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.  

MockingbirdChildren’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.

Southern My WayCooking 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. 

Burning Bright: StoriesFiction 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.

Blueberry YearsNonfiction 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"

House of BranchesPoetry 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.

CountdownYoung 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 sibaweb.com/siba-book-award.