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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended July 16, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 18Jul00

Summarized by Alta Films & Press News Release

'Dad Was A Carpenter' builds a following
Alta Films &Press News Release 16Jul00 A4
Memoir receives the Grand Prize in Writer's Digest competition

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH --- Alta Films &Press announced today that writer and filmmaker Kenny Kemp is this year's recipient of the Grand Prize in the prestigious Writer's Digest National Self-Published Book Awards for his touching memoir Dad Was A Carpenter: Blueprints For A Meaningful Life, besting literally thousands of competing entries.

Kemp's book has received dozens of glowing print reviews, including an endorsement by Michael Medved, author and syndicated radio host, who called the book, "Moving and intimate . . . a powerful case for the true importance of life's small moments and passing details." M. Scott Peck, the best-selling author of The Road Less Traveled, concurred, saying the book was "extremely well written."

Similar to Mitch Albom's best-selling Tuesdays With Morrie, Kemp shows a journeyman's skill as he gently draws the reader into the emotional heart of his story, relating how his father died of Lou Gehrig's Disease and how the family dealt with it. In simple but powerful prose, Kemp examines the watershed incidents from his childhood in which his father subtly but firmly shaped his life.

"He wasn't really a carpenter," says Kemp, who grew up in San Diego. "Carpentry is just a metaphor for how parents shape a child's life. In my case, everything important about life I learned in my father's garage." The book's bittersweet climax comes when Kemp cleans out the garage after his father's death, and the memories he uncovers there form a powerful and moving ending to a well-told story about the greatness of a man who never knew he was.

Surprised and pleased by the book's popularity, Kemp says, "I am amazed when people tell me their father or uncle or grandpa is just like my dad. I always thought my family was weird and unique. I guess I was only half right!"

The award carries with it a cash prize, as well as a feature interview in the August issue of Writer's Digest magazine, the monthly handbook of the writing profession. The book will also receive active promotion in Publisher's Weekly, the publishing trade bible. Writer's Digest will also endorse and sponsor the book for review in major national review publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. Kemp is also featured in the September special "Small Press" issue of Writer's Digest, available in late July.

In addition, the unabridged CD audio version of the book has just won an "IPPY" for the "Best Non-fiction Audiobook" from the Independent Publisher's Association. Over 550 publishers compete for the prestigious awards each year.

Kemp's previous book, the quirky comic novel I Hated Heaven, tells the story of terminally ill true believer Tom Waring, whose agnostic wife April makes him promise to come back from the dead to tell her if there really is an afterlife. The only catch: returning to Earth is against the rules and Tom has to bust out of Heaven to keep his promise. An award-winner in the "Visionary Fiction" category of the 1999 Independent Publisher Book Awards, I Hated Heaven has been optioned by a major Hollywood producer for production as a feature film.

Kenny Kemp is currently working on an illustrated parable, The Welcoming Door, as well as the sequel to I Hated Heaven, called appropriately, Hell Is 10,000 Cable Channels. He writes, practices law, and putters in his own garage in Sandy, Utah.

Dad Was A Carpenter is available at all major book outlets, online at, or at the Alta Films &Press website:


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