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.

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 2010 Book Award Winners; A Southern Explosion of Works


Southern indie booksellers have chosen a stellar collection of titles for the 2010 SIBA Book Awards.  After a furious round of voting, the finalists skyrocketed out of the long list into the hands of the judges, and today the winners break out.

The Secret World of Walter AndersonChildren’s Winner: The Secret World of Walter Anderson by Hester Bass (Candlewick Press)

The Secret World of Walter Anderson was brought to the attention of booksellers in the first batch of Okra Picks and quickly found its way to the Southern Indie Bestseller List h becoming a favorite among booksellers and readers throughout the south.  Enter the fascinating world of reclusive nature-lover Walter Anderson — perhaps the most famous American artist you've never heard of.  In this beautifully crafted picture book biography, writer Hester Bass and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis pay homage to an uncompromising American artist.

The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh SouthernCooking Winner: The Lee Brothers Simple Fresh Southern by Ted and Matt Lee (Clarkson Potter)

The Lee Brothers Simple Fresh Southern was brought to the attention of booksellers in the south at the annual trade show of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance in Greenville, SC, last year.  Long a favorite of southern indie booksellers, the Lee Brothers have delivered the goods again.  From Bobby Flay: “These guys can cook! Just reading the recipes makes me ravenous for scintillating Southern dishes. Sign me up for Tuesday Fried Chicken and Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie!”  Siblings Matt & Ted Lee are homegrown and this cookbook proves it.

The HelpFiction Winner: The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Amy Einhorn Books)

The Help has spent 35 weeks on the Southern Indie Bestseller List and is still there now.  No southern bookseller is surprised to see this book take the winning fiction spot in the 2010 SIBA Book Awards.  But did you know that The Help is soon to be a major motion picture coming from DreamWorks?  And dream work describes this book.  Reading groups have embraced this book as have Citadel graduates.  The “terrible awful” is waiting for Kathryn Stockett to write us another southern story.

The Most They Ever HadNonfiction Winner: The Most They Ever Had by Rick Bragg (Macadam Cage)

The Most They Ever Had joins Somebody Told Me, Ava’s Man, and The Prince of Frogtown; all books by Rick Bragg and all winners of the SIBA Book Award.  Southern booksellers and readers cannot get enough Rick Bragg.  These nine stories, written to carry readers across space and time to the mill town of Anniston, AL, over a one hundred year span, will capture readers and booksellers alike.  SIBA and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Bragg again gives a voice to people who never even knew they had anything worth hearing.

rick bragg offer

The Winners!

Children's: The Secret World of Walter Anderson by Hester Bass (Candlewick)
Cooking: The Lee Brothers Simple Fresh Southern by Ted and Matt Lee (Clarkson Potter)
Fiction: The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Putnam)
Nonfiction: The Most They Ever Had by Rick Bragg, (Macadam Cage)

It’s a southern story. . .

He was known as Eli the Good, but he still had to Shiver when he saw The Secret World of Walter Anderson. “Scat!” he shooed the strange-looking cat, “A Good Mule is Hard to Find and there’s Hard Work to be done In The Sanctuary of Outcasts.”  It was The Most They Ever Had, but hey, You Can’t Drink All Day if You Don’t Start in the Morning. And Zeitoun always had A Quiet Belief in Angels to Help him resist that Devil’s Punchbowl. He was The Last Child to carry that Dead Weight down to the South of Broad, because The Lee Brothers might be Simple, Fresh Southern, but the Southern Farmer’s Market only made him dream more often of My New Orleans.

(Columbia, SC)—The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2010 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 words “You’ve got to read this.”

Nineteen titles were chosen by bookseller vote out of a nominee list of over 100 books, in the categories of Children’s/YA, 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 Southernliterature.

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 Daytona, 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.

For more information, visit

2010 Finalists:

STARS - A STARS Author | Okra Pick! - A SIBA Okra Pick

Children’s & Young Adults

Eli the Good by Silas House (Candlewick)STARS
Scat by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf)
Secret World of Walter Ander son by Hester Bass (Candlewick)STARS Okra Pick!
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic)STARS


A Good Mule is Hard to Find by Kirk Neely (Hub City Writers Project)STARS
Hard Work by Roy Williams (Algonquin)
In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White (Morrow)STARS
Most They Ever Had by Rick Bragg (Macadam/Cage)
You Can't Drink All Day if You Don't Start in the Morning by Celia Rivenbark (St. Martins)
Zeitoun by David Eggers (McSweenys)


A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory (Overlook)
Dead Weight by Batt Humphreys (Joggling Board Press)STARS
Devil's Punchbowl by Greg  Iles (Scribner)
The Help by Katheryn Stockett (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam)
The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur)
South of Broad by Pat Conroy (Nan Talese)


The Lee Brothers Simple Fresh Southern by Ted and Matt Lee (Clarkson Potter)
Southern Farmer's Market Cookbook by Holly Herrick (Gibbs Smith)
My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh (Andrews McMeel)