The West Virginia University Press has had an exciting and successful year.

Two WVU Press books have received distinguished honors from ForeWord Magazine, the Annual Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) program, the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) 50 Books/50 Covers competition and the Washington Book Publishers2008 Book Design and Effectiveness Awards.

Under the direction of Pat Conner, the WVU Press has become a premier academic press on par with the best in the country,said Mary Ellen Mazey, dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.Its work with high-caliber academics and scholars, coupled with a commitment to design, produces first-rate quality publications.

The Potomac Canal,the first history of George Washingtons attempt to link the nations rivers with canals, is this years ForeWord MagazineSilver Winner in the history category. The book, written by Robert Kapsch, was selected for the award by a panel of book sellers and librarians. ForeWord Magazine is the only review trade journal devoted exclusively to covering books from independent publishers.

Four other WVU Press books were nominated for ForeWords annual Book of the Year awards. They wereMonongah: The Tragic Story of the 1907 Monongah Mine Disasterby Davitt McAteer, history;Defending the Homeland,edited by Melinda M. Hicks and C. Belmont Keeney, political science;Bringing Down the Mountainsby Shirley Burns, environment; and Kevin StewartsThe Way Things Always Happen Here,short fiction.

The Potomac Canalwas also accepted into the prestigious AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers competition. Its an extremely competitive contest with entries submitted from the United States and abroad. The book is now in the final 50. The competition is divided into two parts: the first is for the cover only, and the second, which is the category the WVU Press has entered, is for the book as a whole.

Having reached this point in the contest, the AIGA will place copies of the 50 finalist books in the collections of the rare books and manuscripts collection of the Nicholas Murray Butler Library at Columbia University and the AIGA Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum.

In addition to the ForeWord Magazine and AIGA recognition,The Potomac Canalwas honored at the Washington Book Publishers2008 Book Design and Effectiveness Awards. The book placed second in two categories: Illustrated Cover or Jacket Small to Medium Nonprofit Publisher and Illustrated Text Small to Medium Nonprofit Publisher.

Meanwhile,Monongah: The Tragic Story of the 1907 Monongah Mine Disasterhas won an IPPY bronze medal in the national history category. WVU is recognized in this category along with powerhouse publishers Yale University Press, W.W. Norton and Harvard University Press.

The WVU Press is happy to be ranked with these distinguished presses, some of the best academic presses in the U.S., and several excellent commercial independent imprints including a giant like Norton,said Conner, who is also editor of WVU Press.This effort is the culmination of the work of many dedicated and talented people.

Its not easy snagging an award from ForeWord Magazine or IPPY . This years IPPY contest, for instance, attracted 3,175 total entries, with more than 2,500 entries in the national categories and over 600 entries in the regional competition. Books came from 49 U.S. states, D.C., and U.S. Virgin Islands; nine Canadian provinces; and 16 countries around the world, including Trinidad, Thailand, Croatia, France and Finland.

Previously announced accolades for the WVU Press include Barnes and Nobles selection ofThe Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggartby M. Glenn Taylor for the Discover Great New Writers program.

To purchase these and other books printed by the WVU Press, go