The Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction announced its shortlist this week. The annual award is given to a writer whose work is set in the South, exemplifies the tenets of Southern literature—quality of prose, originality, and authenticity of setting and characters—and reflects, in the words of its namesake, Willie Morris, “hope for belonging, for belief in a people’s better nature, for steadfastness against all that is hollow or crass or rootless or destructive." The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip for the winner to New York City for the reception and ceremony, which will be held on Monday, October 21st, 2019. The award is sponsored by Reba and Dave Williams.
This year’s finalists are Minrose Gwin, Promise (William Morrow), Silas House, Southernmost (Algonquin), Tayari Jones, An American Marriage (Algonquin) , and Tiffany Quay Tyson, The Past is Never (Skyhorse Publishing). “We are pleased and proud of this year’s shortlist for the Willie Morris Award,” says Reba White Williams, founder of the annual prize. “Each year—and this is our twelfth—proves the breadth of talent producing contemporary Southern fiction.” This year’s reception and award ceremony will introduce the winner of a new award, The Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry. Susan Kinsolving, director and judge of the poetry award, will introduce the winner who will present her prize-winning poem.
All four nominated books are also Okra Picks, titles SIBA booksellers consider a favorite handsell of the season. Yet more proof that SIBA booksellers grow audiences for great books!