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!


SIBA Book AwardAnnouncing the 2012 SIBA Book Award Long List

(Columbia, SC)—The Long List for the 2012 SIBA Book Award has just been released by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. Totaling almost 120 different titles, the “Long List” includes every eligible title nominated for the award—representing the bookseller and reader favorites of 2011 in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, children’s, young adult and cooking categories. From Lisa Alther to Erica Wright, Mary Kay Andrews to Daniel Woodrell, the Long List is the ultimate southern reading list from the people who would know—southern indie booksellers.

See the full list of titles here:

In the following months SIBA Booksellers will vote on finalists in each category, and the final winners will be picked by a jury of SIBA booksellers. Winners will be announced in July the week of Independence Day. In September, in Naples, FL, at the annual SIBA Trade Show, the winners and finalists will be recognized during the popular Writers’ Block Auction which raises money to promote the Awards and raise awareness of the importance of independent booksellers to the literary community.

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. To be eligible for the SIBA Book Award, nominated books must 1) be southern in nature or by an southern author (preferably both!), 2) have been published the previous year, and 3) have been nominated by a SIBA-member bookstore or one of their customers.

Now is the time to revisit your to-be-read stack. The odds are, some of the books in the list below are waiting for you there!
For more information, visit

The 2012 Long List:


Always Neverland by Zoe Barton (Harpercollins)
Animalogy by Marianne Berkes (Sylvan Dell) 
Bigger than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder (Random House)
Jelly Bean Finds her Special Place by Jane Edwards (Lewis Color, Inc.)
Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond by Mary Quattlebaum (Dawn Publications) 
Liddil Gets Her Light by Tracey Cox (Guardian Angel Publishing)
Over in Australia by Marianne Berkes (Dawn Publications) 
Wake Up Man by Thomas Rain Crowe (Grateful Steps Publishing)
Which Side Are You On?: The Story of a Song by George Ella Lyon (Cinco Puntos Press)


A Southerly Course by Martha Foose (Clarkson Potter)
Basic to Brilliant Y'all by Virginia Willis (Ten Speed Press)
Irresistible History of Southern Food by Rick McDaniel (History Press)
New Southern Garden Cookbook by Sheri Castle (UNC Press)
New Southern Latino Table by Sandra Gutierrez (UNC Press)
Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree (Gibbs Smith)
The Happy Table of Eugene Walter: Southern Spirits in Food and Drink edited by Don Goodman & Thomas Head (UNC Press)
Well, Shut My Mouth! by Stephanie L. Tyson (John F. Blair)
Wildly Affordable Organic by Linda  Watson (Da Capo)


A Bitter Truth by Charles Todd (William Morrow)
A Passel of Hate by Joe Epley (CreateSpace)
Accidental Birds of the Carolinas by Marjorie  Hudson (Press 53)
The Art of Saying Goodbye by Ellyn Bache (Harpercollins)
At the End of the Road by Grant Jerkins (Berkley)
Atlanta: A Novella by Loreen Niewenhuis (Main Street Rag)
The Ballad of Tom Dooley by Sharyn  McCrumb (St. Martin's Press)
The Beach Trees
by Karen White (New American Library)
Blood Clay by Valerie Nieman (Press 53)
Butterfly's Child by Angela Davis-Gardner (Dial)
The Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books)
Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry (St. Martin's Press)
The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew (Kensington)
Echo by Dana Smith (19 Reasons)
Exposure by Therese Fowler (Ballantine)
The Family Fang
by Kevin Wilson (Ecco)
Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank (Harpercollins)
Fortune's Son by Emery Lee (SourceBooks)
Home Free by Fern Michaels (Zebra)
The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe (Tor)
The Inheritance of Beauty by Nicole Seitz (Thomas Nelson)
Iron House by John  Hart (St. Martin's Press)
Just The Thing To Be by Tracey Cox (Guardian Angel Publishing)
Late Edition by Fern Michaels (Kensington)
Leaving Lukens by Laura Wharton (Broad Creek Press)
Mercy Creek by Matt Matthews (Hub City Press)
The Mile Marker Murders by C. W.  Saari (Boutique of Quality Books)
Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle by Ann Ross (Penguin)
Naked Came the Leaf Peeper by Brian Lee Knopp et al (Burning Bush Press of Asheville)
Night Train by Clyde Edgerton (Little Brown)
Nightwoods by Charles Frazier (Random House)
Ninth Man by Brad Crowther (Ingalls Publishing Group)
Notes toward the Story and Other Stories by Corey Mesler (Aqueous Books)
Over in Australia by Marianne Berkes (Dawn Publications)
The Ocean Forest by Troy Nooe (Ingalls Publishing Group)
The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell (Little Brown)
Quickening by Liza Wieland (SMU Press)
Reign of Madness by Lynn Cullen (Putnam)
The Road to Hell is Seldom Seen by Cappy Hall Rearick (Createspace)
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn  Ward (Bloomsbury)
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston (Ecco)
Small Hotel by Robert Olen Butler (Grove)
Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams (Bantam)
Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White (New American Library)
Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin's Press)
Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart (Thomas Nelson)
Ten Beach Road by Wendy  Wax (Berkley)
Trust by Sean Keefer (Old Line Publishing)
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, There's A Body In The Car
by Fran Rizer (Bella Rosa Books)
Under the Mercy Trees by Heather Newton (Harper Perennial)
Under the Skin by Vicki Lane (Dell)
Washed in the Blood by Lisa Alther (Mercer U. Press)
The Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)
Where To Now? by Rod Rogers (IUniverse)


America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation by David Goldfield (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Dinner With Tennessee Williams by Troy Gilbert (Gibbs Smith)
From Here to Absurdity: pink flamingos, vibrators & other comical events by David Hunter (Oconee Spirit Press)
Gone With the Wind, A Bestseller's Odyssey by Ellen F. Brown  and John Wiley (Taylor Trade) 
Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman's Journey by David Joy (Bright Mountain Books)
It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine's Path to Peace by Rye Barcott (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Lions of the West by Robert Morgan (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)
My Paddle to the Sea by John  Lane (UGA Press)
The Poetry Company, a memoir by Joe Cobb Crawford (Emory Jones, LLC)
Praying for Strangers by River Jordan (Berkley)
Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves by Saundra Dalton-Smith (Revell)
Sue Ellen's Girl Ain't Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy: The Belle of All Things Southern Dishes on Men, Money, and Not Losing Your Midlife Mind by Shellie Tomlinson (Berkley)
Taking a Stand by Juan Mendez and Marjory Wentworth (Palgrave Macmillan)
The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak by Randy Fertel (U Press of MS)
Upheaval in Charleston by Susan Williams (UGA Press)
Wait Until Tomorrow by Pat MacEnulty (The Feminist Press)
Working South by Mary Whyte (USC Press)
You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl by Celia  Rivenbark (St. Martin's Griffin)


Abandoned Quarry by John Lane (Mercer U. Press)
Ascent by Doris Davenport (CreateSpace)
Copperhead by Rachel Richardson (Carnegie Mellon)
Crack Light by Thomas Rain Crowe (Wind Publishing)
Head Off & Split: Poems (2011) by Nikky Finney (NWU Press)
If This World Falls Apart by Lou Lipsitz (Lynx House Press)
Instructions for Killing the Jackal by Erica Wright (Black Lawrence Press)
Nineteen Visions of Christmas by Sally Buckner (Main Street Rag)
Presence by Scott Wiggerman (Pecan Grove)
Seriously Dangerous by Helen Losse (Main Street Rag)
She Hands Me the Razor by Richard Krawiec (Press 53)
Southern Fictions by Kathryn Stripling Byer (Jacar Press)
Talking about Movies with Jesus by David Kirby (LSU Press)
Terroir by Robert Morgan (Penguin)
Unaccountable Weather by Kathryn Kirkpatrick (Press 53)
Waking by Ron Rash (Hub City Press)
Weaving a New Eden by Sherry Chandler (Wind Publications)

Young Adult

Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley ( Waterbrook)
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan (Delacorte)
Darwen  Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact by A.J. Hartley (Razor Bill)
Dead Rules by Randy Russell (Harper Teen)
Magnolia League by Katie Crouch (Poppy Books)
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (Hyperion)
Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard (Delacorte)
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Simon and Schuster)
Second Time's A Charm by Mary Flinn (Aviva)