The Southern Book Prize

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 2017, the SIBA Book Award became The Southern Book Prize  and implemented The Conroy Legacy Award 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.


The Conroy Legacy Award, honors the example of beloved author Pat Conroy and recognizes writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community. Recipients will have shown the following attributes:

  • Support for independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general.
  • Writing that focuses significantly on their own home place.
  • Demonstrates support of other writers, especially new and emerging authors.

The Conroy Legacy Award is given to one writer in SIBA territory per year. A juried panel of SIBA member booksellers representing all of SIBA's states will choose among nominated writers to determine the year’s winner.

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 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 13-15 in Tampa, Florida. 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!


SIBA Book AwardAnnouncing the 2012 SIBA Book Award Long List

(Columbia, SC)—The Long List for the 2012 SIBA Book Award has just been released by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. Totaling almost 120 different titles, the “Long List” includes every eligible title nominated for the award—representing the bookseller and reader favorites of 2011 in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, children’s, young adult and cooking categories. From Lisa Alther to Erica Wright, Mary Kay Andrews to Daniel Woodrell, the Long List is the ultimate southern reading list from the people who would know—southern indie booksellers.

See the full list of titles here:

In the following months SIBA Booksellers will vote on finalists in each category, and the final winners will be picked by a jury of SIBA booksellers. Winners will be announced in July the week of Independence Day. In September, in Naples, FL, at the annual SIBA Trade Show, the winners and finalists will be recognized during the popular Writers’ Block Auction which raises money to promote the Awards and raise awareness of the importance of independent booksellers to the literary community.

The SIBA Book Awards were created not just to recognize great Southern books, but to give southern readers an enviable list of books to enjoy, read, buy, and give as gifts. As of this time, the SIBA Book Award remains one of the most far-reaching and high-profile awards for Southern literature. To be eligible for the SIBA Book Award, nominated books must 1) be southern in nature or by an southern author (preferably both!), 2) have been published the previous year, and 3) have been nominated by a SIBA-member bookstore or one of their customers.

Now is the time to revisit your to-be-read stack. The odds are, some of the books in the list below are waiting for you there!
For more information, visit

The 2012 Long List:


Always Neverland by Zoe Barton (Harpercollins)
Animalogy by Marianne Berkes (Sylvan Dell) 
Bigger than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder (Random House)
Jelly Bean Finds her Special Place by Jane Edwards (Lewis Color, Inc.)
Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond by Mary Quattlebaum (Dawn Publications) 
Liddil Gets Her Light by Tracey Cox (Guardian Angel Publishing)
Over in Australia by Marianne Berkes (Dawn Publications) 
Wake Up Man by Thomas Rain Crowe (Grateful Steps Publishing)
Which Side Are You On?: The Story of a Song by George Ella Lyon (Cinco Puntos Press)


A Southerly Course by Martha Foose (Clarkson Potter)
Basic to Brilliant Y'all by Virginia Willis (Ten Speed Press)
Irresistible History of Southern Food by Rick McDaniel (History Press)
New Southern Garden Cookbook by Sheri Castle (UNC Press)
New Southern Latino Table by Sandra Gutierrez (UNC Press)
Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree (Gibbs Smith)
The Happy Table of Eugene Walter: Southern Spirits in Food and Drink edited by Don Goodman & Thomas Head (UNC Press)
Well, Shut My Mouth! by Stephanie L. Tyson (John F. Blair)
Wildly Affordable Organic by Linda  Watson (Da Capo)


A Bitter Truth by Charles Todd (William Morrow)
A Passel of Hate by Joe Epley (CreateSpace)
Accidental Birds of the Carolinas by Marjorie  Hudson (Press 53)
The Art of Saying Goodbye by Ellyn Bache (Harpercollins)
At the End of the Road by Grant Jerkins (Berkley)
Atlanta: A Novella by Loreen Niewenhuis (Main Street Rag)
The Ballad of Tom Dooley by Sharyn  McCrumb (St. Martin's Press)
The Beach Trees
by Karen White (New American Library)
Blood Clay by Valerie Nieman (Press 53)
Butterfly's Child by Angela Davis-Gardner (Dial)
The Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books)
Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry (St. Martin's Press)
The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew (Kensington)
Echo by Dana Smith (19 Reasons)
Exposure by Therese Fowler (Ballantine)
The Family Fang
by Kevin Wilson (Ecco)
Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank (Harpercollins)
Fortune's Son by Emery Lee (SourceBooks)
Home Free by Fern Michaels (Zebra)
The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe (Tor)
The Inheritance of Beauty by Nicole Seitz (Thomas Nelson)
Iron House by John  Hart (St. Martin's Press)
Just The Thing To Be by Tracey Cox (Guardian Angel Publishing)
Late Edition by Fern Michaels (Kensington)
Leaving Lukens by Laura Wharton (Broad Creek Press)
Mercy Creek by Matt Matthews (Hub City Press)
The Mile Marker Murders by C. W.  Saari (Boutique of Quality Books)
Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle by Ann Ross (Penguin)
Naked Came the Leaf Peeper by Brian Lee Knopp et al (Burning Bush Press of Asheville)
Night Train by Clyde Edgerton (Little Brown)
Nightwoods by Charles Frazier (Random House)
Ninth Man by Brad Crowther (Ingalls Publishing Group)
Notes toward the Story and Other Stories by Corey Mesler (Aqueous Books)
Over in Australia by Marianne Berkes (Dawn Publications)
The Ocean Forest by Troy Nooe (Ingalls Publishing Group)
The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell (Little Brown)
Quickening by Liza Wieland (SMU Press)
Reign of Madness by Lynn Cullen (Putnam)
The Road to Hell is Seldom Seen by Cappy Hall Rearick (Createspace)
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn  Ward (Bloomsbury)
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston (Ecco)
Small Hotel by Robert Olen Butler (Grove)
Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams (Bantam)
Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White (New American Library)
Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin's Press)
Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart (Thomas Nelson)
Ten Beach Road by Wendy  Wax (Berkley)
Trust by Sean Keefer (Old Line Publishing)
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, There's A Body In The Car
by Fran Rizer (Bella Rosa Books)
Under the Mercy Trees by Heather Newton (Harper Perennial)
Under the Skin by Vicki Lane (Dell)
Washed in the Blood by Lisa Alther (Mercer U. Press)
The Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)
Where To Now? by Rod Rogers (IUniverse)


America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation by David Goldfield (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Dinner With Tennessee Williams by Troy Gilbert (Gibbs Smith)
From Here to Absurdity: pink flamingos, vibrators & other comical events by David Hunter (Oconee Spirit Press)
Gone With the Wind, A Bestseller's Odyssey by Ellen F. Brown  and John Wiley (Taylor Trade) 
Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman's Journey by David Joy (Bright Mountain Books)
It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine's Path to Peace by Rye Barcott (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Lions of the West by Robert Morgan (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)
My Paddle to the Sea by John  Lane (UGA Press)
The Poetry Company, a memoir by Joe Cobb Crawford (Emory Jones, LLC)
Praying for Strangers by River Jordan (Berkley)
Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves by Saundra Dalton-Smith (Revell)
Sue Ellen's Girl Ain't Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy: The Belle of All Things Southern Dishes on Men, Money, and Not Losing Your Midlife Mind by Shellie Tomlinson (Berkley)
Taking a Stand by Juan Mendez and Marjory Wentworth (Palgrave Macmillan)
The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak by Randy Fertel (U Press of MS)
Upheaval in Charleston by Susan Williams (UGA Press)
Wait Until Tomorrow by Pat MacEnulty (The Feminist Press)
Working South by Mary Whyte (USC Press)
You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl by Celia  Rivenbark (St. Martin's Griffin)


Abandoned Quarry by John Lane (Mercer U. Press)
Ascent by Doris Davenport (CreateSpace)
Copperhead by Rachel Richardson (Carnegie Mellon)
Crack Light by Thomas Rain Crowe (Wind Publishing)
Head Off & Split: Poems (2011) by Nikky Finney (NWU Press)
If This World Falls Apart by Lou Lipsitz (Lynx House Press)
Instructions for Killing the Jackal by Erica Wright (Black Lawrence Press)
Nineteen Visions of Christmas by Sally Buckner (Main Street Rag)
Presence by Scott Wiggerman (Pecan Grove)
Seriously Dangerous by Helen Losse (Main Street Rag)
She Hands Me the Razor by Richard Krawiec (Press 53)
Southern Fictions by Kathryn Stripling Byer (Jacar Press)
Talking about Movies with Jesus by David Kirby (LSU Press)
Terroir by Robert Morgan (Penguin)
Unaccountable Weather by Kathryn Kirkpatrick (Press 53)
Waking by Ron Rash (Hub City Press)
Weaving a New Eden by Sherry Chandler (Wind Publications)

Young Adult

Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley ( Waterbrook)
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan (Delacorte)
Darwen  Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact by A.J. Hartley (Razor Bill)
Dead Rules by Randy Russell (Harper Teen)
Magnolia League by Katie Crouch (Poppy Books)
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (Hyperion)
Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard (Delacorte)
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Simon and Schuster)
Second Time's A Charm by Mary Flinn (Aviva)

Celebrate Independents!  SIBA’s 2011 Book Award Winners

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

(Columbia, SC) Southern indie booksellers once again demonstrate their independence of mind by choosing an excitingly eclectic collection of books for the 2011 SIBA Book Awards.  

Children’s Winner: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (Puffin Books)

Catlin will touch your heart. What more is there to say?” –Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC

In Caitlin's world, everything is black or white. Anything in between is confusing. That's how Caitlin's older brother, Devon, always explained it. But now Devon's dead. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an 11-year-old girl with Asperger's, she doesn't know how.

Cooking Winner: Southern My Way: Simple Recipes, Fresh Flavors by Gena Knox (Gena Knox Media, LLC)

Gena's cookbook shows quicker ways to make traditional southern dishes from a fresh angle!” –Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL

Just because it tastes great, doesn’t mean it has to be complicated! Southern My Way is a cookbook filled with recipes that reflect author Gena Knox's upbringing in southern Georgia where farming shaped both culture and community. Today, Knox is passionate about sharing her modern take on Southern specialties. Southern My Way takes home cooks on a journey through both the South in which Gena grew up and the South she knows today, while encouraging readers to keep local foodways and farming traditions alive. Knox shares her realization that preparing tasty and healthy meals is amazingly uncomplicated when using fresh ingredients, arming home cooks with a collection of standbys that are easy enough for everyday cooking, from toasted pecan goat cheese with Tupelo honey, to summer gazpacho, to gingersnap ice cream sandwiches. 

Fiction Winner: Burning Bright by Ron Rash (Ecco Press)

Ron Rash can't write a false word.” –Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, NC

Rash is no stranger to Southern booksellers but he might be the best kept secret in the South. He has won the SIBA Book Award in the past for both Serena (2009) and Saints at the River (2005). But Burning Bright has the distinction of being the first collection of short stories to win the SIBA Book Award in the Fiction category. Winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, Burning Bright captures the complexities of Appalachia--a rugged, brutal landscape of exceptional beauty, promise, and suffering that serves as New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash's muse. Spanning from the Civil War to the present day, Rash's historical and modern settings are sewn together in a haunting patchwork of suspense and myth, populated by raw and unforgettable characters mined from the landscape.

Nonfiction Winner:  The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family by Jim Minick (Thomas Dunne Books)

A captivating look into a couple's efforts to create an organic blueberry farm in Central Appalachia. . .sit back and savor the sweetness of his blueberry story.”—Malaprop’s in Asheville, NC

The Blueberry Years is a mouthwatering and delightful memoir based on Jim Minick's experiences as an organic blueberry farmer. This story of one couple, one farm, and one thousand bushes transports readers so that they experience the joys and frustrations of creating and operating one of the mid-Atlantic's first certified-organic, pick-your-own blueberry farms. Written by a farmer who also is a poet, The Blueberry Years follows in the vein of The Omnivore's Dilemma or Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, where lyrical writing captures a well-told story about food, family, and the choices we make with every bite"

Poetry Winner: A House of Branches by Janisse Ray (Wind Publications)

These poems are about waking up, looking around at the world, and discovering how to live within it.” –Kathryn Stripling Byer

Janisse Ray is another one of the South’s best-kept-secrets, although she’s no secret to southern booksellers, who chose her debut memoir Ecology of a Cracker Childhood as a SIBA Book Award Winner in nonfiction in 2000. Their enthusiasm has not dimmed and this year Ray returns as a winner again in 2011 for her first full book of poetry, A House of Branches, poems informed by the author's long-standing interest in the wilderness and nature.

Young Adult Winner: Countdown by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic)

Oh, this story brings back memories!” –Two Sisters Bookery in Wilmington, NC

It's 1962, and it seems everyone is living in fear. Twelve-year-old Franny Chapman lives with her family in Washington, D.C., during the days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. For Franny, as for all Americans, it's going to be a formative year.

The Winners!

  • Children’s Winner: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (Puffin Books)
  • Cooking Winner: Southern My Way by Gena Knox (Gena Knox Media, LLC)
  • Fiction Winner: Burning Bright by Ron Rash (Ecco Press)
  • Nonfiction Winner:  The Blueberry Years by Jim Minick (Thomas Dunne Books)
  • Poetry Winner: A House of Branches by Janisse Ray (Wind Publications)
  • Young Adult Winner: Countdown by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic)

For more information on the SIBA Book Awards please visit

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