The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has announced the finalists for the 2017 Southern Book Prizes divided into interesting and unusual categories. As a Family Life Novel, Ron Rash’s The Risen is one of three finalists. Two of the four finalists for Literary Novels are Fallen Land by Taylor Brown and Over Plain Houses by Julia Franks. Robert Morgan’s Chasing the North Star is one of three finalists for Historical Novels. Two of the four finalists for Mystery and Detective Novels are Sharyn McCrumb’s Prayers the Devil Answers and Ann D. Ross’s Miss Julia Inherits a Mess. Sheryl Monks’ Monsters in Appalachia is one of six finalists in the short stories category. In Biography, Autobiography and Memoir, two of the four finalists are Lee Smith’s Dimestore and Chris Offutt’s My Father the Pornographer. In Cooking, Victuals: An Appalachian Journey with Recipes by Ronni Lundy is one of three finalists. In Creative Nonfiction Truevine by Beth Macy and Poems: New and Selected by Ron Rash (interesting category placement!) and Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance are three of the five finalists.
Imagine Entertainment has won the film rights to J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy in an auction. Ron Howard will direct and produce the film with his partner, Brian Grazer. Erica Huggins will be a co-producer.
Ron Rash has been selected for a $50,000 Guggenheim Fellow for 2017. He is one of 173 scholars, artists, and scientists nation-wide honored “on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.”
Ronni Lundy received the James Beard Foundation award for Book of the Year at that culinary organization’s media awards night, April 25th! Her book, Victuals: An Appalachian Journey also won the James Beard Award in the American Cooking cookbook category.
Loyal Jones received the Tony Turner Award from the East Kentucky Leadership Conference at its annual meeting in April. This prestigious award is not given every year, but only when a truly outstanding contribution to the region is recognized. Loyal Jones was the founding director of the Appalachian Center at Berea College, the very first Center of its kind. He is the author of numerous books on the music, the values, the religion, and the humor of his native Appalachian region. The University of Illinois Press plans to release his next book, My Curious and Jocular Heroes: Tales and Tale-Spinners from Appalachia next August. Cratis Wlliams, Leonard Roberts, Josiah Combs, and Bascom Lunsford are Jones’ heroes whose wit and wisdom he shares in this forthcoming book.