okra picksColumbia, SC -- Fall is upon us, which means that it is time to pick some Okra! The Fall 2014 Okra Picks have just been announced--the best southern lit, fresh off the vine.  All the chosen books have a strong Southern focus and are published between October and December, 2014, and all of them have fans among Southern indie booksellers; people who are always looking out for the next great writer who should be on your plate and in your TBR stack.  So it is very likely the next time you visit your local Southern indie bookstore, someone will hand you one and say, “You’ve got to read this!”

The 2014 Fall Okra Picks

Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia by Fiona Ritchie  
9781469618227 | University of North Carolina Press 10/1/2014 | 39.95

Each Shining Hour: A Novel of Watervalley by Jeff High
9780451419279 | New American Library | 10/07/2014 |15.00

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain  
9781250010711 | St. Martin's Press 10/07/2014 | 26.99

Sister Golden Hair by Darcey Steinke  
9781935639947 | Tin House Books 10/14/2014 | 15.95

Heritage by Sean Brock  
9781579654634 | Artisan Publishers 10/21/2014 | 40.00

Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story by Rick Bragg
9780062078223 | Harper 10/28/2014 | 27.99

Compulsion by Martina Boone
9781481411226 | Simon Pulse 10/28/2014 | 17.99

Risky Undertaking: A Buryin' Barry Mystery by Mark de Castrique  
9781464203084 | Poisoned Pen Press 11/04/2014 | 14.95

Citizens Creek by Lalita Tademy  
9781476753034 | Atria Books 11/04/2014 | 26.00

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
9780316405058 | Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 11/04/2014 | 18.00

In the Heart of the Dark Wood by Billy Coffey
9781401690090 Thomas Nelson 11/11/2014 | 15.99

Wink of an Eye: A Mystery by Lynn Chandler Willis  
9781250053190 | Minotaur Books 11/18/2014 | 24.99







Okra Picks are chosen every season by Southern Independent Bookstores. For more information visit

SIBA is pleased to announce the addition of two new board members to the SIBA Board whose terms begin in 2015: Linda Barrett, with Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café in Asheville, NC, and Erica Merrell, of Wild Iris Books in Gainesville, FL  Sadly, Erica Merrell will not be able to join us at our upcoming trade show Norfolk but Linda Barrett and our current board members will be on hand starting with the Industry Breakfast where Linda and Erica will be welcomed to the board.  SIBA appreciates the support of every core member is pleased with the boards’ continued ardent representation of her members.  Join us in welcoming Linda & Erica.

Linda Barrett

Linda Marie Barrett is the General Manager of Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café in Asheville, NC, where she has worked since 1988. She began bookselling at Malaprop’s shortly after completing her MA in Russian Literature and Slavic Linguistics from Cornell University. Linda Marie is a member of the American Booksellers Association’s Booksellers Advisory Council and has assisted the ABA on a number of advocacy and marketing initiatives and forums.

Linda Marie edited and contributed a chapter to the collaborative serial novel, Naked Came the Leaf Peeper, published by Burning Bush Press of Asheville, the publishing imprint of Malaprop's. She is currently working with author Alan Gratz on two more projects--a prequel chapter as part of a promotional offer to buyers of Alan's forthcoming League of Seven novel (TOR) and a serial novel by regional YA/middle grade authors to be published in 2015.

Erica Merrell

Once upon a time in a land far, far away – or actually in the late 70’s in Connecticut, a baby girl was born. When she was still a wee little babe, her parents planted the love of books deep inside her heart. They showered this seed with bedtime stories and visits to the bookmobile and it would live inside of her for all of her days to come.

She also grew to love travel and after living in five states by the time she was 18, she would become flexible around all kinds of people, and exploration would became vital to her existence. At the turn of the century, she would begin her work with Borders Books in Miami and would only leave them to chase her one true love. She also found herself drawn to the world of non-profit service and would wield her powers for good against the modern day dragons of oppression and inequality. She has taken seats at numerous round tables including Planned Parenthood of North Florida, City of Gainesville Equal Opportunity Board, Gainesville Area National Organization for Women, Gainesville Commission on the Status of Women, and others.

One day in 2004 she would stumble across Wild Iris Books in Gainesville, FL, a feminist bookstore that matched her fire and she would grow with their roots until she became co-owner in 2009. Finally she would create a home that combined all of her loves and allowed her to flourish as a mentor to young people, a champion of the underdog, and voice for the silenced. She is currently living out her happily ever after with her husband and their cat.

Linda Barrett and Erica Merrell join board members Jamie Fiocco, Jill Hendrix, and Doug Robinson. Stepping down are Tom Lowenburg of Octavia Books in New Orleans, and Jeff McCord of Bound to be Read Books in Atlanta. We appreciate the hard work of Tom Lowenburg and Jeff McCord.  SIBA will offer two frontline scholarships to #SIBA15, The Tom Lowenburg Scholarship and The Jeff McCord Scholarship.  Thank them for their service when you see then in Norfolk!

siba14 Discovery Show, Sept 19-21, Norfolk, VASIBA is pleased to announce that Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch will be joining James Patterson at the "Thanksgiving for James Patterson" Lunch on Saturday, September 20 at the SIBA Discovery Show in Norfolk, Virginia

The event, which features a full "Thanksgiving Dinner," was originally conceived as a way to thank James Patterson for his support of independent bookstores over the past year with his "Bookseller Pledge" to give $1,000,000 dollars in grants to independent stores in recognition of their unique and critical role in the book industry, the literary community, and to book lovers in general.

James Patterson"It was an amazing statement of commitment," said SIBA Executive Directory Wanda Jewell, who noted that a number of stores in the South had already benefited from Patterson's grant program--receiving money to fund everything from new carpeting in their children's sections to a school bus destined to become a bookmobile. "We wanted to express our gratitude for his support, and most of all for his acknowledgment of how important independent bookstores are to anyone who loves books."

That commitment to a wide variety of choice in the book industry received extra attention recently when negotiations between Hachette Book Group and broke down, resulting in Amazon delaying the shipment of many Hachette titles, including those by James Patterson. Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch has been at the forefront of this difficult battle.

Michael PietschJewell invited Pietsch to join in the "Thanksgiving Dinner" along with James Patterson. "I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for our booksellers," she said. "Struggles between New York publishers and giant online retailers can seem very far away to the small town bookstore, but in the end, whether it is standing up for your business in a corporate boardroom or standing up for your shop at your local city council meeting, we are all passionate about the chance to bring new voices into print...we all love books and want the industry to stay vibrant and healthy."

For more information about the upcoming SIBA Discovery Show, visit

siba14 Discovery Show, Sept 19-21, Norfolk, VAThe SIBA Discovery Show Kicks Off to a great start with the confirmation of Beth Macy and John Bassett III as part of the show's "Kick Off Lunch" line up. Macy, an award-winning reporter who's new book, Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town (Little, Brown and Company) has become a national bestseller and a rallying cry for the shop local movement, will be accompanied by John Bassett III, the "factory man" of Macy's book, a scrappy Virginia-based furniture-maker who took on China in his determination to keep his factory open and his workers employed.

Beth MacyMacy and Bassett will be joined by S.C. Gwynne, author of Rebel Yell (Scribner)-- the much anticipated new biography of Stonewall Jackson, and Scott Westerfeld, Locus Award-winning author of Afterworlds (Simon Pulse), a smart and strange young adult novel about death and publishing, and about which Cory Doctorow says, "Westerfeld [is] in full command of a prodigious talent, doing something complicated and difficult and making it look easy, even as it grabs you and drags you through its dark streets, laughing and crying."

"I'm very excited about this group of presenters," said SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell, who notes that 2014 has been the year of the indie. Factory Man has been an important book in the South and we're thrilled to be able to bring Beth Macy and John Bassett III to our booksellers."

John Bassett III"If ever there was a group that epitomized the independence of the independents," she added, "this is it!"

The SIBA Discovery Show takes place at the Shareton Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia, September 19-21. For more information, visit

One Book One South(Columbia, SC)---The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) has selected Citizens Creek by Lalita Tademy (Atria Books) to be its “One Book, One SIBA” read at the SIBA Fall Discovery Show being held in Norfolk, Virgina, September 19 – 21. As the chosen title for the “show-wide book club,” every attendee at the Discovery Show will receive a copy of the book, and Lalita Tademy will be one of the featured speakers in the program.

SIBA launched “One Book One SIBA” at its show in New Orleans in 2013 with the selection of Sheri Fink’s Five Days at Memorial. The book’s subsequent success, including a steady appearance on the Southern Independent Bestseller List and culminating in being named the winner of 2014 SIBA Book Award for Nonfiction, convinced SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell that “One Book One SIBA” could be a powerful way to break out a book and demonstrate the influence of southern independent booksellers when they come together to support a title. So for 2014 SIBA is expanding “One Book One SIBA” into “One Book One South.” The expanded program will reach out not only to booksellers, but to consumer and fans of southern literature, and will include author interviews, online live spree casts, and social networking coverage.

Citizens Creek Jewell stated that SIBA went through careful deliberation before selecting Citizens Creek to be the focus of the South-wide book club. “We wanted to pick a book that had a broad appeal and could attract many kinds of readers, that had a strong Southern focus, that was very well written, and that could generate a good discussion,” said Jewell, who admitted that when she received a review copy of the book, she read it straight through in a single day. “I had a ton of work to do and I had to just blow it all off so I could finish the book,” she admitted, “I didn’t even answer my email!”  She felt Citizens Creek was a book and author that every SIBA bookstore could enthusiastically support. She also praised Atria Books for their commitment to partnering with independent bookstores to raise awareness of the book across the South, including an hour-long public Q&A with the author on Facebook on November 20, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.

Lalita Tademy

Citizens Creek, which will be published by Atria Books on November 4, 2014, is the story of a once-enslaved man who is able to buy his freedom after serving as a translator during the American Indian Wars. His story, and the story of his granddaughter who inherits his legacy, sheds light on an often-overlooked period of American history, and explores issues of identity, community, and family in a powerful, moving way.

Lalita Tademy is a familiar name to people who love Southern literature. Her first novel, Cane River, was chosen as the 2001 Oprah Summer Book Club selection and the sequel, Red River, received widespread critical acclaim.

For more information about One Book One SIBA and One Book One South, contact Wanda Jewell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.