News

The harvest is in! The 2017 Fall Okra Picks have been selected by Southern Indie Booksellers – a season's worth of delicious reading with a Southern flavor.

All the Okra Picks have a strong Southern focus and publish between October and December, and all have fans among Southern indie booksellers – who have chosen these dozen books as those they are most excited to hand sell. They all have that magical quality that makes readers want push them into the hands of friends and family--the quality of "You've got to read this!"

The Fonville Winans CookbookThe Last Ballad by Wiley CashThe Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd

The Fonville Winans Cookbook: Recipes and Photographs from a Louisiana Artist by Cynthia LeJeune Nobles and Melinda Risch Winans 
Louisiana State University Press, Hardcover, 9780807167687
Publication Date: October 2, 2017

The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780062313119
Publication Date: October 3, 2017

The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd
Blackstone, Hardcover 9781455137114
Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs by Beth Ann FennellyTales of a Cosmic Possum: From the Appalachia Mountains to the Cotton Mills by Sheila IngleHotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami by Roben Farzad

Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly
W.W. Norton, Hardcover, 9780393609479
Publication Date: October 10, 2017

Tales of a Cosmic Possum: From the Appalachia Mountains to the Cotton Mills by Sheila Ingle
Ambassador International, Trade Paperback, 9781620206126 
Publication Date: October 14, 2017

Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami by Roben Farzad
Berkley Books, Hardcover, 9781592409280
Publication Date: October 17, 2017

Dear Martin by Nic StoneThe Art of Loading Brush: New Agrarian Writings by Wendell BerryHeaven's Crooked Finger by Hank Early

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Crown Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9781101939499
Publication Date: October 17, 2017

The Art of Loading Brush: New Agrarian Writings by Wendell Berry
Counterpoint LLC, Hardcover, 9781619020382
Publication Date: October 31, 2017

Heaven's Crooked Finger by Hank Early
Crooked Lane Books, Hardcover, 9781683313915
Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Perennials by Julie CantrellThe Sisters of Glass Ferry by Kim Michele RichardsonThe Ice House by Laura Lee SmithA Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

Perennials by Julie Cantrell
Thomas Nelson, Trade Paperback, 9780718037642
Publication Date: November 14, 2017

The Sisters of Glass Ferry by Kim Michele Richardson
Kensington Publishing, Trade Paperback, 9781496709554
Publication Date: November 28, 2017

The Ice House by Laura Lee Smith
Grove Press, Hardcover, 9780802127082
Publication Date: December 5, 2017

A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert
Crooked Lane Books, Hardcover, 9781683314394
Publication Date: December 12, 2017

Find more information about the Okra Picks at AuthorsRoundtheSouth.com/okra

2018 Conroy Legacy Award Winner: Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander(Columbia, SC) Kwame Alexander, the Virginia-based poet, educator, and New York Times bestselling author, has been selected as the first recipient of the Conroy Legacy Award.

Created in honor of the example set by the beloved Southern author Pat Conroy, the Conroy Legacy Award was established in 2017 to recognize writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community, demonstrating support for independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general, writing that focuses significantly on their home place, and support of other writers, especially new and emerging authors.

"I met Pat once," said Alexander on being informed of his selection, "He was witty, connected, caring, and a brilliant storyteller–as much in person as he was on the page. He was all the things a writer should want to be. All the things I've wanted to be. I am filled with wonderment and humbled deeply to be honored in his remembrance."

Kwame Alexander was chosen to be the first Conroy Legacy Award winner by a jury of Southern independent booksellers. Alexander is the author of 24 books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Kwame writes for children of all ages and believes poetry can change the world.

"Kwame Alexander is at the forefront when it comes to mentoring the next generation of writers, not just in the US but worldwide," says Hillary Barrineau, of Hooray 4 Books in Alexandria, Virginia. "He won a Newbery Award [2015], which means not only The Crossover but also many of his other 23 books [essays, collections, poetry, and novels] are in every school and library in the US. Notably, they are set in Virginia, where he was born and raised, but clearly resonate with readers everywhere."

"When he visits schools across the country," she continued, "he makes a point of coordinating when possible with the local indie bookstores to provide the books at his events. The year he won the Newbery, he attended our bookstore's "Grand Expansion Party," driving here directly from his daughter's wedding earlier that day." 

Alexander also spearheads the Page to Stage Writing Workshop, which has created more than 3,000 student authors in nearly 70 schools in the US, Canada, and Caribbean, and he recently led a delegation of 20 writers and activists to Ghana, where they built and stocked a library and trained 300 teachers to promote literacy in that country.
"We are thrilled to have Kwame Alexander as our first Conroy Legacy Award recipient," said SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell. "He is exactly the kind of writer the award seeks to honor. Our booksellers love his books, his support of independent bookstores is well known, his commitment to his own community and to fostering a love of writing and literature–especially among young people–is legendary. I think Pat Conroy would be very pleased."

Both a donation to the Pat Conroy Literary Center and a donation to a literary entity close to the heart of the writer will be made in the name of the Legacy Award recipient.

Some Books by Kwame Alexander
Solo (2017)
Booked (2016)
Surf's Up (2016)
The Crossover: A Novel (2014)
Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Honor, NCTE Charlotte Huck Award Honor, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, Passaic Poetry Prize
He Said, She Said: A Novel (2013)
Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band (2011)
NAACP Image Award Nominee
Indigo Blume and the Garden City (2010)
NAACP Image Award Nominee
And Then You Know: New and Selected Poems (2008)
An American Poem (2008)
Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones, ed. (2007)
Crush: Love Poems (2007)
The Way I Walk: short stories and poems for Young Adults, ed. (2006)
Dancing Naked on the Floor: poems and essays (2005)

 

Celebrate Independents!  Announcing the 2017 Southern Book Prize Winners

Southern Book PrizeThe best in southern literature, from the people who would know . . . Southern Independent (and independently-minded!) Booksellers
Southern indie booksellers once again demonstrate their independence of mind by choosing an excitingly eclectic collection of books for the 2017 Southern Book Prize

Formerly the "SIBA Book Award," the newly Southern Book Prize features an expanded list of categories, inspired by the tastes and inclinations of Southern readers. Nominated by booksellers and their customers, vetted by bookstores and selected by a jury of Southern booksellers, these are the Southern books that Southern bookstores were most passionate about, and inspired the most "you've got to read this" moments and "hand sell" moments in stores across the South. They represent the best of Southern literature, from the people who would know—Southern indie booksellers.

2017 Southern Book Prize Winners

FICTION

Commonwealth A Lowcountry Christmas Chasing the North Star

Coming of Age

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (Harper, 9780062491794)

Family Life
A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books, 9781501125539)

Historical
Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan (Algonquin Books, 9781565126275)

Over the Plain Houses The Kept Woman The Whole Town's Talking Redemption Road

Literary
Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks (Hub City Press, 9781938235214)
 
Mystery & Detective
The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow & Company, 9780062430212)

Southern Stories & Stories by Southerners
The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg (Random House, 9781400065950)

Thriller
Redemption Road by John Hart (Thomas Dunne Books, 9780312380366)

Lily and Dunkin

JUVENILE
Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (Delacorte Press, 9780553536744) 

NONFICTION

The Home Place Deep Run Roots Hillbilly Elegy

Biography, Autobiography, & Memoir
The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature by J Drew Lanham (Milkweed, 9781571313157) 

Cooking
Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South by Vivian Howard (Little Brown and Company, 9780316381109)

Creative Nonfiction
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J D Vance (Harper, 9780062300546)

For more information about the Southern Book Prize, visit
www.authorsroundthesouth.com/read-this/siba-book-awards

The 2017 Summer Okra Picks have been selected: a flavor-filled collection of new Southern books hand-picked by Southern indie booksellers–people with impeccable taste in books... 

All Summer Okra picks have a strong Southern focus and publish between July and September, and all have fans among Southern indie booksellers: the people who are always looking out for the next great writer to fill your reading plate. So the next time you visit your local Southern indie bookstore and someone says, "You've got to read this!" and hands you one of these tasty titles, dig in and ask for a second helping. Great books are always good for you!

The Devil's Muse by Bill LoehfelmThe Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan HenryThe Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

The Devil's Muse by Bill Loehfelm
Sarah Crichton Books, Hardcover, 9780374279776, 272pp.
Publication Date: July 11, 2017

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry
Berkley Books, Paperback, 9780399583117, 352pp.
Publication Date: July 11, 2017

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780062105714, 352pp.
Publication Date: July 11, 2017

Refugee by Alan GratzShadow of the Lions by Christopher SwannBlight by Alexandra Duncan

Refugee by Alan Gratz
Scholastic Press, Hardcover, 9780545880831, 352pp.
Publication Date: July 25, 2017

Shadow of the Lions by Christopher Swann
Algonquin Books, Hardcover, 9781616205003, 368pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Blight by Alexandra Duncan
Greenwillow Books, Hardcover, 9780062396990, 400pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2017

If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah WeissA Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson SextonYoung Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss
Sourcebooks, Paperback, 9781492647454, 320pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2017

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
Counterpoint LLC, Hardcover, 9781619029224, 256pp.
Publication Date: August 15, 2017

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
Algonquin Books, Hardcover, 9781616205041, 320pp.
Publication Date: August 22, 2017

Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat by Patricia WilliamsThe Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren WangSing , Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn WardThe Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones

Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat by Patricia Williams
Dey Street Books, Hardcover, 9780062407306, 240pp.
Publication Date: August 22, 2017

The Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren Wang
Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9781250122353, 320pp.
Publication Date: August 29, 2017

Sing , Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781501126062, 304pp.
Publication Date: September 5, 2017

The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones
G.P. Putnam's Sons, Hardcover, 9780735214316, 400pp.
Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Exciting Changes at SIBA!: SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell heads west and Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe’s General Manager Linda-Marie Barrett joins SIBA as Assistant Executive Director.

Wanda JewellSIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell will relocate in 2018 to San Francisco, Ca. to be near family. She wants to spend time with her granddaughter and “any future grands to come!” Of her decision to relocate out of the territory, she writes, “I believe this will be good for SIBA. I’ll have access to a whole new culture of bookselling. I’ll research new products, concepts, and ideas at work and bring them to SIBA booksellers. I’m investigating the possibility of sharing resources with NCIBA, as well as contacting new vendors.” Even after she relocates, Jewell will keep east coast hours to be available to SIBA members. “As my signature says, call anytime for any reason!”

Linda-Marie BarrettAs part of the transition, Linda-Marie Barrett, longtime General Manager and former co-owner of Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, NC leaves Malaprop’s to join SIBA as Assistant Executive Director. Her initial focus will be as a Rep on the Road Liaison to SIBA booksellers, expanding on outreach she’d already begun as a SIBA Board member. She will accelerate participation in SIBA’s Frindies (Author Friends) program, and be the east coast SIBA representative beginning in early 2018. “Malaprop’s has been my heart for almost 29 years, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to work with Wanda Jewell, someone I admire tremendously. Traveling the territory, meeting indie booksellers, and exploring what’s working and what needs attention is a perfect match for my passion to build connections, find solutions, and offer practical assistance. I’m so looking forward to getting started!”

Barrett resigned her position on the SIBA Board at their last board meeting on May 30. She officially stepped into the position of SIBA Assistant Executive Director on June 5, and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

---