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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