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Tell me why you wrote this book—in 140 characters

A Twitter-inspired ceremony for the 2008 SIBA Book Awards

Columbia, SC - August 11, 2008 - The 2008 SIBA Book Award Ceremony will be one of the highlights of the upcoming Decatur Book Festival on August 29 – 31st. The ceremony, honoring the best Southern books of the year as chosen by southern independent booksellers, will be held on Saturday, August 30th on the City Hall Stage at 5:30 pm. Both winners and award finalists will be honored and nine of the twenty authors will be in attendance to speak and sign books after the ceremony.

But don’t be daunted. Despite the large number of speakers, the ceremony promises to be a snappy and entertaining event – partly because of its unusual format: an extended question and answer session where the authors will be limited to responses of 140 characters.

The media-savvy will recognize that number to be the upper limit allowed for messages posted to Twitter, the popular social networking site that has turned the text message into something of an art form. Wanda Jewell, Executive Director of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA), the organization which sponsors the Awards, said that she came up with the idea of a “Twitter-inspired” ceremony when she was faced with the logistics of orchestrating an event with a large number of speakers. “This isn’t the Oscars,” she noted, “We don’t want to keep people in their seats for hours. But these are writers we are honoring. . .we already know they are good with words.”

As the master of ceremonies, Jewell will introduce each author and ask several questions about their books, their writing careers, and what they are working on currently. The authors will attempt to respond in the Twitter-standard limit of 140 characters. Jewell is inviting readers to submit questions they would like to ask ahead of time. Somewhat unfairly, although the authors will be limited to 140 character answers, submitted questions can be any length.

Anyone interested in submitting a question to one of the authors can do so either by e-mailing Wanda Jewell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or by “tweeting” her via SIBA’s own Twitter handle, “rubyjewell.”

Authors in attendance include:

David Kirby – Winner, Poetry The House on Boulevard Street
Sarah Addison Allen – Winner, Fiction Garden Spells
Donna Bateman – Winner, Children’s Deep in the Swamp
Sue Walker – Finalist, Poetry What Remembers Us
Deborah Wiles – Finalist, Children’s Aurora County All-Stars
Kerry Madden –Finalist, Children’s Louisiana’s Song
Alan Gratz – Finalist, Children’s Something Rotten
Robert Olmstead – Finalist, Fiction Coal Black Horse
Chef Rodney Freidank – Finalist, Cooking Soby’s New South Cuisine

A complete list of the winners and finalists in the 2008 SIBA Book Award can be found at SIBA’s website for Southern Literature, Authors ‘Round the South:
http://www.authorsroundthesouth.com/siba-book-awards

For more information on SIBA and the SIBA Book Awards, visit the SIBA website at www.sibaweb.com.