Independent Publisher has selected two West Virginia University Press books as gold medal recipients in its 2013 IPPY Awards contest.

Centerville by Karen Osborn is a gold medal winner in IPPY’s Popular Fiction category, while Steven L. Stephenson’s A Natural History of the Central Appalachians is the gold medalist in the Mid-Atlantic – Best Regional Non-Fiction category.

The Independent Publisher Book Awards were conceived in 1996 as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry. The awards bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles produced each year, and reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing. With 382 medalists chosen from 5,200 total entries, the 2013 IPPY Award winners are unique and distinguished. This year, IPPY medals were given to entrants from 44 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., five Canadian provinces, and eight countries overseas.

In Karen Osborn’s Centerville, it is 1967 at the end of a long, hot summer. On a Saturday afternoon in this sleepy Midwestern town, a disaffected husband enters a busy drugstore where his estranged wife works and sets a bag with a homemade bomb on the floor. Outside the drugstore, a 14-year-old girl places her hand on the door then inexplicably turns away and keeps walking. Moments later, standing safely inside a bowling alley with her best friend, she hears a sound like thunder. With one devastating explosion, the town is changed forever. In the next few days, four lives become entwined as the townspeople face sudden loss and new, unpredictable realities. Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement and the escalating Vietnam War, Centerville forms an engrossing meditation on the complex questions that arise in the wake of senseless violence.

A Natural History of the Central Appalachians by Steven L. Stephenson thoroughly examines the biology and ecology of the plants, animals, and other organisms of this region of eastern North America. With over 120 images, this text provides an overview of the landscape of this region, including the major changes that have taken place over the past 300 million years; describes the different types of forests and other plant communities currently present in Central Appalachia; and examines living systems ranging from microorganisms and fungi to birds and mammals. Through a consideration of the history of humans in the region, beginning with the arrival of the first Native Americans, A Natural History of the Central Appalachians also discusses the past, present, and future influences of human activity upon this geographic area.

Both Osborn and Stephenson will be honored for their accomplishments at the 17th annual IPPY Awards Ceremony and Reception on May 29 in New York City. Learn more about Independent Publisher and the IPPY Awards contest. To learn more about WVU Press, visit



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