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 2016, the SIBA Book Award became The Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize 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.

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 Pat Conroy 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 16-18 in Savannah, Georgia. 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!


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

The Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize(Columbia, SC) Southern indie booksellers once again demonstrate their independence of mind by choosing an excitingly eclectic collection of books for the 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize.

"What a delicious gumbo of literary works--salty, spicy, bittersweet, and sour. I loved all of these books for the sole reason that they tell the world in colorful, rich and diverse language just what it so special and, yes, crazy about the American South." – Hub City Bookshop, Spartanburg, SC

Formerly the “SIBA Book Award,” the newly reborn Pat Conroy 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. The nine winners chosen from a field of nearly forty finalists. Together, they represent the best of Southern literature, from the people who would know—Southern indie booksellers.

My Sunshine Away Above the Waterfall Bull Mountain The Bone Tree
Soul Food Love Dispatches from Pluto Jacksonland
Serafina and the Black Cloak

The Great Santini Fiction Prize Winner: 
My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

“This debut author spins a tale that will grab you from the first page and keep you turning pages until the last.”– Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

The Prince of Tides Literary Prize Winner: 
Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash (Ecco Press)

“Beautiful language, I could not put this book down.  Read it in one day.” – Garden District Bookshop, New Orleans, LA

The Beach Music Mystery Prize Winner: 
Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

“ Reads like a twisty, dark TV series you can't help but binge-watch.” – Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

The Lords of Discipline Thriller Prize Winner: 
The Bone Tree by Greg Isles (William Morrow & Company)

“Iles has written an intense, tightly plotted narrative with more than one shocking turn of events that will have readers racing to finish, but then pining away for the third installment of this massive and electrifying trilogy.” – Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Pat Conroy Cookbook Prize Winner: 
Soul Food Love by Alice Randall (Clarkson Potter Publishers)

I really appreciate the goal of this cookbook - to make Soul food quick, inexpensive, tasty and healthy! The family history part of the cookbook was very interesting and I appreciated the honesty of the authors. I loved the pictures of the family & the finished product of the recipes.” – Joe’s Place, Greenville, SC

The Death of Santini NonFiction Prize Winner: 
Dispatches from Pluto by Richard Grant (Simon & Schuster)

"In Dispatches From Pluto, Richard Grant brings clarity, insight, and wit through his outsider's observations of a small and forgotten community in the Mississippi Delta. The situations he writes of and the people he comes to know as friends are brought warmly and enrichingly to life as he settles his family in a rotting and dilapidated plantation home in Pluto, Mississippi." – Pass  Books, Pass Christian, MS

The Water is Wide History & Life Stories Prize Winner: 
Jacksonland by Steve Inskeep (Penguin Press

“Great history! Loved the book, very well written”  – Books Unlimited, Franklin, NC

Poppy's Pants Young Adult Prize Winner: 
Mosquitoland by David Arnold (Viking Books for Young Readers)

“Mim's voice in this amazing amalgam of a love story, a road trip novel, and a coming-of-age story, will stay with you long after you finish .” – Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Poppy's Pants Youngster's Prize Winner: 
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty (Disney-Hyperion)

“A wonderfully thrilling mystery for young readers that is as much a celebration of being "different" as it is pitch-perfect creepiness.” – Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Nine great books for your Southern reading list. But remember that they come from a "gumbo of literary works--salty, spicy, bittersweet, and sour" to quote one Southern bookseller. To round out your literary diet, be sure to look at the full list of Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Finalists.

For more information on the SIBA Book Awards please visit SIBA’s website for Southern literature, http://www.authorsroundthesouth.com/read-this/siba-book-awards

Booksellers: The Pat Conroy 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 16-18 in Savannah, Georgia. 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!


(Columbia, SC) --The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) is paying tribute to one of the South’s most beloved writers by renaming the SIBA Book Awards. This has been in the works since the news of Conroy’s 70th birthday. SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell confirmed that the organization had been planning to update the Award to make it more reflective of the current Southern bookselling community. “We have long wanted a sexier more marketable name for our book awards, and nothing is sexier than Mr. Conroy!,” she noted, “So, at least for this year, along with other changes, we are delighted to bring this prize and long list to southern readers.”

“Pat Conroy has been a force for good in the world of southern books and literature and we want to acknowledge that,” Jewell added, “He has not just written some of our favorite books, he has been incredibly generous in his support of readers, of booksellers, and of other writers. The world of southern literature is a rich place today because of the encouragement he extends to new authors and the commitment he has always shown towards the southern literary community.” Southern bookstores can attest to Conroy’s dedication to their stores, as it is a regular occurrence for the author to show up at their doors with each new book, often signing copies for customers for hours and hours. On one now legendary occasion he signed books for eight hours straight, and the store arranged to have a masseuse on hand to help with writer’s cramp.  “Pat Conroy is a storemaker,” said Jewell, “a writer whose single visit can make the difference to a bookstore’s year end bottom line.”

Along with the new name, The Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize also has an expanded list of categories. “Our goal is to have the nominations drive the categories rather than forcing all nominations into a category they might not fit. Rather than being married to a certain set of categories like “fiction,” “nonfiction,” “children’s,” we can open the award up to new categories driven by the nominations,” explained Jewell. She noted that SIBA used the BISAC designations of nominated books to help determine the award categories for the year.  This year, ”Fiction” has been expanded into four categories, and “History & Life Stories” (including biography, autobiography and memoir) has been added to the nonfiction categories. Each category is named for one of Conroy’s works, or in the case of young people's literature, a book about Mr. Conroy.:

The Great Santini Fiction Prize
The Prince of Tides
Literary Prize
Beach Music
Mystery Prize
Lords of Discipline Thriller Prize
The Death of Santini
Nonfiction Prize
The Water is Wide History & Life Stories Prize
The Pat Conroy Cookbook
Poppy's Pants, Jr.
Youngsters Prize (Ages 0-9)
Poppy's Pants Young Adult Prize (Ages 10+)

“Over 140 great Southern books received nominations,” noted Jewell. “it’s a dream reading list.” All nominated books had to meet the Award criteria: they had to be Southern in nature, or by a Southern author, and had to have been published in 2015. All nominations had to come from a SIBA bookstore or from a SIBA store customer.

SIBA member booksellers will vote on the Long List over the month of March, and Finalists for each category in the 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize will be announced in April. From there, the finalists will be sent to a jury of booksellers in each category, who will then choose the winning book for their category. Winners will be announced on July 4, “Independents Day.”

For more information, visit sibaweb.com/siba-book-award or contact Wanda Jewell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Long List

The Great Santini Fiction Prize

A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin (Berkley Books, 9780425281994)
A Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax (Berkley Books, 9780425274477)
Affair & Honor by Batt Humphries (Yellow Dog Press, 9780692411865)
Aftermath Lounge by Margaret McMullan (Calypso Editions, 9780988790390)
All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank (William Morrow & Company, 9780062132567)
At the Corner of King Street by Mary Ellen Taylor (Berkley Books, 9780425278253)
Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin’s Press, 9781250065933)
Before I Go by Colleen Oakley (Gallery Books, 9781476761664)
The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright (Gallery Books, 9781501100765)
Come Rain or Shine by Jan Karon (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780399167454)
Dark Heir by Faith Hunter (Roc, 9780451465962)
Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey (Berkley Books, 9780425279984)
Fate Moreland's Widow by John Lane (University of South Carolina Press, 9781611174694)
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Harper, 9780062409850)
Juventud by Vanessa Blakeslee (Curbside Splendor Publishing, 9781940430584)
Lawyer for the Dog by Lee Robinson (Thomas Dunne Books, 9781250052414)
Long Black Curl by Alex Bledsoe (Tor Books, 9780765376541)
Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor (Penguin Books, 9780143126751)
Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League by Jonathan Odell (Maiden Lane Press, 9780525427094)
My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780399169526)
Point Blank by Fern Michaels (Kensington Publishing Corporation, 9781617734649)
Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain (St. Martin’s Press, 9781250010742)
The Sea Keeper's Daughters by Lisa Wingate (Tyndale House Publishers, 9781414386904)
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton (Grand Central Publishing, 9781455551927)
See Me by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central Publishing, 9781455520619)
Sisters of Shiloh by Kathy and Becky Hepinstall (Houghton Mifflin, 9780544400009)
Soil by Jamie Kornegay (Simon & Schuster, 9781476750811)
The Sound of Glass by Karen White (New American Library, 9780451470898)
The Summer's End by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books, 9781476709024)
This Side of the River by Jeffrey Stayton (Nautilus Publishing, 9781936946655)
Trampoline: An Illustrated Novel by Robert Gipe (Ohio University Press, 9780821421529)
Untying the Moon by Ellen Malphrus (Story River Books, 9781611176100)
Water from My Heart by Charles Martin (Center Street, 9781455554706)
Welcome to Serenity by Sherryl Woods (Mira Books, 9780778318637)
Whisper Hollow by Chris Cander (Other Press, 9781590517116)
Year of the Snake: 1989 by Sue Lile Inman (Fps, 9781934216231)

The Beach Music Mystery Prize

A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd (William Morrow & Company, 9780062386243)
Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar by Carol Heilman (Lighthouse Publishing, 9781941103265)
Bloody Royal Prints by Reba White Williams (Tyrus Books, 9781440585456)
Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780399173967)
The Cat, the Sneak and the Secret by Leann Sweeney (New American Library, 9780451415431)
Don't Go Home by Carolyn Hart (Berkley Books, 9780425276549)
Edisto Jinx by C. Hope Clark (Bell Bridge Books, 9781611946659)
The Evidence Room by Cameron Harvey (Minotaur Books, 9781250031150)
Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer (Henery Press, 9781941962473)
Lowcountry Bordello by Susan M. Boyer (Henery Press, 9781943390175)
Miss Julia Lays Down the Law by Ann B. Ross (Viking, 9780525427094)
Murder is on the Clock by Fran Rizer (Odyssey South Publishing, 9780692540336)
Time of Departure by Douglas Schofield (Minotaur Books, 9781250072757)

The Lords of Discipline Thriller Prize

The Bone Tree by Greg Iles (William Morrow & Company, 9780062311115)
Descent by Tim Johnston (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 9781616204778)
False Positive by Andrew Grant (Ballantine Books, 9780345540751)
Fragile Brilliance by Eliot Parker (Roundfire Books, 9781785350825)
The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780399174001)
The Jezebel Remedy by Martin Clark (Knopf Publishing Group, 9780385353595)
The Marauders by Tom Cooper (Broadway Books, 9780804140584)
The Redeemers by Ace Atkins (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780399173943)
Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham (Doubleday Books, 9780385539432)
The Scribe by Matthew Guinn (W.W. Norton & Company, 9780393239294)
Season of Fear by Brian Freeman (Quercus Books, 9781623654078)
Shark Skin Suite by Tim Dorsey (William Morrow & Company, 9780062240019)
Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs (Bantam, 9780345544049)
Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm (Viking, 9780525427506)
Where All the Light Tends to Go by David Joy (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780399172779)

The Prince of Tides Literary Prize

A Free State by Tom Piazza (Harper, 9780062284129)
Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash (Ecco Press, 9780062349316)
Calloustown by George Singleton (Dzanc Books, 9781938103162)
Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam (William Morrow & Company, 9780062325891)
Crash Bang Burn by Dawn K. Goodwin (Createspace, 9781514305171)
The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato by Kathy Giuffre (John F. Blair, Publisher, 9780895876515)
The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan (Soft Skull Press, 9781593766139)
The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall (Gallery Books, 9781476772141)
Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr. (Agate Bolden, 9781932841916)
Hall of Small Mammals: Stories by Thomas Pierce (Riverhead Books, 9781594632525)
Honey from the Lion by Matthew N. Null (Lookout Books, 9781940596082)
In Every Way by Nic Brown (Counterpoint LLC, 9781619024595)
The Last Days of Video by Jeremy Hawkins (Soft Skull Press, 9781619024854)
Memphis Movie by Corey Mesler (Soft Skull Press, 9781593766146)
Minnow by James E. McTeer III (Hub City Press, 9781938235115)
My Sweet Vidalia by Deborah Mantella (Turner, 9781630269623)
New and Improved Romie Futch by Julia Elliott (Tin House Books, 9781941040157)
Postmark Bayou Chene by Gwen Roland (Louisiana State University Press, 9780807161449)
Refund: Stories by Karen E. Bender (Counterpoint LLC, 9781619026230)
Soon: Stories by Pamela Durban (University of South Carolina Press, 978161175332)
Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson (William Morrow & Company, 9780062302120)

The Death of Santini Nonfiction Prize

Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom by Alysia Burton Steele (Center Street, 9781455562848)
Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant (Simon & Schuster, 9781476709642)
Every Father's Daughter: Twenty-Four Women Writers Remember Their Fathers edited by Margaret McMullan (McPherson, 9781620540138)
The Last Season: A Father, a Son, and a Lifetime of College Football by Stuart Stevens (Knopf Publishing Group, 9780385353021)
Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight by Margaret Lazarus Dean (Graywolf Press, 9781555977092)
Little Rivers and Waterway Tales: A Carolinian’s Eastern Streams by Bland Simpson (University of North Carolina Press, 9781469624938)
Maude Schuyler Clay: Mississippi History by Maude Schuyler-Clay (Steidl Dap, 9783869309743)
My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South by Rick Bragg (Oxmoor House, 9780848746391)
Our Only World: Ten Essays by Wendell Berry (Counterpoint LLC, 9781619024885)
Penguins with Problems by Mary Laura Philpott (Tarcherperigree, 9780399173097)
Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate by Laura Lengnick (New Society Publishers, 9780865717749)
Start Your Engines: Famous Firsts in the History of NASCAR by Jay W. Pennell (Sports Publishing LLC, 9781613218280)
What Stands in a Storm: Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the South’s Tornado Alley by Kim Cross (Atria Books, 9781476763064)
When You Pass Through Waters: Words of Hope and Healing from Your Favorite Authors edited by Nicole Seitz (Water Books, 9780996940207)
The World Is On Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of Apocalypse by Joni Tevis (Milkweed Editions, 9781571313478)

The Water is Wide History & Life Stories Prize

After a While You Just Get Used to It: A Tale of Family Clutter by Gwendolyn Knapp (Avery Publishing Group, 9781592409136)
American Evita: Hillary Clinton’s Path to Power by Christopher Andersen (William Morrow & Company, 9780062420336)
Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother’s Story by David Payne (Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802123541)
Bettyville: A Memoir by George Hodgman (Viking, 9780525427209)
Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chestnutt by Kristin Hersh (University of Texas Press, 9780292759473)
The Generals: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, and the Winning of World War II by Winston Groom (National Geographic Society, 9781426215490)
Gin & Gardenias: A Memoir of Desire, Love, and Loss: Poems by A. Scott Henderson (A. Scott Henderson, 9781934216774)
Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab by Steve Inskeep (Penguin Press, 9781594205569)
Our Man in Charleston: Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South by Christopher Dickey (Crown Publishing Group, 9780307887276)
Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World by Leigh Ann Henion (Penguin Press, 9781594204715)
Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll by Peter Guralnick (Little Brown and Company, 9780316042741)
Wailing Wall: A Mother’s Memoir by Deedra Climer (Inkshares, 978194758113)
The World's Largest Man: A Memoir by Harrison Scott Key (Harper, 9780062351494)

The Pat Conroy Cookbook Prize

Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes by John Besh (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 9781449469177)
Crabs & Oysters: A Savor the South Cookbook by Bill Smith (University of North Carolina Press, 9781469622620)
Foster's Market Favorites: 25th Anniversary Collection by Sara Foster (Story Farm, 9780990520573)
The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks by Toni Tipton-Martin (University of Texas Press, 9780292745483)
Soul Food Love: Heathy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family by Alice Randall (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 9780804137935)
Southern Soups and Stews: More Than 75 Recipes from Burgoo and Gumbo to Etouffee and Fricassee by Nancie McDermott (Chronicle Books, 9781452124858)
The Southerner's Cookbook: Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories by the editors of Garden & Gun (Harper Wave, 9780062242419)
Sunday Dinner: A Savor the South Cookbook by Bridgette A. Lacy (University of North Carolina Press, 9781469622453)
Too Blessed to Be Stressed Cookbook: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Stress-Free Cooking by Debora M. Coty (Barbour Publishing, 9781634093224)
Trisha's Table: My Feel-Good Favorites for a Balanced Life by Trisha Yearwood (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 9780804186155)

Poppy's Pants, Jr. Youngsters Prize

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly (Greenwillow Books, 9780062238610)
Bottle Cap Boys Dancing on Royal Street by Rita Williams-Garcia (Marimba Books, 9781603490306)
Duncan the Story Dragon by Amanda Driscoll (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780385755078)
Hamster Princess: Of Mice and Magic by Ursula Vernon (Dial Books, 9780803739840)
Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama by Hester Bass (Candlewick, 9780763669195)
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty (Disney-Hyperion, 9781484709016)
Villain Keeper by Laurie McKay (HarperCollins, 9780062308443)
The Water and the Wild by Katie Elise Ormsbee (Chronicle Books, 9781452113869)
Yard War by Taylor Kitchings (Wendy Lamb Books, 9780553507539)

Poppy's Pants Young Adult Prize

Anything Could Happen by Will Walton (Push, 9780545709545)
Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan (Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9780525426509)
by David Arnold (Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780451470775)
The Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage (Kathy Dawson Books, 9780803739611)
Persuasion by Martina Boone (Simon Pulse, 9781481411257)
Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams (Simon Pulse, 9781481422628)
Terminal by Kathy Reichs (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9781595145284)
The Trouble with Destiny by Laureen Morrill (Delacorte Press, 9780553497977)
Valiant by Sarah McGuire (Egmontusa, 9781606845523)
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780399171611)