News

2018 Conroy Legacy Award Winner: Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander(Columbia, SC) Kwame Alexander, the Virginia-based poet, educator, and New York Times bestselling author, has been selected as the first recipient of the Conroy Legacy Award.

Created in honor of the example set by the beloved Southern author Pat Conroy, the Conroy Legacy Award was established in 2017 to recognize writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community, demonstrating support for independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general, writing that focuses significantly on their home place, and support of other writers, especially new and emerging authors.

"I met Pat once," said Alexander on being informed of his selection, "He was witty, connected, caring, and a brilliant storyteller–as much in person as he was on the page. He was all the things a writer should want to be. All the things I've wanted to be. I am filled with wonderment and humbled deeply to be honored in his remembrance."

Kwame Alexander was chosen to be the first Conroy Legacy Award winner by a jury of Southern independent booksellers. Alexander is the author of 24 books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Kwame writes for children of all ages and believes poetry can change the world.

"Kwame Alexander is at the forefront when it comes to mentoring the next generation of writers, not just in the US but worldwide," says Hillary Barrineau, of Hooray 4 Books in Alexandria, Virginia. "He won a Newbery Award [2015], which means not only The Crossover but also many of his other 23 books [essays, collections, poetry, and novels] are in every school and library in the US. Notably, they are set in Virginia, where he was born and raised, but clearly resonate with readers everywhere."

"When he visits schools across the country," she continued, "he makes a point of coordinating when possible with the local indie bookstores to provide the books at his events. The year he won the Newbery, he attended our bookstore's "Grand Expansion Party," driving here directly from his daughter's wedding earlier that day." 

Alexander also spearheads the Page to Stage Writing Workshop, which has created more than 3,000 student authors in nearly 70 schools in the US, Canada, and Caribbean, and he recently led a delegation of 20 writers and activists to Ghana, where they built and stocked a library and trained 300 teachers to promote literacy in that country.
"We are thrilled to have Kwame Alexander as our first Conroy Legacy Award recipient," said SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell. "He is exactly the kind of writer the award seeks to honor. Our booksellers love his books, his support of independent bookstores is well known, his commitment to his own community and to fostering a love of writing and literature–especially among young people–is legendary. I think Pat Conroy would be very pleased."

Both a donation to the Pat Conroy Literary Center and a donation to a literary entity close to the heart of the writer will be made in the name of the Legacy Award recipient.

Some Books by Kwame Alexander
Solo (2017)
Booked (2016)
Surf's Up (2016)
The Crossover: A Novel (2014)
Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Honor, NCTE Charlotte Huck Award Honor, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, Passaic Poetry Prize
He Said, She Said: A Novel (2013)
Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band (2011)
NAACP Image Award Nominee
Indigo Blume and the Garden City (2010)
NAACP Image Award Nominee
And Then You Know: New and Selected Poems (2008)
An American Poem (2008)
Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones, ed. (2007)
Crush: Love Poems (2007)
The Way I Walk: short stories and poems for Young Adults, ed. (2006)
Dancing Naked on the Floor: poems and essays (2005)

 

Celebrate Independents!  Announcing the 2017 Southern Book Prize Winners

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 2017 Southern Book Prize

Formerly the "SIBA Book Award," the newly Southern Book Prize features an expanded list of categories, inspired by the tastes and inclinations of Southern readers. 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" moments 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.

2017 Southern Book Prize Winners

FICTION

Commonwealth A Lowcountry Christmas Chasing the North Star

Coming of Age

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (Harper, 9780062491794)

Family Life
A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books, 9781501125539)

Historical
Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan (Algonquin Books, 9781565126275)

Over the Plain Houses The Kept Woman The Whole Town's Talking Redemption Road

Literary
Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks (Hub City Press, 9781938235214)
 
Mystery & Detective
The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow & Company, 9780062430212)

Southern Stories & Stories by Southerners
The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg (Random House, 9781400065950)

Thriller
Redemption Road by John Hart (Thomas Dunne Books, 9780312380366)

Lily and Dunkin

JUVENILE
Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (Delacorte Press, 9780553536744) 

NONFICTION

The Home Place Deep Run Roots Hillbilly Elegy

Biography, Autobiography, & Memoir
The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature by J Drew Lanham (Milkweed, 9781571313157) 

Cooking
Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South by Vivian Howard (Little Brown and Company, 9780316381109)

Creative Nonfiction
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J D Vance (Harper, 9780062300546)

For more information about the Southern Book Prize, visit
http://www.authorsroundthesouth.com/read-this/siba-book-awards

The 2017 Summer Okra Picks have been selected: a flavor-filled collection of new Southern books hand-picked by Southern indie booksellers–people with impeccable taste in books... 

All Summer Okra picks have a strong Southern focus and publish between July and September, and all have fans among Southern indie booksellers: the people who are always looking out for the next great writer to fill your reading plate. So the next time you visit your local Southern indie bookstore and someone says, "You've got to read this!" and hands you one of these tasty titles, dig in and ask for a second helping. Great books are always good for you!

The Devil's Muse by Bill LoehfelmThe Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan HenryThe Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

The Devil's Muse by Bill Loehfelm
Sarah Crichton Books, Hardcover, 9780374279776, 272pp.
Publication Date: July 11, 2017

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry
Berkley Books, Paperback, 9780399583117, 352pp.
Publication Date: July 11, 2017

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780062105714, 352pp.
Publication Date: July 11, 2017

Refugee by Alan GratzShadow of the Lions by Christopher SwannBlight by Alexandra Duncan

Refugee by Alan Gratz
Scholastic Press, Hardcover, 9780545880831, 352pp.
Publication Date: July 25, 2017

Shadow of the Lions by Christopher Swann
Algonquin Books, Hardcover, 9781616205003, 368pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Blight by Alexandra Duncan
Greenwillow Books, Hardcover, 9780062396990, 400pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2017

If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah WeissA Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson SextonYoung Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss
Sourcebooks, Paperback, 9781492647454, 320pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2017

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
Counterpoint LLC, Hardcover, 9781619029224, 256pp.
Publication Date: August 15, 2017

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
Algonquin Books, Hardcover, 9781616205041, 320pp.
Publication Date: August 22, 2017

Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat by Patricia WilliamsThe Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren WangSing , Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn WardThe Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones

Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat by Patricia Williams
Dey Street Books, Hardcover, 9780062407306, 240pp.
Publication Date: August 22, 2017

The Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren Wang
Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9781250122353, 320pp.
Publication Date: August 29, 2017

Sing , Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781501126062, 304pp.
Publication Date: September 5, 2017

The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones
G.P. Putnam's Sons, Hardcover, 9780735214316, 400pp.
Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Exciting Changes at SIBA!: SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell heads west and Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe’s General Manager Linda-Marie Barrett joins SIBA as Assistant Executive Director.

Wanda JewellSIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell will relocate in 2018 to San Francisco, Ca. to be near family. She wants to spend time with her granddaughter and “any future grands to come!” Of her decision to relocate out of the territory, she writes, “I believe this will be good for SIBA. I’ll have access to a whole new culture of bookselling. I’ll research new products, concepts, and ideas at work and bring them to SIBA booksellers. I’m investigating the possibility of sharing resources with NCIBA, as well as contacting new vendors.” Even after she relocates, Jewell will keep east coast hours to be available to SIBA members. “As my signature says, call anytime for any reason!”

Linda-Marie BarrettAs part of the transition, Linda-Marie Barrett, longtime General Manager and former co-owner of Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, NC leaves Malaprop’s to join SIBA as Assistant Executive Director. Her initial focus will be as a Rep on the Road Liaison to SIBA booksellers, expanding on outreach she’d already begun as a SIBA Board member. She will accelerate participation in SIBA’s Frindies (Author Friends) program, and be the east coast SIBA representative beginning in early 2018. “Malaprop’s has been my heart for almost 29 years, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to work with Wanda Jewell, someone I admire tremendously. Traveling the territory, meeting indie booksellers, and exploring what’s working and what needs attention is a perfect match for my passion to build connections, find solutions, and offer practical assistance. I’m so looking forward to getting started!”

Barrett resigned her position on the SIBA Board at their last board meeting on May 30. She officially stepped into the position of SIBA Assistant Executive Director on June 5, and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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The votes are in! Southern indie booksellers have chosen the finalists for Southern Book Prize. Formerly known as the SIBA Book Award, the Southern Book Prize features an expanded list of categories – including seven different fiction and three nonfiction categories. Finalists were chosen by Southern independent booksellers from the long list ballot. The finalist titles will be sent to juried panels of booksellers, who will then decide on the winners in each category. Winners will be announced on July 4, “Independents Day.”

2017 Southern Book Prize Finalists

FICTION

Commonwealth  Lies and Other Acts of Love  LOng Way Gone  The Serpent King

Coming of Age
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (Harper, 9780062491794)
Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey (Berkley Books, 9781101987063) 
Long Way Gone by Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson, 9780718084714)
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (Crown Books for Young Readers, 9780553524024)

Glight Patterns  A Lowcountry Christmas  The Risen

Family Life
Flight Patterns by Karen White (Berkley Books, 9780451470911)
A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books, 9781501125539)
The Risen by Ron Rash (Ecco, 9780062436313)

Chasing the North Star  Forsaken  Glory Over Everything

Historical
Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan (Algonquin Books, 9781565126275)
Forsaken by Ross Howell Jr (NewSouth Books, 9781588383174)
Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (Simon & Schuster, 9781476748443)

Fallen Land  Miss Jane  Over the Plain Houses  Perfume River

Literary
Fallen Land by Taylor Brown (St. Martin's Press, 9781250077974)
Miss Jane by Brad Watson (W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393241730)
Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks (Hub City Press, 9781938235214) 
Perfume River by Robert Olen Butler (Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802125750)

The Kept Woman  Lowcountry Book Club  Miss Julia Inherits a Mess  Prayers the Devil Answers

Mystery & Detective
The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow & Company, 9780062430212)
Lowcountry Book Club by Susan M Boyer (HeneryPress, 9781635110456)
Miss Julia Inherits a Mess by Ann B Ross (Viking, 9780525427124)
Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Atria Books, 9781476772813)

Feathered Bone  A Lowcountry Wedding  Monsters in Appalachia  
Ninety-Nine Stories of God The Weekenders  The Whole Town's Talking

Southern Stories & Stories by Southerners
The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell (Thomas Nelson, 9780718037628)
A Lowcountry Wedding by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books, 9781501125430)
Monsters in Appalachia: Stories by Sheryl Monks (West Virginia University Press, 9781943665396) 
Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams (Tin House Books, 9781941040355)
The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin's Press, 9781250065940)
The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg (Random House, 9781400065950)

Darktown  Redemption Road  Underground Airlines  The Whistler

Thriller
Darktown by Thomas Mullen (Atria Books, 9781501133862) 
Redemption Road by John Hart (Thomas Dunne Books, 9780312380366)
Underground Airlines by Ben H Winters (Mulholland Books, 9780316261241)
The Whistler by John Grisham (Doubleday Books, 9780385541190)

JUVENILE

Gertie's Leap to Greatness  Lily and Dunkin  Raymie Nightingale  
The Secret Keepers  Serafina and the Twisted Staff
Gertie's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley; Jillian Tamaki (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374302610)
Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (Delacorte Press, 9780553536744) 
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, 9780763681173)
The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart ; Diana Sudyka (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316389556)
Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty (Disney-Hyperion, 9781484775035)

NONFICTION

Dimestore  The Gatekeeper  The Home Place  My Father, the Pornographer

Biography, Autobiography, & Memoir
Dimestore: A Writer's Life by Lee Smith (Algonquin Books, 9781616205027)
The Gatekeeper: Missy Lehand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency by Kathryn Smith (Touchstone, 9781501114960)
The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature by J Drew Lanham (Milkweed, 9781571313157) 
My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir by Chris Offutt (Atria Books, 9781501112461)

Deep Run Roots  Mungry is a Mighty Fine Sauce  Victuals

Cooking
Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South by Vivian Howard (Little Brown and Company, 9780316381109)
Hungry Is a Mighty Fine Sauce Cookbook: Recipes and Ramblings from the Belle of All Things Southern by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson (Shiloh Run Press, 9781634097826)
Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes by Ronni Lundy; Johnny Autry (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 9780804186742)

The Fire This Time  Hillbilly Elegy  A Lowcountry Heart
Poems  Truevine

Creative Nonfiction
The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race by Jesmyn Ward (Scribner Book Company, 9781501126345)
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J D Vance (Harper, 9780062300546)
A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life by Pat Conroy (Nan A. Talese, 9780385530866)
Poems: New and Selected by Ron Rash (Ecco Press, 9780062435507)  
Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother's Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South by Beth Macy (Little Brown and Company, 9780316337540)