The Southern Book Prize(Columbia, SC) The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, (SIBA), is pleased to announce the 2017 Southern Book Prize Long List, featuring all the eligible titles that have been nominated for the Southern Book Prize (formerly the SIBA Book Award).  Nominated titles must be Southern in nature or by a Southern author (or both!) and have been published in 2016. Over 140 great Southern books were nominated by Southern Indie booksellers, making the Long List one of the most comprehensive and exciting reading lists of new Southern literature.

Continuing with a tradition established last year, the Long List features an expanded collection of prize 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 SIBA Executive Director Wanda 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 seven categories, and ‘Nonfiction’ into three separate categories.

SIBA member booksellers will vote on the Long List over the next few weeks. Finalists for each category in the 2017 Southern Book Prize will be announced April 15, 2017. From there, 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.”



Coming of Age

  • Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (Harper, 9780062491794)
  • The Education of Dixie Dupree by Donna Everhart (Kensington, 9781496705518)
  • Fate Ball by Adam W. Jones (Adam W. Jones, 9780692475348)
  • Godpretty in the Tobacco Field by Kim Michele Richardson (Kensington, 9781617737350)
  • The Last Road Home by Danny Johnson (Kensington, 9781496702494)
  • Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey (Berkley Books, 9781101987063)
  • Long Way Gone by Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson, 9780718084714)
  • The Order of the Eternal Sun: A Novel of the Sylvani by Jessica Leake (Talos, 9781940456423)
  • The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House, 9781414387772)
  • The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (Crown Books for Young Readers, 9780553524024)
  • The Truthful Story by Helen Stine (Cardinal Press, 9780997853018)

Family Life

  • American Girls by Alison Umminger (Minotaur Books, 9781250075000)
  • Flight Patterns by Karen White (Berkley Books, 9780451470911)
  • Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright (Gallery Books, 9781501100789)
  • The Last Treasure by Erika Marks (Berkley Books, 9781101990841)
  • Love, Alice by Barbara Davis (Berkley Books, 9780451474810)
  • A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books, 9781501125539)
  • The Risen by Ron Rash (Ecco, 9780062436313)
  • The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale (Thomas Nelson, 9780718039561)
  • Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central, 9781455520695)
  • When We Meet Again by Kristin Harmel (Gallery Books, 9781476754161)


  • America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray ; Laura Kamoie (William Morrow & Company, 9780062347268)
  • Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb (Other Press, 9781590518038)
  • Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan (Algonquin Books, 9781565126275)
  • Cigar Factory: A Novel of Charleston by Michele Moore (University of South Carolina Press, 9781611175905)
  • The Fifth Avenue Artists Society by Joy Callaway (Harper, 9780062391612)
  • Fine Imitation by Amber Brock (Crown Publishing Group, 9781101905111)
  • Forsaken by Ross Howell Jr (NewSouth Books, 9781588383174)
  • Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (Simon & Schuster, 9781476748443)


  • The Arrangement by Ashley Warlick (Viking, 9780525429661)
  • Fallen Land by Taylor Brown (St. Martin's Press, 9781250077974)
  • Hanging Mary by Susan Higginbotham (Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781492613626)
  • Miss Jane by Brad Watson (W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393241730)
  • The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson (William Morrow & Company, 9780062105684)
  • Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks (Hub City Press, 9781938235214)
  • Perfume River by Robert Olen Butler (Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802125750)
  • A Question of Mercy by Elizabeth Cox (Story River Books, 9781611177220)
  • Robert Walker by Corey Mesler (Livingston Press, 9781604891720)
  • The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen (Lake Union Publishing, 9781503936072)
  • A Thousand Miles from Nowhere by John Gregory Brown (Lee Boudreaux Books, 9780316302807)

Mystery & Detective

  • All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris (Minotaur Books, 9781250090034)
  • Burning Heat by David Burnsworth (Five Star Publishing, 9781432831110)
  • The Cantaloupe Thief by Deb Richardson-Moore (Lion Fiction, 9781782641926)
  • The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow & Company, 9780062430212)
  • Lowcountry Book Club by Susan M Boyer (HeneryPress, 9781635110456)
  • Miss Julia Inherits a Mess by Ann B Ross (Viking, 9780525427124)
  • No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd (William Morrow & Company, 9780062386182)
  • Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Atria Books, 9781476772813)
  • The Rector: A Christian Murder Mystery by Michael Hicks Thompson (Shepherd King Publishing LLC, 9780984528271)
  • The Singularity Race by Mark de Castrique (Poisoned Pen Press, 9781464205996)

Southern Stories & Stories by Southerners

  • Echoes of Mercy by Kim Boykin(River's Edge Media, LLC, 9781940595573)
  • The Eyes Have It: A Lowcountry Home Novel by Julie Allan (Bublish, Inc., 9780997487534)
  • The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell (Thomas Nelson, 9780718037628)
  • The Final Days of Great American Shopping: Stories Past, Present, and Future by Gilbert Allen (University of South Carolina Press, 9781611176384)
  • The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury (Razorbill, 9781595147677)
  • Haylow by Gray Stewart (Livingston Press, 9781604891744)
  • Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley (Dial Books, 9780525428183)
  • A Lowcountry Wedding by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books, 9781501125430)
  • Monsters in Appalachia: Stories by Sheryl Monks (Vandalia Press, 9781943665396)
  • Nine Island by Jane Alison (Catapult, 9781941040355)
  • Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams (Tin House Books, 9781941040355)
  • The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780399171628)
  • Sunshine Beach by Wendy Wax (Berkley Books, 9780425274484)
  • Virgin and Other Stories by April Ayers Lawson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780865478695)
  • The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin's Press, 9781250065940)
  • The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg (Random House, 9781400065950)
  • Woodwalker: Creatures of Light, Book 1 by Emily B Martin (Voyager, 9780062473714)
  • A World Without You by Beth Revis (Razorbill, 9781595147158)
  • A Year Since the Rain by Shane Wilson (Snow Leopard Publishing, LLC, 9781944361082)


  • Coconut Cowboy by Tim Dorsey (William Morrow & Company, 9780062240040)
  • Cotton by Paul Heald (Yucca Publishing, 9781631580864)
  • Darktown by Thomas Mullen (Atria Books, 9781501133862)
  • Field of Graves by J T Ellison (Mira Books, 9780778330530)
  • The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock (Doubleday Books, 9780385541299)
  • Let the Devil Out by Bill Loehfelm (Sarah Crichton Books, 9780374298579)
  • No One Knows by J T Ellison (Gallery Books, 9781501118470)
  • The Other Widow by Susan Crawford (William Morrow & Company, 9780062362889)
  • Out of the Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 9780399167263)
  • Redemption Road by John Hart (Thomas Dunne Books, 9780312380366)
  • Underground Airlines by Ben H Winters (Mulholland Books, 9780316261241)
  • The Whistler by John Grisham (Doubleday Books, 9780385541190)



  • Curious Critters Florida by David Fitzsimmons (Wild Iris Publishing, 9781936607327)
  • The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron (Scholastic Press, 9780545945219)
  • Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown (Harper Teen, 9780062270986)
  • Gertie's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley; Jillian Tamaki (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374302610)
  • The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd (Scholastic Press, 9780545552745)
  • The King of the Birds by Acree Macam (Groundwood Books, 9781554988518)
  • The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly (Greenwillow Books, 9780062238641)
  • The Last Dragon Charmer #2: Quest Maker by Laurie McKay (HarperCollins, 9780062308467)
  • Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (Delacorte Press, 9780553536744)
  • The Monster War by Alan Gratz (Starscape Books, 9780765338242)
  • Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II by Allan Gratz (Scholastic Press, 9780545880169)
  • Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, 9780763681173)
  • The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart ; Diana Sudyka (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316389556)
  • Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty (Disney-Hyperion, 9781484775035)
  • Superhero Instruction Manual by Kristy Dempsey (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780385755344)
  • Wish by Barbara O'Connor (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374302733)


Biography, Autobiography, & Memoir

  • A Beautiful Here: Emerging from the Overwhelming Darkness of My Son's Suicide by Linda Phillips (Createspace, 9781537413679)
  • The Book of Isaias: A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America by Daniel Connolly (St. Martin's Press, 9781250083067)
  • Dimestore: A Writer's Life by Lee Smith (Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780451470775)
  • The Dogs Buried Over the Bridge: A Memoir in Dog Years by Rheta G Johnson (John F. Blair, Publisher, 9780895876652)
  • The Gatekeeper: Missy Lehand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency by Kathryn Smith (Touchstone, 9781501114960)
  • The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature by J Drew Lanham (Milkweed, 9781571313157)
  • Inside the Head of the Oldest Co-Ed in Dixie: How I Gain Friends, Influence Neighbors, and Try to Fix the World by Dee Dee Murphy (Vabella Publishing, 9781942766193)
  • Miss Ella of Commander's Palace by Ella Brennan ; Ti Martin (Gibbs Smith, 9781423642558)
  • My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir by Chris Offutt (Atria Books, 9781501112461)
  • A Mysterious Life and Calling: From Slavery to Ministry in South Carolina by Charlotte S Riley ; Crystal J Lucky ; Joycelyn K Moody (University of Wisconsin Press, 9780299306748)
  • The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by William J Barber II ; Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Beacon Press, 9780807083604)


  • Chicken: A Savor the South(r) Cookbook by Cynthia Stevens Graubart ( University of North Carolina Press, 9781469630090)
  • Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen by Francine Bryson ; Ann Volkwein (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 9780553448450)
  • Curate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen by Katie Button ; Genevieve Ko ; Evan Sung (Flatiron Books, 9781250059444)
  • Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South by Vivian Howard (Little Brown and Company, 9780316381109)
  • Hungry Is a Mighty Fine Sauce Cookbook: Recipes and Ramblings from the Belle of All Things Southern by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson (Shiloh Run Press, 9781634097826)
  • Julia Reed's South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long by Julia Reed (Rizzoli International Publications, 9780847848287)
  • Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways: Traditional, Contemporary, International by Jennifer Brule (University of North Carolina Press, 9781469629124)
  • Poole's: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner by Ashley Christensen ; Kaitlyn Goalen (Ten Speed Press, 9781607746874)
  • Southern Breads: Recipes, Stories and Traditions by Marilyn Markel ; Chris Holaday ; Bill Smith (History Press, 9781467137447)
  • Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes by Ronni Lundy ; Johnny Autry (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 9780804186742)

Creative Nonfiction

  • 13th Sunday After Pentecost: Poems by Joseph Bathanti (Louisiana State University Press, 9780807164617)
  • Devils Walking: Klan Murders Along the Mississippi in the 1960s by Stanley Nelson (Louisiana State University Press, 9780807164075)
  • Easy to Love: Southern Stories from the Heart by Joe Garrett ; Mike Steed (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 9781535549615)
  • The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race by Jesmyn Ward (Scribner Book Company, 9781501126345)
  • Harnessing Courage: Overcoming Adversity with Grit & Gratitude by Laura Bratton (Clovercroft Publishing, 9781942557623)
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J D Vance (Harper, 9780062300546)
  • A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life by Pat Conroy (Nan A. Talese, 9780385530866)
  • The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler's U-Boats by William Geroux (Viking, 9780525428152)
  • Poems: New and Selected by Ron Rash (Ecco Press, 9780062435507)
  • The Thibodaux Massacre: Racial Violence and the 1887 Sugar Cane Labor Strike by John DeSantis; Burnell Tolbert (History Press, 9781467136891)

For more information contact SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the SIBA website at

The 2017 Spring Okra Picks have been selected: a flavor-filled collection of new Southern books hand-picked by Southern indie booksellers–people with impeccable taste in books... 

All Spring Okra picks have a strong Southern focus and publish between April and June, and all have fans among Southern indie booksellers: the people who are always looking out for the next great writer to fill your reading plate. So the next time you visit your local Southern indie bookstore and someone says, "You've got to read this!" and hands you one of these tasty titles, dig in and ask for a second helping. Great books are always good for you!

The Potlikker Papers by John T. Edge
Penguin Press, Hardcover, 9781594206559, 384pp.
Publication Date: May 16, 2017

Skin Again by bell hooks, Chris Raschka (illus)
Jump at the Sun, Hardcover, 9781484799239, 40pp.
Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Between Two Skies by Joanne O'Sullivan
Candlewick Press (MA), Hardcover, 9780763690342, 272pp.
Publication Date: April 25, 2017

Sunshine State: Essays by Sarah Gerard
Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780062434876, 384pp.
Publication Date: April 11, 2017

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Ballantine Books, Hardcover, 9780425284681, 352pp.
Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Flight Path A Search for Roots Beneath the World's Busiest Airport by Hannah Palmer
Hub City Press, Paperback, 9781938235283
Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Echolocation by Mark Powell
Tyrus Books, Hardcover, 9781507203385, 384pp.
Publication Date: June 2, 2017

No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts
Ecco Press, Hardcover, 9780062472984, 384pp.
Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Extraordinary Adventures by Daniel Wallace
St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9781250118455, 336pp.
Publication Date: May 30, 2017

Thunder in the Mountains Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard, and the Nez Perce War by Daniel J. Sharfstein
W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393239416, 640pp.
Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Gradle Bird by J.C. Sasser
Koehler Books, Paperback, 9781633932630, 288pp.
Publication Date: June 15, 2017

He Calls Me by Lightning The Life of Caliph Washington and the Forgotten Saga of Jim Crow, Southern Justice, and the Death Penalty by S. Jonathan Bass
Liveright Publishing Corporation, Hardcover, 9781631492372, 432pp.
Publication Date: May 2, 2017

Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin
Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781632867049, 336pp.
Publication Date: June 6, 2017


For Immediate Release
January 31, 2017

The Southern Book Prize creates the Conroy Legacy Award

The Southern Book Prize(Columbia SC) The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) announces the creation of a “Lifetime Achievement” category for their annual book award program, The Southern Book Prize (formerly known as The SIBA Book Award). The new category, 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:

  1. Support for independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general.
  2. Writing that focuses significantly on their own home place.
  3. 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.

Although it is not necessary for a nominated writer to have a new book out in the award year, nominated writers must be living, and must have books in print. Nominations must come from SIBA member bookstores. The Legacy Award provides an opportunity for its member stores to recognize writers who have been important in their community.

Both a donation to the Pat Conroy Literary Center and a donation to a literary entity close to the heart of the writer will be made in the name of the Legacy Award recipient.

In 2016, SIBA rechristened its annual SIBA Book Award as The Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize to honor Conroy and his profound impact on Southern literary life. Although it was intended as a one-time event, the booksellers immediately responded with names of writers they felt deserved that recognition. The Conroy Legacy Award was created to celebrate the deep connections between independent bookstores and the writers in their communities.

“The Conroy Legacy Award,” says SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell, “is our way of honoring the strong connection and partnership between writers and independent booksellers. We are all deeply involved in the literary life, in the life of the book, and in telling the story of our home place.”  

(Columbia, SC) In an effort to expand exposure to its bookstore members and their customers to books by people of color, starting February 1 SIBA is offering a 35% discount to publishers who wish to promote authors and illustrators of color for 2017.  Any book that has been written or illustrated by a person of color is eligible for the discount, which applies to all SIBA promotions with the exception of its annual Holiday Catalog, a shared revenue product.

“We had a strong call from our members to increase diversity in SIBA programming,” said Executive Director Wanda Jewell, “and to work with stores to increase the demand for diverse books,” adding that SIBA has already made an internal commitment to promote diverse authors and books in its consumer-targeted programs, such as the Lady Banks Commonplace Book newsletter.

“But it is an all-hands-on-deck process,” she added, “our booksellers are deeply committed to diversity, and we want publishers to see our membership as an enthusiastic and profitable audience for their divese writers.”

By offering the discount on SIBA promotional programs, Jewell hopes that publishers will not only send more diverse authors to SIBA territory, but also that they will see the benefit of committing more promotional dollars to their books as a whole.

For more information, contact: Wanda Jewell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The 2017 Winter Okra Picks have been selected: a flavor-filled collection of new Southern books hand-picked by Southern indie booksellers–people with impeccable taste in books... 

All Winter Okra picks have a strong Southern focus and publish between January and March, and all have fans among Southern indie booksellers: the people who are always looking out for the next great writer to fill your reading plate. So the next time you visit your local Southern indie bookstore and someone says, "You've got to read this!" and hands you one of these tasty titles, dig in and ask for a second helping. Great books are always good for you!

The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis
Hogarth, Hardcover, 9780451495648, 368pp.
Publication Date: March 7, 2017

The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish
HarperCollins, Hardcover, 9780062433381, 368pp. 
Publication Date: January 24, 2017

Eveningland: Stories by Michael Knight
Atlantic Monthly Press, Hardcover, 9780802125972, 304pp. 
Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell; Shadra Strickland (illus.)
Chronicle Books, Hardcover, 9781452125909, 260pp. 
Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Mercies in Disguise by Gina Kolata
St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9781250064349, 272pp. 
Publication Date: March 21, 2017

My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King
Henry Holt & Company, Hardcover, 9781627795982, 368pp. 
Publication Date: January 17, 2017

One Good Mama Bone by Bren McClain
University of South Carolina Press, Hardcover, 9781611177466, 280pp. 
Publication Date: February 14, 2017

Pure Heart: A Spirited Tale of Grace, Grit and Whiskey by Troy Ball
Dey Street Books, Hardcover, 9780062458971, 288pp. 
Publication Date: February 7, 2017

The River of Kings by Taylor Brown
St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9781250111753, 336pp. 
Publication Date: March 21, 2017

The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers
Algonquin Books, Hardcover, 9781616205812, 272pp. 
Publication Date: January 10, 2017

Signals: New and Selected Stories by Tim Gautreaux
Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9780451493040, 384pp. 
Publication Date: January 17, 2017

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson
St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9781250135995, 240pp. 
Publication Date: January 17, 2017