• 54°

Hart, Harvey among nominees for Southern Book Prizes


Kristy Woodson Harvey

By D.G. Martin

North Carolina Bookwatch

On July 4, SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Association) will announce the winners of its Southern Book Prizes.

North Carolina connected nominees include Lee Smith for “Dime Store,” John Hart for “Redemption Road,” Kristy Woodson Harvey for “Lies and Other Acts of Love,” Robert Morgan for “Chasing the North Star,” and Vivian Howard for “Deep Run Roots.”

“North Carolina Bookwatch” featured these books recently. During June, UNC-TV will re-air those programs.

Lee Smith’s memoir, coming after her 13 novels and numerous short stories, gives her many fans a chance to know her as well as her good friends do. She shares her childhood years in a small Appalachian coal-mining town and her times working, writing and raising a family here in North Carolina. It gives clues about how her life influenced her writing.

She explains, “This is an enviable life, to live in the terrain of one’s heart. Most writers don’t — can’t — do this. Most of us are always searching, through our work and in our lives: for meaning, for love, for home. Writing is about these things. And as writers, we cannot choose our truest material. But sometimes we are lucky enough to find it.”

John Hart’s “Redemption Road,” followed four best-selling, prize-winning thrillers that gained praise for their clever story lines. Fellow author David Baldacci says the book’s “prologue is heart-wrenching and the chapters thereafter pull you in like matter to a black hole.” Reviewers praise his beautiful writing. Some compare his lyrical descriptions to poetry.

The book introduces more than 30 characters. None is more important or complicated than Detective Elizabeth Black, herself an accused murderer. She is determined to find justice for Adrian Wall, a wrongly, she thinks, convicted murderer. The connections among the characters help drive a plot scheme that will satisfy readers even as it horrifies them.

Hart grew up in Salisbury and so did Kristy Woodson Harvey. Less than a year after the publication of “Dear Carolina,” her successful debut, her second, “Lies and Other Acts of Love,” drew favorable attention.  It is a heart-rending account of four generations of an Eastern North Carolina family in transition. The two leading characters who tell the story are Lynn “Lovey” White, a grandmother whose husband is fading away after 60 years of marriage, and her granddaughter, Annabelle, who has changing ideas about who and what she wants in a husband.

Harvey’s book will entertain, challenge and surprise its readers.  With her third novel, “Slightly South of Simple,” already on bookstore shelves, Harvey proves she is a prolific force in Southern literature.

Robert Morgan’s latest novel, “Chasing the North Star,” recently out in paperback, is set in pre-Civil War times. It follows a crafty teenaged runaway slave on a northward journey towards freedom. From the Carolina mountains all the way to Ithaca, N.Y., he finds dangers, adventures and comedy. Early on he meets a young enslaved woman who decides to follow him. Sometimes together, sometimes separated, they make their sometimes different ways towards freedom.

Vivian Howard has become nationally known as host of public television’s popular program, “A Chef’s Life.” She says that her book “is the story of my life so far, told through the ingredients that fill the plates and pantries of my home: Deep Run, North Carolina.”

She organized her book in a new way. Not by collections of similar dishes like salads, appetizers, main dishes and desserts, but by foods, the raw ingredients. She gives chapters to sweet potatoes, corn, eggs, watermelon, and many others that are seasonally available in Deep Run, near Kinston, site of Howard’s Chef & the Farmer restaurant.

Other North Carolina connected finalists include Ron Rash for “The Risen,” Ross Howell Jr. for “Forsaken,” Sharyn McCrumb for “Prayers the Devil Answers” and Ann B. Ross for “Miss Julia Inherits a Mess.”

A complete list of finalists for the Southern Book Award is at www.sibaweb.com/booksellers/book-award-booksellers/654-2017-prize-finalists

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV.

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post


High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs


FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight


Gastonia man sentenced for crash into restaurant that killed his daughter, daughter-in-law


Some call for charges after video of police shooting 13-year-old in Chicago


State unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March


NASCAR approach to virus vaccine varies greatly


Judge rejects Cherokee challenge against new casino in Kings Mountain


Jackson tops NC Senate fundraising; Walker coffers also full


Kiwanis Pankcake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity


Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread


Blotter: Man faces sexual exploitation charge for images on Instagram


Defendant convicted in attempted murder case on the run after fleeing from trial


Downtown Gateway Building to be renamed for late Paul Fisher


Rowan County COVID-19 data for April 15


Rep. Warren’s bill would prohibit parking in electric vehicle charging stations


Historic Preservation Commission approves Integro Technologies expansion, Paint the Pavement project


Faith Academy, RSS will negotiate over what goes, stays in elementary school


Teacher killed in Alamance County shootout with Mexican drug cartel


Bill would give more tax breaks on COVID-19 loans


No response as divers knock on capsized ship’s hull


Quotes of the week


Blotter: Man found on church property with litany of drugs


Man charged in connection to 2019 overdose death


‘It’s our big time’: Salisbury Farmers Market reopens Saturday