(Columbia, SC) – The heat is on and Southern Indie booksellers are cooking up a sizzling plate of summer Okra Picks! The 2016 Summer Okra Picks have just been selected–a hearty helping of great summer reading that will make your beach book bag look a little more nutritious. They're a baker’s dozen of great books representing the best in forthcoming southern lit, according to the people who would know–Southern independent booksellers.
All the picks have a strong Southern focus and are publishing between July and September 2016, and all have fans among Southern booksellers: the people always on the lookout for the next great writer who belongs in your to-be-read stack. So on your next Southern Indie bookstore visit, expect to hear “You’ve got to read this!” and find one of these titles in your hands. Great books are always good for you!
The 2016 Summer Okra Picks
The Cantaloupe Thief
by Deb Richardson-Moore
Lion Fiction, July 2016
The Promise of Jesse Woods
by Chris Fabry
Tyndale House Publishers, July 2016
by Ben Winters
Mulholland Books, July 2016
Let the Devil Out: A Maureen Coughlin Novel
by Bill Loehfelm
Sarah Crichton Books, July 2016
Lowcountry Book Club
by Susan M. Boyer
Henery Press, July 2016
Ninety-Nine Stories of God
by Joy Williams
Tin House Books, July 2016
The Heavenly Table
by Donald Ray Pollock
Doubleday Books, July 2016
by Paul Heald
Yucca Publishing, July 2016
The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race
by Jesmyn Ward
Scribner Book Company, August 2016
by Ron Rash
Ecco Press, September 2016
by Robert Olen Butler
Atlantic Monthly Press, September 2016
by Jane Alison
Catapult, September 2016
by Thomas Mullen
Atria, September 2016
Okra Picks are chosen every season by Southern Independent Bookstores. For more information visit authorsroundthesouth.com/okra.
- Category: SIBA News
SIBA CREATES PAT CONROY SCHOLARSHIPS, SPONSORED BY PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE
The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) is pleased to announce the creation of The Pat Conroy Scholarships in honor of the late author whose lifetime achievements have meant so much to Southern booksellers. The scholarships, which will be bestowed to two booksellers annually in each of the next four years, are made possible by Penguin Random House, whose Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, Dial Press Trade Paperbacks, and Random House Audio imprints publish Mr. Conroy’s works in hardcover, paperback, and audio editions respectively.
These scholarships are designated specifically for booksellers who have never attended a SIBA Discovery Show, held in September, in keeping with the Penguin Random House’s fifteen-year tradition of supporting educational programming for booksellers at the event. The scholarships will cover up to $1,000 of the winner’s travel, hotel, and meal expenses for the Discovery Show first-timers. To be eligible, a bookseller must be a full-time employee of a SIBA-member bookstore, working at any level or capacity.
SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell said, “We believe that nurturing the next generation of career booksellers is one of the best things we can do to advance the future of bookselling. These scholarships Penguin Random House is endowing, which deepen and expands this mutual commitment to foster education at the Discovery Show, are forward-looking, and will mean a lot to every SIBA bookseller. How appropriate that these awards honor Pat Conroy, who was so kind and generous with all of us, and in particular, to those new to our industry.”
“Pat Conroy is a beloved Penguin Random House author,” said Jaci Updike, President, Sales, Penguin Random House, “and it is a privilege for us to honor his legacy in a manner that benefits new booksellers. Pat deeply loved books and the men and women who sell them and would be made very happy and proud to have an opportunity to enhance their professional education.”
Pat Conroy’s A LOW COUNTRY HEART: Reflections on a Writing Life, a new nonfiction collection of pieces spanning the author’s long literary career, has been announced for posthumous hardcover and e-book publication by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday on October 25, one day before his 71st birthday.
To be considered for a Pat Conroy Scholarship, booksellers can self-nominate, or be nominated by other booksellers or sales reps. Owners and managers are strongly encouraged to nominate frontline booksellers who are interested in bookselling as a career. The deadline for nominations for the 2016 Pat Conroy Scholarships is July 15, 2016.
Scholarship recipients will be announced on August 1.
The 2016 SIBA Discovery show will be held September 16-18 at the Hilton DeSoto in Savannah, Georgia.
- YES! I have never been to SIBA and I would love to go.
- E-mail address
- Bookstore: where do you work? How long have you worked there and what is your current role?
- Make Pat Conroy proud! Please write a short (two paragraphs is ideal) description of why you love being a bookseller and what you hope to get out of SIBA.
- Category: SIBA News
The 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Finalists Announced
(Columbia, SC) – The votes are in! Southern indie booksellers have chosen the finalists for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. Formerly known as the SIBA Book Award, the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize features an expanded list of categories – adding Mystery, Thriller, Literary, and History & Life Stories to the traditional categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Cooking, Children’s and Young Adult.
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.”
2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Finalists
The Great Santini Fiction Prize
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Harper, 9780062409850)
Soil by Jamie Kornegay (Simon & Schuster, 9781476750811)
My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780399169526)
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton (Grand Central Publishing, 9781455551927)
The Beach Music Mystery Prize
Miss Julia Lays Down the Law by Ann B. Ross (Viking, 9780525427094)
A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd (William Morrow & Company, 9780062386243)
Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780399173967)
Don't Go Home by Carolyn Hart (Berkley Books, 9780425276549)
Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer (Henery Press, 9781941962473)
The Lords of Discipline Thriller Prize
Where All the Light Tends to Go by David Joy (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780399172779)
The Bone Tree by Greg Iles (William Morrow & Company, 9780062311115)
Descent by Tim Johnston (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 9781616204778)
Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham (Doubleday Books, 9780385539432)
The Scribe by Matthew Guinn (W.W. Norton & Company, 9780393239294)
The Prince of Tides Literary Prize
Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash (Ecco Press, 9780062349316)
Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson (William Morrow & Company, 9780062302120)
New and Improved Romie Futch by Julia Elliott (Tin House Books, 9781941040157)
Calloustown by George Singleton (Dzanc Books, 9781938103162)
The Death of Santini Nonfiction Prize
Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant (Simon & Schuster, 9781476709642)
Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight by Margaret Lazarus Dean (Graywolf Press, 9781555977092)
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)
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
Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother’s Story by David Payne (Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802123541)
Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab by Steve Inskeep (Penguin Press, 9781594205569)
Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chestnutt by Kristin Hersh (University of Texas Press, 9780292759473)
Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll by Peter Guralnick (Little Brown and Company, 9780316042741)
The World's Largest Man: A Memoir by Harrison Scott Key (Harper, 9780062351494)
The Pat Conroy Cookbook Prize
Foster's Market Favorites: 25th Anniversary Collection by Sara Foster (Story Farm, 9780990520573)
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)
The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks by Toni Tipton-Martin (University of Texas Press, 9780292745483)
Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family by Alice Randall (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 9780804137935)
The Poppy’s Pants, Jr. Youngsters Prize
Hamster Princess: Of Mice and Magic by Ursula Vernon (Dial Books, 9780803739840)
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty (Disney-Hyperion, 9781484709016)
Yard War by Taylor Kitchings (Wendy Lamb Books, 9780553507539)
Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama by Hester Bass (Candlewick, 9780763669195)
The Poppy’s Pants Young Adult Prize
Anything Could Happen by Will Walton (Push, 9780545709545)
The Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage (Kathy Dawson Books, 9780803739611)
Mosquitoland by David Arnold (Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780451470775)
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780399171611)
For more information about the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, visit
- Category: SIBA News
A basket full of Spring 2016 Okra Picks!
(Columbia, SC) – Spring may be the time to plant, but Southern indie booksellers are already harvesting a new crop of Okra Picks. The 2016 Spring Okra Picks have just been selected–a basketful of a dozen great books representing the best in forthcoming southern lit, according to the people who would know–Southern independent booksellers.
All the picks have a strong Southern focus and are publishing between April and June, 2016, and all 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 the next time you visit your local Southern indie bookstore, expect someone to hand you one and say, “You’ve got to read this!” Read them before they hit the bestseller lists and impress your friends with your impeccable taste and literary savvy!
The 2016 Spring Okra Picks
Lies and Other Acts of Love
by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Berkley Books, April 2016
Chasing the North Star
by Robert Morgan
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, April 2016
by Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press, April 2016
Juvenile Fiction, 9780763681173
The Other Widow
by Susan Crawford
William Morrow & Company, April 2016
Julia Reed's South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long
by Julia Reed
Rizzoli International Publications, April 2016
Over the Plain Houses
by Julia Franks
Hub City Press, May 2016
by John Hart
Thomas Dunne Books, May 2016
Lily and Dunkin
by Donna Gephart
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, May 2016
Juvenile Fiction, 9780553536744
Highly Illogical Behavior
by John Corey Whaley
Dial Books, May 2016
Juvenile Fiction, 9780525428183
Last Ride to Graceland
by Kim Wright
Gallery Books, May 2016
Field of Graves
by J.T. Ellison
Mira Books, June 2016
A Thousand Miles from Nowhere
by John Gregory Brown
Lee Boudreaux Books, June 2016
Okra Picks are chosen every season by Southern Independent Bookstores. For more information visit sibaweb.com/okra.
- Category: SIBA News
The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) is partnering with Candlewick Press to bring readers One Book, One South, Jr. – a Southern-wide “one book” event featuring Raymie Nightingale, the newest book by the award-winning and much beloved author, Kate DiCamillo. Raymie Nightingale is the first children's book to be selected for SIBA's One Book, One South program (hence the "Jr."), and in addition to the target audience of 10 and up, SIBA feels the book has a great crossover appeal.
Raymie Nightingale releases on April 12, 2016 and will be the subject of a coordinated promotion across SIBA member bookstores, both in-store and online, culminating in a Facebook event on May 6, 2016 capping off Children’s Book Week. In the period leading up to the Q&A, bookstores will encourage their customers to submit questions in advance, reach out to librarians and teachers in their communities, and feature the book in their own newsletters and displays. Kate DiCamillo and Raymie Nightingale will be featured in SIBA’s popular newsletter for Southern literature, Lady Banks’ Commonplace Book in the weeks leading up to the Facebook event.
“We’re very excited about One Book, One South, Jr. and Kate DiCamillo’s participation,” said SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell. “SIBA believes that independent bookstores are vital to the success of any book, and when they get behind one they love, there is no stopping them. Raymie Nightingale is that kind of a book.”
About the Book:
Three girls. One summer. The friendship that rescues them all.
Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town three days ago with a dental hygienist, will see her picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.
About Kate DiCamillo:
Kate DiCamillo is the author of many books for young readers. Flora and Ulysses: the Illuminated Adventures was awarded the 2014 John Newbery Medal for "the outstanding contribution for children's literature." Her books have been awarded the Newbery Medal (The Tale of Despereaux, 2004); the Newbery Honor (Because of Winn-Dixie,2001), the Boston Globe Horn Book Award (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, 2006), and the Theodor Geisel Medal and honor (Bink and Gollie, co-author Alison McGhee, 2011; Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, 2007). She is the current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, appointed by the Library of Congress.
Because of Winn Dixie won the 2001 SIBA Book Award for Children. It has appeared on the Southern Bestseller list as has The Tale of Despereaux and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and Great Joy and The Magician’s Elephant. Kate DiCamillo has appeared on the Southern Indie Bestseller List over 50 weeks.
A southern sister, Kate now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- Category: SIBA News