The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) has renamed its book awards for one of the South’s most beloved writers: Pat Conroy.
“Pat Conroy has been a force for good in the world of Southern books and literature and we want to acknowledge that,” SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell said about renaming their awards. “He has not just written some of our favorite books, he has been incredibly generous in his support of readers, of booksellers, and of other writers. The world of Southern literature is a rich place today because of the encouragement he extends to new authors and the commitment he has always shown towards the Southern literary community.”
Along with the new name, The Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize also has an expanded list of categories, including:
The Great Santini Fiction Prize
The Prince of Tides Literary Prize
Beach Music Mystery Prize
Lords of Discipline Thriller Prize
The Death of Santini Nonfiction Prize
The Water is Wide History & Life Stories Prize
The Pat Conroy Cookbook Prize
Poppy’s Pants, Jr. Youngsters Prize (Ages 0-9)
Poppy’s Pants Young Adult Prize (Ages 10+)
SIBA received more than 140 nominations for the prize, resulting in what Jewell calls a “dream reading list.” All nominated books had to be Southern in nature, or by a Southern author, and had to have been published in 2015.
SIBA member booksellers will vote on the long list over the month of March, and finalists for each category in the 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize will be announced in April. From there, the 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).
The long list for fiction includes many of the authors we’ve interviewed and books we reviewed in 2015. Some of those are Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews, Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey, Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League by Jonathan Odell, My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh, Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain, Soil by Jamie Kornegay, The Sound of Glass by Karen White and Whisper Hollow by Chris Cander.