Editor’s Note: Just wanted to share this bit of happy news with you all. Mother of Rain has been chosen as one of the debut novels competing for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize. I get all water-eyed about this because I know some of these other writers and know how fabulous their work is, so I’m humbled to be walking through the high cotton alongside them. Thank you to everyone who bought Mother of Rain, who read it and who loved it. I’m busy working on the sequel now. Due out Fall, 2015. In a week of some pretty awful news worldwide, it was lovely to get this notice in my inbox. Please have a glass of wine in celebration with me, won’t you? FOR RELEASE: August 8, 2014 Crook’s Corner Book Prize Announces Longlist CHAPEL HILL, NC— The Crook’s Corner Book Prize Foundation announces its annual longlist of best debut novels set in the American South.
Queen Sugar, by Natalie Baszile / A Pamela Dorman book/
Viking Byrd, by Kim Church / Dzanc Books
The Resurrectionist, by Matthew Guinn / W.W. Norton
Flying Shoes, by Lisa Howorth / Bloomsbury USA
Remember Me Like This, by Bret Anthony Johnston / Random House
I Shall Be Near To You, by Erin Lindsay McCabe / Crown
Heart of Palm, by Laura Lee Smith / Grove Press
In the Garden of Stone, by Susan Tekulve / Hub City Press
Saint Monkey, by Jacinda Townsend / W.W. Norton
The Ways of the Dead, by Neely Tucker / Viking
Mother of Rain, by Karen Spears Zacharias / Mercer University
The eleven books that made the Crook’s Corner Book Prize Longlist were published between January 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, and were selected from entries submitted by major publishers, independent publishers and self-publishers. The goal of the Crook’s Corner Book Prize is to encourage new writers.
“This wonderful longlist will give readers and booksellers an opportunity to discover some exceptional new talent,” said Anna Hayes, founder and president of the Crook’s Corner Book Prize Foundation.
In November a shortlist will be announced and from these finalists author Randall Kenan will select the winner, to be announced in January 2015. “With Wiley Cash winning the first annual prize last year for his astonishing debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, we knew we were off to a great start, and I am happy to report that our readers’ committee feels we have extremely strong contenders this year,” Hayes said.
This past year’s winner was Wiley Cash (Far Left)
“This grassroots effort to discover and champion books in general, Southern literature in particular, is amazing and refreshing,” said Jamie Fiocco, owner of Flyleaf Bookstore and president of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. “The Crook’s Corner Book Prize Longlist is a great example of what independent booksellers have been doing for years: finding top-quality reading experiences, regardless of the book’s origin—small or large publisher. Readers trust the rich literary history of the South to deliver a sense of place and great characters; now this Prize lets readers learn about the cream of the crop of new storytellers. We are making a display highlighting these books as recommended reading and encourage other indy stores to do the same.”
ABOUT THE CROOK’S CORNER BOOK PRIZE Modeled on the literary prizes offered by famous Parisian cafés, the Crook’s Corner Book Prize is given in association with the iconic Crook’s Corner Café and Bar, a James Beard America’s Classic restaurant, in Chapel Hill, NC. The winner of the Crook’s Corner Book Prize will receive a cash prize of $1000 and—in a nod to the French café tradition and inspiration for the award—a free glass of wine each day the author visits the restaurant, during the prize year. “The linkages between good writing and good food and drink are clear and persistent,” said John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance. “I can’t imagine a better means of celebrating their entwining than this innovative award. The only fault I find is with the beverage that will be tendered to the winner. Bourbon seems a better choice.”