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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 2018 Southern Book Prize.

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” 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.

2018 Southern Book Prize Winners

Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric DysonMy Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott KingFlame in the Mist by Renee AhdiehTumble and Blue by Cassie BeasleyBefore We Were Yours by Lisa WingateGradle Bird by J C SasserThe Last Ballad by Wiley CashYoung Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

FICTION

Women & Family –
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin (Algonquin)

“Zevin uses her unique voice to tell this sometimes hilarious and witty story in three points of view.  Strong, smart women! A joy to read, and quite meaningful.” – Jean Lewis, Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL

Literary -
The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash (William Morrow & Company)

“We need more women (and men) like Ella Mae Wiggins in this world. Someone who is willing to stand up for a better world no matter the cost. This is her story, and we are all better for having come to know it."” – George Williams, MoonPie General Store, Pigeon Forge, TN

Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense -
Gradle Bird by J. C. Sasser (Koehler Books)

“This story is the epitome of Southern Fiction, with its wild cast of characters and small-town setting.” – Bess Long, My Sister’s Books, Pawley’s Island, SC

Southern Fiction -
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (Ballantine Books)

“Lisa Wingate is a master storyteller, and I am particularly attached to her historical fiction. Each time I read one of the books, I learn of a part of our southern past that is mostly forgotten.” – Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Juvenile Fiction -
Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley (Dial Books)

“Sweet, magical, and wholly enjoyable—a little bit of magic, a grandparent in trouble, insurmountable obstacles, and selfless acts of friendship and love. Adorable, well-written, and sweet as fresh swamp water.”  – Mary Ruthless, Foggy Pine Books, Boone, NC

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh (G. P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers)

“A fantastical tale woven like fine silk, Flame in the Mist transports readers to feudal Japan where we meet Mariko, and follow her on a quest that’s conclusion will have her questioning everything she thinks she knows about family, honor, and love.” – Star Lowe, Star Line Books, Chatttanooga, TN

NONFICTION

Biography & History -
Coretta: My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King
(Picador USA)

 “I'm glad the first chapter is "We Don't Have Time to Cry" because it, and Mrs. King, give strength and honesty if we are to face what our country is (and because I sure had a hard time stopping crying at times). Beautiful straight talking.” – Angie Fleming, Givens Books, Lynchburg, VA

Nonfiction -
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson
(St. Martin's Press)

"Michael Eric Dyson is an urgent and impassioned cry for racial justice— justice that will not be reached without a reckoning by white Americans' acknowledgment of its passivity and complicity to its addiction to power." – Caroline Green Christopoulos, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC

Okra PickSummer is the season for Okra. . .Picks! Southern Indie Booksellers have chosen their favorite Southern books of the summer, a literary harvest of forthcoming hand sell hot picks and future bestsellers.

All the Okra Picks have a strong Southern focus and publish between July and September, and all have fans among Southern indie booksellers. Eighteen forthcoming titles—including fiction, nonfiction, young adult and children’s literature—have been picked by booksellers as the Southern books they are most excited about. The answer to every reader’s favorite question – What should I read next? – can be found here.

JULY

Don't You Ever: My Mother and Her Secret Son by Mary Carter BishopWilla of the Wood  by Robert BeattySmack Dab in the Middle of Maybe  by Jo HacklThe New Inheritors by Kent WascomThe Lost Country by William GayThe Wrong Heaven by Amy Bonnaffons

Don't You Ever: My Mother and Her Secret Son  by Mary Carter Bishop
Harper | 9780062400734 | 27.99 | July 2018

Willa of the Wood  by Robert Beatty
Disney-Hyperion | 9781368005845 | 16.99 | July 2018

Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe  by Jo Hackl
Random House Books for Young Readers | 9780399557385 | 16.99 | July 2018

The New Inheritors by Kent Wascom
Grove Press | 9780802128171 | 26.00 | July 2018

The Lost Country by William Gay
Dzanc Books | 9781945814525 | 26.95 | July 2018

The Wrong Heaven by Amy Bonnaffons
Little Brown and Company | 9780316516211 | 26.00 | July 2018

AUGUST

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America  by Beth MacyWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensSurviving Adam Mede by Shannon KlareThe Line That Held Us by David JoyRush by Lisa PattonOne Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy  by Carol Anderson

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | 9780316551243 | August 2018

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
G.P. Putnam's Sons | 9780735219090 | 26.00 | August 2018

Surviving Adam Mede by Shannon Klare
Swoon Reads | 9781250154378 | 16.99 | August 2018

The Line That Held Us by David Joy
G.P. Putnam's Sons | 9780399574221 | 27.00 | August 2018

Rush by Lisa Patton
St. Martin’s Press | 9781250020666 | 26.99 | August 2018

The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival  by Terry Roberts
Turner | 9781684421633 | 16.99 | August 2018

SEPTEMBER

One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy  by Carol AndersonSouthernmostMerci Suárez Changes Gears  by Meg MedinaThe Law of Finders Keepers  Wake by Sheila TurnageDrive by Joyce Moyer HostetterOur Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy  by Nicole Seitz (editor)Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist  by Eli Saslow

One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy  by Carol Anderson
Bloomsbury Publishing | 9781635571370 | 27.00 | September 2018

Merci Suárez Changes Gears  by Meg Medina
Candlewick Press | 9780763690496 | 16.99 | September 2018

The Law of Finders Keepers  Wake by Sheila Turnage
Kathy Dawson Books | 9780803739628 | 16.99 | September 2018

Drive by Joyce Moyer Hostetter
Calkins Creek Books | 9781629798653 | $18.95 | September 2018

Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy  by Nicole Seitz (editor) and Jonathan Haupt (editor)
University of Georgia Press | 9780820354484 | $29.95 | September 2018

Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist  by Eli Saslow
Doubleday Books | 9780385542869 | $26.95 | September 2018

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

Southern indie booksellers: We grow good books!