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December 17, 2018

The 2018 BookLife Prize was awarded to the novel Ray vs. the Meaning of Life by Michael F. Stewart.

The finalist from the young adult/middle grade category, Ray vs. the Meaning of Life follows the misadventures of a young man named Ray, who inherits his grandmother's trailer park and a vast fortune, but must discover the meaning of life in order to keep the loot.

BookLife Prize judge and author Rebecca Sky praised the book, saying: "I was immediately drawn into the voice, witty and quirky, oftentimes verging on weird, (which is a difficult combination to master) and yet somehow the story and characters remain strangely believable—they’ll remind you of your own flawed family members and stay with you long after you read the last page."

Stewart, the Ottowa-based author of the Assured Destruction Series, which won an honorable mention in the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards, said he was surprised and delighted to be awarded the BookLife Prize.

"When I entered, it wasn’t with winning in mind," he said. "One of the best parts of the Booklife Prize is that you can win at every level, whether it’s a good critique from a Publishers Weekly reviewer or a blurb from a respected author. It’s validating on what can be a lonely journey, but also useful for marketing. I’m thrilled to have my work given the thumbs up by these amazing judges, and I can’t thank the jury enough for their time."

"I’m also super proud of this because of the company," he added. "I’ve been reading the other finalists which include a beautifully authentic memoir, a masterclass in romance, a really cool scifi—I’m looking forward to reading them all. Any of them could have been the winner."

Ray vs. the Meaning of Life was one of more than 900 books submitted to this year's BookLife Prize. For more information about the contest, check out all the finalists or view all the public entries.

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