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Amazon Names Ithaca College Author's Debut Novel a 'Best Book' for June

ITHACA, NY — “Ten Thousand Saints,” the debut novel by Eleanor Henderson, has been earning across-the-board praise for its vivid descriptions of 1980s-era New York City and sensitive portrayals of youthful rebellion and family dynamics. The book was released on June 7 by Ecco Press, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Henderson, an assistant professor of writing at Ithaca College, is currently on tour promoting “Ten Thousand Saints,” which was listed by as one of the “Best Books of the Month” for June and included on the recommended summer reading lists of the “Los Angeles Times” and “New York Daily News.” “BookPage” cited it as a “vibrant debut” and “O, the Oprah Magazine” called it an “irresistibly rich and engrossing novel.”

Moving back and forth between gritty New York City and small-town Vermont, the characters in “Ten Thousand Saints” — including drug-dealing parents and “straight edge” teens — struggle to create their own identities when life around them is turned upside down. As “Publishers Weekly” describes it, “What results is an odyssey encompassing the age of CBGB, Hare Krishnas, zines and the emergence of AIDS.”

Henderson joined the Department of Writing in the School of Humanities and Sciences in the fall of 2010, where she teaches courses in creative and academic writing and historical fiction. She earned her B.A. in American literature/creative writing from Middlebury College and M.F.A in fiction writing from the University of Virginia.

“I began writing ‘Ten Thousand Saints’ about 10 years ago,” said Henderson. “Since then it’s traveled through many drafts and many states. It wasn’t until about three days after I was hired by Ithaca College that I finally sold the novel. I think IC was my lucky charm, and I feel very grateful for their faith in my book.”

Her short story “The Farms” was a Pushcart Prize nominee and was selected for “The Best American Short Stories 2009.” Her fiction has also appeared in “Agni,” “North American Review,” “Ninth Letter” and “Columbia,” among other publications. Her nonfiction has appeared in “Poets & Writers,” where she was a contributing editor, and “Virginia Quarterly Review,” where she was the chair of the fiction board.

For more information, visit or contact Henderson at or Michael McKenzie, senior publicity director for Ecco Press, at