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!


It’s a southern story. . .

“It’s a Countdown, a reckoning, to a future that isBurning Bright,” he said.Pete the CatisChecking Outall theAngles of Approach.” We nodded, obediently.  Dave the PotterisLeaving Gees BendwithZora and Mefor some timeOn Folly Beachand you just have to listen when he gets like this. It’s beenBlueberry Yearssince we’ve been there. “You won’t find aMockingbirdLiving Above the Frost Line.,” he tells us. (Like we didn’t know that). “Don’t build yourHouse of Branches, andDon't Quit Your Day Job,” he calls out as he leaves, yelling over his shoulder “RememberThe Fall of the House of Zeus!” (Zeus lived down the road and never could hammer a nail straight.) “But Dave, I hollered after him, “Will Jesus Buy me a Double-Wide?

“You think a doublewide will beSaving Cee Cee Honeycutt?” he roared back. “You think that’sBloodrootshe picked toEat Your Yard?” There wasThe Food, Folklore and Art of Lowcountry Cookingand Lowcountry preaching, we all knew. T’were like the Crooked Letter, Crooked Letters onThe Circus Poemswrit up on the billboards along Route 54. Dave’s an artist. “Creative is a Verb,” he tells us and then adds, “it’sSouthern My Way.” So it is.

(Columbia, SC)—The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2011 SIBA Book Awards. These are the books from last year that Southern Indie Booksellers especially loved, the ones they most enjoyed putting into the hands of their customers with the earnest, heartfelt and ever hopeful words “You’ve got to read this.”

Twenty-four titles were chosen by bookseller vote out of a nominee list of over 100 books, in the categories of Children’s, Young Adult, Poetry, Nonfiction, Fiction, and Cooking. The finalists represent what Southern Indie Booksellers feel to be the best in southern literature of the year. And let’s face it—they are the people who would know!

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.

Finalists will be judged by a jury of SIBA booksellers. Winners will be announced in July during the week of Independence Day.  In September, in Charleston, SC at the annual SIBA Trade Show, the winners and finalists will be recognized at a special Wacky, Wordy, Wedding version of our popular Writers’ Block Auction. That’s right—SIBA wants booksellers and authors to get hitched, and what more beautiful place to do so than Charleston? The Writers’ Block Auction raises money to promote the Awards and raise awareness of the importance of independent booksellers to the literary community.
For more information, visit

2011 Finalists:


Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (Puffin Books)
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
by Eric Litwin and James Dean (Harper)

Young Adult

Countdown by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic)
Leaving Gees Bend by Irene Latham (Putnam)
Zora and Me by Victoria Bond & TR Simon (Candlewick)


The Blueberry Years by Jim Minick (Thomas Dunne Books)
Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh (Skirt!)
Don't Quit Your Day Job by Sonny Brewer (MP Publishing)
The Fall of the House of Zeus
by Curtis Wilkes (Crown)
Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide? by
Karen Zacharias (Zondervan)


Bloodroot by Amy Greene (Vintage Books)
Burning Bright
by Ron Rash (Ecco Press)
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
by Tom Franklin (William Morrow)
On Folly Beach by Karen White (New American Library)
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
by Beth Hoffman (Penguin)


Angles of Approach by Holly Iglesias (White Pine Press)
Checking Out by Tim Peeler (Hub City Press)
The Circus Poems by Alex Grant (Lorimer Press)
House of Branches by Janisse Ray (Wind Publications)
Living Above the Frost Line by Nancy Simpson (Carolina Wren Press)


Eat Your Yard by Nan Chase (Gibbs Smith Publishers)
The Food, Folklore, and Art of Lowcountry Cooking
by Joseph Earl Dabney (Cumberland House Publishing)
Southern My Way by Gena Knox (Gena Knox Media, LLC)

The 2011 SIBA Book Award Long List: Time to revisit your TBR stack!

(Columbia, SC)—The Long List for the 2011 SIBA Book Award has just been released by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. The “Long List” includes every eligible title nominated for the award—over seventy-five books representing the bookseller and reader favorites of 2010 in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, children’s, young adult and cooking categories. From Tom Angleberger to Isabel Zuber, Ron Rash to Fannie Flagg, Civil Rights struggles to Cold War coming of age stories, and football games to blueberry farms, 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 Charleston, SC, 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 2011 SIBA Book Award Long List:

  Bloodroot          Amy Greene      (Random House)
  Bone Appetit    Carolyn Haines  (Minotaur)
  Burning Bright Ron Rash             (Ecco)
  Circle of Lies      Alan Douglas      (Forge)
  Cirtus County   John Brandon    (McSweeney's)
  Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter                Tom Franklin      (Morrow)
  The Day of Small Things              Vicki Lane            (Dell)
  Delta Blues        Carolyn Haines  (Tyrus Books)
  The Devil Amongst the Lawyers               Sharyn McCrumb             (St. Martin's Press)
  Diablero             Toby Tate            (Nightbird Publishing)
  The Eden Hunter             Skip Horack         (PGW)
  The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival   Ken Wheaton    (Kensington)
  Florida Gothic Stories   Vicki Hendricks  (Kitsune Books)
  I Still Dream About You                Fannie Flagg      (Random House)
  In the Company of Others          Jan Karon            (Viking Books)
  Killer of Crying Deer       William Orem  (Kitsune Books)
  The Lies We Told             Diane Chamberlain          (Mira)
  Love, Charleston            Beth Webb Hart               (Thomas Nelson)
  Magnolia Wednesdays               Wendy Wax  (Penguin)
  The Mailbox     Marybeth Whalen           (David C. Cook)
  Miss Julia Renews Her Vows      Ann Ross  (Viking)
  My Only Sunshine          Lou Dischler        (Hub City Press)
  On Folly Beach                Karen White       (NAL)
  Requiem by Fire              Wayne Caldwell                (Random House)
  Saving CeeCee Honeycutt           Beth Hoffman   (Penguin)
  She-Rain            Michael Cogdill  (Morgan James)
  This Is Just Exactly Like You        Drew Perry         (Penguin)


Angles of Approach      Holly Iglesias      (White Pine Press)
Bottle Tree  Jennifer Horne        (Wordtech)
Checking Out   Tim Peeler          (Hub City Press)
The Circus Poems           Alex Grant          (Lorimer Press)
Coffeehouse Meditations           Nina Romano     (Kitsune Books)
Eliza: The New Orleans Years    Dede Wilson      (Main Street Rag)
Home  Nancy Dillingham            (March Street Press)
House of Branches        Janisse Ray         (Wind Publications)
Living Above the Frost Line        Nancy Simpson (Carolina Wren Press)
Multiverse         Michael Smith   (BlazeVox)
Naming the Constellations        John York            (Spring Street Editions)
Paper House    Jessie Carty        (Folded Word Press)
Red Lily, poems               Isabel Zuber       (Press 53)
Restoring Sacred Art     Joseph Bathanti                (Star Cloud Press)


27 Views of Hillsborough            Michael Malone               (Eno Publishing)
As The Scyamore Grows             Jennie Helderman           (Summers Bridgewater Press)
The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family        Jim Minick           (Thomas Dunne)
Carry the Rock Jay Jennings       (MPS)
Creative Is a Verb           Patti Digh             (Skirt!)
Death of a Pinehurst Princess   Steve Bouser     (History Press)
Don't Quit Your Day Job              Sonny Brewer   (Perseus)
The Fall of the House of Zeus    Curtis Wilkes      (Crown)
Honest Eating: How to Love Food,Love Yourself & Love Life        Jane McClaren  (Chapel Hill Press)
If Trouble Don't Kill Me                Ralph Berrier, Jr                (Crown)
In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life, Love, & Tomatoes               Renea Winchester           (Little Creek Books)
Look Up Asheville: an Architectural Journey       Laura Hope-Gill (Grateful Steps PublishingHouse and Bookshop)
Mississippi: State of Blues          Ken Murphy       (Proteus Publications & Ken Murphy Publishing)
Spies of Mississippi        Rick Bowers        (National Geographic)
They Came to Nashville               Marshall Chapman          (Vanderbilt)
Thriving After Divorce  Tonja Weimer   (Simon & Schuster)
Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide              Karen Zacharias                (Zondervan)
Year of Our Lord             T.R. Pearson       (Mockingbird)


Dave the Potter              Laban Carrick Hill              (Little, Brown)
Mockingbird    Kathryn Erskine                (Philomel)
Penny Dreadful               Laurel Snyder    (Random House)
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes      Eric Litwin and James Dean            (HarperCollins)
The Red Umbrella          Christina Gonzalez           (Knopf)
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda         Tom Angleberger             (Amulet)
Turtle in Paradise           Jennifer Holm    (Random House)
Twelve Days of Christmas in South Carolina       Melinda Long     (Sterling)

Young Adult

Cookie & Me    Mary Jane Ryals                (Kitsune Books)
Countdown      Deborah Wiles  (Scholastic)
Leaving Gees Bend        Irene Latham     (Penguin)
The Secret Child              Marti Healy         (Design Group Press)
Somebody Everybody Listens To             Suzanne Supplee             (Penguin)
Zora and Me    Victoria Bond     (Candlewick)


Eat Your Yard   Nan Chase          (Gibb Smith)
The Food, Folklore, and Art of Lowcountry Cooking       Joseph Earl Dabney         (Cumberland House)
Greek Revival: Cooking for Life Patricia Moore-Pastides                (USC Press)
Southern My Way         Gena Knox          (Fire & Flavor)
Too Hot in the Kitchen -Secrets to Sizzle at any Age         Holly Clegg          (Favorite Recipes Press)
You're Invited Back        The Junior League of Raleigh      (Favorite Recipes Press)