The Southern Book Prize

Each year, hundreds of booksellers across the South vote on the books they have most enjoyed selling to customers: the books they couldn't stop talking about; books by southern writers, or with a southern perspective, or both. For years, the SIBA Book Award has recognized great books of southern origin.

In 2017, the SIBA Book Award became The Southern Book Prize  and implemented The Conroy Legacy Award to honor one of the region's most enduring, iconic writers and to recognize Conroy as a force for good in the world of southern books and literature.

For a book to be eligible, it must be set in the South, or the author must be Southern (or both) and it must have been published within the previous calendar year.

Winners will be chosen by popular vote, and Southern indie bookstores will be encouraged to involve their customers in the voting process by creating in-store displays of the finalist titles as part of their holiday promotions. Each store will be provided postage-paid postcard ballots to hand out to booksellers and customers. An online ballot will also be available on November 10th. Returned ballots will be entered into a raffle to win a complete set of the finalist titles.

In-store voting will begin the week of the Love Your Bookstore Challenge, November 10-16, building on the momentum of the grassroots campaign to encourage book buying at local bookstores and giving store customers chances to win more prizes. Voting will run from November 10 through February 1, 2019. Southern Book Prize winners will be announced on February 14, Valentine’s Day.


The Conroy Legacy Award, honors the example of beloved author Pat Conroy and recognizes writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community. Recipients will have shown the following attributes:

  • Support for independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general.
  • Writing that focuses significantly on their own home place.
  • Demonstrates support of other writers, especially new and emerging authors.

The Conroy Legacy Award is given to one writer in SIBA territory per year. A juried panel of SIBA member booksellers representing all of SIBA's states will choose among nominated writers to determine the year’s winner.

Follow the links below to learn more. Mark your calendars now for important nomination deadlines and announcements!


Announcing the 2015 SIBA Book Award Finalists

SIBA Book Award - The Finalists(Columbia, SC)  April 13, 2015 -- The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2015 SIBA Book Award, recognizing great southern literature from the last year. There are twenty-one books on the 2015 list, showcasing the broad range of Southern styles and settings, and representing booksellers' favorite hand sells of the year in fiction, nonfiction, children's, young adult, and cooking. Whether your reading tastes run towards the gothic (A Dark Road to Mercy) or the poetic (Brown Girl Dreaming), the sweet (Blue Ribbon Baking) or the savory (Heritage), the country ballad (Wayfaring Strangers) or rock ‘n roll  (Jerry Lee Lewis) there is a book on this list that you are going to love. A southern indie bookseller has said so, and they are in a position to know.


This Dark Road to MercyNatchez BurningThe Invention of WingsSomething Rich and StrangeDollbabyLongman

  • This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash, William Morrow & Company, 9780062088253
  • Natchez Burning by Greg Iles, William Morrow & Company, 9780062311078
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, Viking Books, 9780670024780
  • Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash, Ecco, 9780062349347
  • Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal, Pamela Dorman Books, 9780670014736
  • Long Man by Amy Greene, Knopf Publishing Group, 9780307593436


Jerry Lee LewisLiar, Temptress, Soldier, SpyRebel YellFactory ManWayfaring Strangers

  • Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story by Rick Bragg, Harper, 9780062078223
  • Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott, Harper, 9780062092892
  • Rebel Yell by S. C. Gwynne, Scribner, 9781451673289
  • Factory Man by Beth Macy, Back Bay (Hachette), 9780316231435
  • Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia by Fiona Ritchie, University of North Carolina Press, 9781469618227


The Edible SouthHeritageBlue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck KitchenPimento Cheese: The Cookbook

  • The Edible South: The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region by Marcie Cohen Ferris, UNC Press, 9781469617688
  • Heritage by Sean Brock, Artisan, 9781579654634
  • Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen by Francine Bryson, Clarkson Potter, 9780804185783
  • Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook by Perre Coleman Magness, St. Martin's, 9781250047298


Brown Girl DreamingThe Ghosts of Tupelo LandingA Snicker of Magic

  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, Nancy Paulsen Books, 9780399252518
  • The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage, Kathy Dawson Books, 9780803736719
  • A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, Scholastic, 9780545552707

Young Adult

Skink: No SurrenderLeague of SevenRevolution

  • Skink: No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen, Knopf, 9780375870514
  • League of Seven by Alan Gratz, Starscape/Tor/Macmillan, 9780765338228
  • Revolution by Deborah Wiles, Scholastic, 9780545106078

Finalists will be judged by a juried panel of SIBA booksellers, and winners will be announced on July 4, "Independents Day." More information about the SIBA