Each year, hundreds of booksellers across the South vote on their favorite hand-sell books of the year. These are the Southern books they have most enjoyed selling to customers; the ones that they couldn’t stop talking about; the ones most often pushed into a customer’s hands with the words “You have got to read this!” The SIBA Book Award was created to recognize great books of Southern origin, as determined by people whose business it is to know great books—the independent booksellers of the South.
Books are nominated in six categories, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, cooking, young adult and children’s. For a book to be eligible, it must be set in the South, and it must have been originally published within the 2008 calendar year. Only SIBA-member booksellers can submit nominations and vote on the selection of finalists. Winners will be chosen from the list of finalists by a jury of SIBA booksellers.
UNC Press titles made an impression in two categories this year, cooking and nonfiction:
In the cooking category, Holy Smoke is one of 12 finalists. Says one bookseller, it’s “part cookbook, part elegy for a passing way of life, part treasure trove of secret recipes. This is the best barbecue book for anyone east of the Appalachians.”
In the nonfiction category, Without Precedent is one of 20 finalists. Syndicated columnist D. G. Martin said, “Glowing praise may not sufficiently describe the merit of this book and the high standard it sets as an example of how to tell the story of an important person.”
You can see lists of finalists in all six categories, as well as previous years’ winners, at SIBA’s awards page.
Our congratulations and good luck to authors John and Dale Reed, Will McKinney, and Anna Hayes!