Amazon’s Kindle Storyteller Award has announced the winning title for 2023, Forsaken Commander by G.J Ogden.
The award was announced on Monday 13th November by bestselling authors and this year’s celebrity judges, TV presenter Sue Perkins and Baroness Floella Benjamin, at a ceremony that took place in the Houses of Parliament sponsored by Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee and member of the Women and Equalities Committee.
Forsaken Commander, the first book in The Aternien Wars series, blends space opera with militaristic sci-fi and is inspired by the mythical stories of ancient Egypt. The book follows Master Commander Carter Rose, a bio-engineered officer in command, as he battles against a post-human enemy determined to destroy humanity.
In addition to the £20,000 prize money, Ogden will receive a marketing campaign to support the book on Amazon.co.uk. Despite having written for his university magazine, he didn’t sit down to write his first novel until he was 40 years old, claiming the milestone was what pushed him to put pen to paper. Ogden favours self-publishing via Kindle Direct Publishing as it gives him freedom over the whole process; from how the book cover looks to the marketing campaign. Since 2018, he has published over 35 sci-fi books.
After finding out he had won the prestigious literary prize, G.J said: “I’m blown away to have won this year’s Kindle Storyteller Award! When I started my indie author journey five years ago, success seemed like a pipedream, but KDP has allowed me to reach and entertain thousands of readers all over the world, and now this! It just shows what’s possible, and I’m very grateful to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, not only for this award, but for helping to make my dream a reality.”
Alongside Sue Perkins and Baroness Floella Benjamin, the 2023 judging panel was also made up of last year’s Kindle Storyteller winner Peter Gibbons, Author and Alliance of Independent Authors representative, Roz Morris, Amazon UK Books Country Manager, Lisa de Meyer and Author and Editorial Programmes Manager at Amazon, Darren Hardy.
Their comments on Forsaken Commander commended how events in history were woven throughout the novel, whilst carrying the reader along with an incredible plot and fully formed characters. It was noted that the storyline stirred emotion in the reader, “prompting the reader to feel sympathy for the discarded heroes of the first war”. Ultimately, Forsaken Commander took the gold as many of the judges felt it was a great story that had all the elements of a blockbuster sci-fi in the making, and left them wanting the next instalment in the series.
On the winner, Sue Perkins commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed reading the shortlisted books, but Forsaken Commander really was a stand-out for me. It’s timely and had lots of complex history woven throughout which was outlined in clear prose. I’m not often drawn to the sci-fi genre usually, but I could have happily carried on reading more in this series. I’m so pleased for G.J Ogden, and I am looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.”
Baroness Floella Benjamin added: “This year’s shortlist was full of variety; all of the stories took the reader on an exciting journey. None more so than Forsaken Commander, which has everything a good science fiction epic requires, from detailed descriptions of the incredible world it is set in to strong, well thought-out characters. This is a rip-roaring sci-fi adventure that any fan of the genre will enjoy. Huge congratulations to G.J Ogden, he’s truly a worthy winner.”
The Kindle Storyteller Award is in its seventh year in the UK and was established to recognise newly published work in the English language across any genre. The Award was open to any work in the English language published on Kindle Direct Publishing between May 1st and August 31st, 2023.
Darren Hardy, Author and Editorial Programmes Manager at Amazon UK, who chaired the judging panel, said: “We received some fantastic submissions this year, making it so difficult to whittle down the thousands of submissions into a shortlist, then finally a winner! G.J Ogden’s winning novel excited me as soon as I read the first page, I just knew we had something special. It is strongly written, has an incredible story and well thought out characters. It’s always a pleasure seeing talent being supported by Kindle Direct Publishing, authors get to take charge of their publishing from editing to marketing, and they also earn great royalties on their sales.”
Read more about the Kindle Storyteller Award or learn more about the other shortlisted books on our Kindle Storyteller page.