South Carolina First Novel Prize
The South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press, and their literary partners announce Susan Tekulve of Spartanburg as the winner of the 2012 South Carolina First Novel Prize. Tekulve’s novel, The Stranger Room, will be published by Hub City Press and debut at the South Carolina Book Festival in May 2013. The distinguished judge was Josephine Humphreys, a Charleston novelist whose latest book is Nowhere Else on Earth.
Partnering in 2012 with the SC Arts Commission and Hub City Press for this competition were the The Humanities Council SC and the South Carolina State Library. The winning author receives a book contract with the Hub City Press, an award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, S.C. The winner also receives a $500 advance against royalties, and Hub City publishes at least 1,500 paperback copies of the book. The book is nationally distributed through John F. Blair Co. of Winston-Salem, N.C.
Matt Matthews of Greer was the winner of the second novel competition and his book, Mercy Creek, was published in 2011. The book sold out two hardback editions and was released in December 2011 in paperback and e-book format. Publishers Weekly called the book “an enticing full-blown whodunnit ... a first-rate effort displaying skill, sensitivity, and grace.”
Matthews has toured the Southeast with Mercy Creek and participated in the Southern Independent Booksellers Association annual trade show and the South Carolina Book Festival. “Working with Hub City Press has been exhilarating,” Matthews said. “I really appreciate the relationships that I have begun with libraries around the state and the Arts Commission, which does such a great job supporting the arts statewide.”
Brian Ray of Columbia was the winner of the inaugural competition. His book, Through the Pale Door, was published in June 2009 and was widely and favorably reviewed across the Southeast. Booklist gave it a starred review and called Ray “a talent to watch.” It received an IPPY award for best novel in the Southeast by an independent press.
For information about First Novel Competition eligibility requirements and application guidelines, visit http://www.SouthCarolinaArts.com/firstnovel or call (803) 734-8696.
Ray grew up in Marietta, Ga., and now lives in Greensboro, NC, where he is completing a doctorate in English. He earned his master’s degree in fine arts from the University of South Carolina, where he taught courses in writing and literature. His book tour has included stops at the Decatur Book Festival, the North Carolina Books Festival and the South Carolina Book Festival. (See video below)
Matthews studied journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University, then went to Union Seminary in Richmond. He lived in Arkansas and Virginia's Eastern Shore before moving to Greenville, SC to become pastor of St. Giles Presbyterian Chruch.
Tekulve is an associate professor of English at Converse College. Her nonfiction, short stories and travel essays have appeared in numerous journals, including Denver Quarterly, Beloit Fiction Journal, The Literary Review and The Georgia Review. Her story collection, My Mother's War Stories, received the 2004 Winnow Press fiction prize. Tekulve recently published a short story collection, Savage Pilgrims, from Serving House Books.