Atticus Books Wins Four IPPY Awards

May 8, 2012




  • Nazareth, North Dakota by Tommy Zurhellen
  • The Snow Whale by John Minichillo
  • The Great Lenore by J.M. Tohline
  • Tracks: A Novel in Stories by Eric D. Goodman


KENSINGTON, MD — A giant whale. A woman who fakes her death. A retelling of the New Testament. A train journey. Four of this year’s eight Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) in the U.S. Regional Awards in Fiction were awarded to novels published by Atticus Books.

The four gold medal recipients represent the eclectic combination of high-quality, genre-busting literary fiction published by the new press, which released its first book in October 2010. All four award-winning books are also the debut novels of their respective authors.

“Winning these awards brings well-deserved recognition to novelists who typically fly so unjustly far under the marketplace radar that they need to wear glow-in-the-dark cardigans to get attention,” said Dan Cafaro, founder and publisher of Atticus Books. “We indie lit presses take pride in identifying and supporting writers whose inventive works fall through the cracks of commercial houses. The IPPY Awards help us build awareness and establish a bond with librarians, booksellers, bloggers, and readers. We’re not publishing formulaic books that we think people will buy in droves. We’re publishing compelling books that we think people should read in earnest.”

Tommy Zurhellen’s Nazareth, North Dakota is a quirky, dirt-kicking ride through the 1980s North Dakota Badlands and a modern take on the story of the young messiah. Publishers Weekly said, “Zurhellen’s masterful dialogue often makes for gripping scenes that sustain these characters for decades.” The sequel, Apostle Islands, is forthcoming from Atticus Books in September.

John Minichillo’s The Snow Whale, a satire that examines identity, race, and our connection to nature within the bones of Herman Melville’s classic novel, Moby-Dick, follows mild-mannered suburban office worker John Jacobs’ journey on an Alaskan whale hunt adventure among the Inuit. The Los Angeles Times said, “Many serious issues are pretty much trampled here, but the result is wry, dry, pure hilarity all around.”

A ravishing, deceptive young British woman on Nantucket Island who orchestrates her death is at the heart of J M Tohline’s The Great Lenore, and takes its inspiration from two American classics: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Raven.”  Small Press Reviews said Tohline’s novel is a “page-turner that introduces the literary world to an author with a clear and profound appreciation for the American literary canon.”

In Eric D. Goodman’s Tracks, a novel in stories set on a train traveling from Baltimore to Chicago, readers meet the strangers we encounter every day: a soldier returned from war, a traveling salesman, a computer geek, a Holocaust survivor, a couple in love, a poet, a hit man. The New York Journal of Books calls Goodman “a born storyteller who weaves his tales of each individual character, and then ties them together to create a finely patterned cloth.”

Atticus Books isn’t new to the IPPY Award. In 2011, a Gold Medal for Best Fiction from the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region was awarded to Alex Kudera’s Fight For Your Long Day, a satire about how one survives—or doesn’t—as an adjunct university professor.

The IPPY Awards are given annually to all members of the independent publishing industry, and are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent titles published each year.

The 2012 IPPY Award winners are an elite group, with 372 medalists chosen from 5,203 total entries including 3,741 national category entries, 1,072 regional category entries, and 390 E-book category entries. IPPY medalists represent 44 U.S. states plus Washington, D.C., seven Canadian provinces, and 10 countries overseas.



Atticus Books is a publishing house based in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC that specializes in literary fiction. Atticus is run by founder and publisher Dan Cafaro and assistant editor Libby O’Neill. Visit us on the web at

Contact: Lacey N. Dunham, Publicist / 301.525.8729


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