The book "Georgia Under Water" by Dr. Heather Sellers of the Hope College English faculty has been named a finalist in the 2002 "Paterson Fiction Prize" competition.

Novels or collections of short fiction published in 2001 were eligible for recognition in the competition, sponsored by the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, N.J. In 2001, one winner and five finalists were recognized in the fiction category. The center also coordinates prizes in poetry and for books published for young people.

"Georgia Under Water" is a collection of nine linked stories about the struggles and triumphs of Georgia Jackson as she grows up in Florida, always near the ocean or a pool, living in a dysfunctional family, torn between pleasing her parents and saving herself.

"Georgia Jackson is a heroine buoyant in spirit and bitterly cheery in a way that is thrilling," story writer Padgett Powell has said. Author Kim Barnes has called Georgia "a modern-day Huck Finn, traveling the ocean's shore, learning the hard lessons that will both scar her and allow her to survive."

In the summer of 2001, "Georgia Under Water" was recognized in the "Discover Great New Writers" program of Barnes & Noble bookstores. Sellers completed work on the book with a 1999 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), one of only 41 granted that year to writers creating original work or translating work.

Sellers is an associate professor of English, and has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1995. She has also been the recipient of many other awards and writing residencies. Her work has appeared in "Indiana Review," "New Virginia Review," "The Hawai'i Review," "The Chattahoochee Review," "The Women's Review of Books," "Sonora Review" and many other journals.

She earned her bachelor's, master's and doctorate at Florida State University, in 1985, 1988 and 1992 respectively.