SIBA Book Award

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.

Books can be nominated by SIBA-member booksellers. Stores may also submit nominations on behalf of the their customers, so if you are not a bookseller, you can request your local bookstore nominate a title on your behalf.

Enter your choices on our online nomination form.


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!

Downloadable Book Award GraphicsLogos and badges:  Click here for badges to put on your website!

Booksellers: The Southern Book Prize Winners could win you $1000!

Once again, SIBA will host the SIBA Book Award Display Contest at the upcoming SIBA Discovery Show September 13-15 in Tampa, Florida. Create a table top display for one, more, or all of the Winners and recreate it on site at the show.  Industry peers will vote for their favorites, and the store with the winning display will receive $1000  This display contest is open to SIBA’s Core Members only. So display the books, get familiar and get your creative juices going!


Celebrate Independents!  SIBA’s 2011 Book Award Winners

The best in southern literature, from the people who would know: Southern Independent (and independently-minded) Booksellers!

(Columbia, SC) Southern indie booksellers once again demonstrate their independence of mind by choosing an excitingly eclectic collection of books for the 2011 SIBA Book Awards.  

Children’s Winner: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (Puffin Books)

Catlin will touch your heart. What more is there to say?” –Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC

In Caitlin's world, everything is black or white. Anything in between is confusing. That's how Caitlin's older brother, Devon, always explained it. But now Devon's dead. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an 11-year-old girl with Asperger's, she doesn't know how.

Cooking Winner: Southern My Way: Simple Recipes, Fresh Flavors by Gena Knox (Gena Knox Media, LLC)

Gena's cookbook shows quicker ways to make traditional southern dishes from a fresh angle!” –Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL

Just because it tastes great, doesn’t mean it has to be complicated! Southern My Way is a cookbook filled with recipes that reflect author Gena Knox's upbringing in southern Georgia where farming shaped both culture and community. Today, Knox is passionate about sharing her modern take on Southern specialties. Southern My Way takes home cooks on a journey through both the South in which Gena grew up and the South she knows today, while encouraging readers to keep local foodways and farming traditions alive. Knox shares her realization that preparing tasty and healthy meals is amazingly uncomplicated when using fresh ingredients, arming home cooks with a collection of standbys that are easy enough for everyday cooking, from toasted pecan goat cheese with Tupelo honey, to summer gazpacho, to gingersnap ice cream sandwiches. 

Fiction Winner: Burning Bright by Ron Rash (Ecco Press)

Ron Rash can't write a false word.” –Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, NC

Rash is no stranger to Southern booksellers but he might be the best kept secret in the South. He has won the SIBA Book Award in the past for both Serena (2009) and Saints at the River (2005). But Burning Bright has the distinction of being the first collection of short stories to win the SIBA Book Award in the Fiction category. Winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, Burning Bright captures the complexities of Appalachia--a rugged, brutal landscape of exceptional beauty, promise, and suffering that serves as New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash's muse. Spanning from the Civil War to the present day, Rash's historical and modern settings are sewn together in a haunting patchwork of suspense and myth, populated by raw and unforgettable characters mined from the landscape.

Nonfiction Winner:  The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family by Jim Minick (Thomas Dunne Books)

A captivating look into a couple's efforts to create an organic blueberry farm in Central Appalachia. . .sit back and savor the sweetness of his blueberry story.”—Malaprop’s in Asheville, NC

The Blueberry Years is a mouthwatering and delightful memoir based on Jim Minick's experiences as an organic blueberry farmer. This story of one couple, one farm, and one thousand bushes transports readers so that they experience the joys and frustrations of creating and operating one of the mid-Atlantic's first certified-organic, pick-your-own blueberry farms. Written by a farmer who also is a poet, The Blueberry Years follows in the vein of The Omnivore's Dilemma or Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, where lyrical writing captures a well-told story about food, family, and the choices we make with every bite"

Poetry Winner: A House of Branches by Janisse Ray (Wind Publications)

These poems are about waking up, looking around at the world, and discovering how to live within it.” –Kathryn Stripling Byer

Janisse Ray is another one of the South’s best-kept-secrets, although she’s no secret to southern booksellers, who chose her debut memoir Ecology of a Cracker Childhood as a SIBA Book Award Winner in nonfiction in 2000. Their enthusiasm has not dimmed and this year Ray returns as a winner again in 2011 for her first full book of poetry, A House of Branches, poems informed by the author's long-standing interest in the wilderness and nature.

Young Adult Winner: Countdown by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic)

Oh, this story brings back memories!” –Two Sisters Bookery in Wilmington, NC

It's 1962, and it seems everyone is living in fear. Twelve-year-old Franny Chapman lives with her family in Washington, D.C., during the days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. For Franny, as for all Americans, it's going to be a formative year.

The Winners!

  • Children’s Winner: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (Puffin Books)
  • Cooking Winner: Southern My Way by Gena Knox (Gena Knox Media, LLC)
  • Fiction Winner: Burning Bright by Ron Rash (Ecco Press)
  • Nonfiction Winner:  The Blueberry Years by Jim Minick (Thomas Dunne Books)
  • Poetry Winner: A House of Branches by Janisse Ray (Wind Publications)
  • Young Adult Winner: Countdown by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic)

For more information on the SIBA Book Awards please visit

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It’s a southern story. . .

“It’s a Countdown, a reckoning, to a future that isBurning Bright,” he said.Pete the CatisChecking Outall theAngles of Approach.” We nodded, obediently.  Dave the PotterisLeaving Gees BendwithZora and Mefor some timeOn Folly Beachand you just have to listen when he gets like this. It’s beenBlueberry Yearssince we’ve been there. “You won’t find aMockingbirdLiving Above the Frost Line.,” he tells us. (Like we didn’t know that). “Don’t build yourHouse of Branches, andDon't Quit Your Day Job,” he calls out as he leaves, yelling over his shoulder “RememberThe Fall of the House of Zeus!” (Zeus lived down the road and never could hammer a nail straight.) “But Dave, I hollered after him, “Will Jesus Buy me a Double-Wide?

“You think a doublewide will beSaving Cee Cee Honeycutt?” he roared back. “You think that’sBloodrootshe picked toEat Your Yard?” There wasThe Food, Folklore and Art of Lowcountry Cookingand Lowcountry preaching, we all knew. T’were like the Crooked Letter, Crooked Letters onThe Circus Poemswrit up on the billboards along Route 54. Dave’s an artist. “Creative is a Verb,” he tells us and then adds, “it’sSouthern My Way.” So it is.

(Columbia, SC)—The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2011 SIBA Book Awards. These are the books from last year that Southern Indie Booksellers especially loved, the ones they most enjoyed putting into the hands of their customers with the earnest, heartfelt and ever hopeful words “You’ve got to read this.”

Twenty-four titles were chosen by bookseller vote out of a nominee list of over 100 books, in the categories of Children’s, Young Adult, Poetry, Nonfiction, Fiction, and Cooking. The finalists represent what Southern Indie Booksellers feel to be the best in southern literature of the year. And let’s face it—they are the people who would know!

The SIBA Book Awards were created, not just to recognize great Southern books, but to give southern readers an enviable list of books to enjoy, read, buy, and give as gifts.  As of this time, the SIBA Book Award remains one of the most far-reaching and high-profile awards for Southern literature.

Finalists will be judged by a jury of SIBA booksellers. Winners will be announced in July during the week of Independence Day.  In September, in Charleston, SC at the annual SIBA Trade Show, the winners and finalists will be recognized at a special Wacky, Wordy, Wedding version of our popular Writers’ Block Auction. That’s right—SIBA wants booksellers and authors to get hitched, and what more beautiful place to do so than Charleston? The Writers’ Block Auction raises money to promote the Awards and raise awareness of the importance of independent booksellers to the literary community.
For more information, visit

2011 Finalists:


Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (Puffin Books)
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
by Eric Litwin and James Dean (Harper)

Young Adult

Countdown by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic)
Leaving Gees Bend by Irene Latham (Putnam)
Zora and Me by Victoria Bond & TR Simon (Candlewick)


The Blueberry Years by Jim Minick (Thomas Dunne Books)
Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh (Skirt!)
Don't Quit Your Day Job by Sonny Brewer (MP Publishing)
The Fall of the House of Zeus
by Curtis Wilkes (Crown)
Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide? by
Karen Zacharias (Zondervan)


Bloodroot by Amy Greene (Vintage Books)
Burning Bright
by Ron Rash (Ecco Press)
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
by Tom Franklin (William Morrow)
On Folly Beach by Karen White (New American Library)
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
by Beth Hoffman (Penguin)


Angles of Approach by Holly Iglesias (White Pine Press)
Checking Out by Tim Peeler (Hub City Press)
The Circus Poems by Alex Grant (Lorimer Press)
House of Branches by Janisse Ray (Wind Publications)
Living Above the Frost Line by Nancy Simpson (Carolina Wren Press)


Eat Your Yard by Nan Chase (Gibbs Smith Publishers)
The Food, Folklore, and Art of Lowcountry Cooking
by Joseph Earl Dabney (Cumberland House Publishing)
Southern My Way by Gena Knox (Gena Knox Media, LLC)