Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction

by Mindy Friddle

The closest I've felt to gripping an Oscar...
was being presented the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction October 19th at the New York Yacht Club.

I'd like to thank the Academy...

Thanks to Reba Williams, founder of the award, and Dave Williams, her husband, and the judges who decided on SECRET KEEPERS as the winner, I had a heavenly week.

The Willie Morris Award is a gem for southern writers--and readers.

I pinched myself a lot. My arm was purple.

On that Monday, I attended a luncheon hosted by the Williams at their Fifth Avenue apartment. The judges of the award were in attendance, as well as my editor, and my husband in his new suit [my treat--he needed one, and if you're going to the Yacht Club, a suit is advisable.]

The Yacht Club reception that night include champagne and gorgeous food I was too nervous to eat. One hundred people were there--a warm, attentive audience!--each presented with a copy of SECRET KEEPERS.

I gave a speech. I mentioned a Willie Morris truism: "My town is the place which shaped me into the creature I am now."  I love that quote.  I know that quote. 

The Willie Morris Award includes an expense paid trip to New York, and a cash award of $2,500.

My friends, if you have a southern author in mind who has had a book published in 2010, a book set in the South, a book that "may contain violence and despair, and feature terrible events, but in the final analysis must be uplifting, and suggest hope and optimism," nominate them for this award--and send in a copy of their galley or book to Reba for consideration.

Read the award criteria here.

The spirit of the winning novel should reflect these words of Willie's, "hope for belonging, for belief in a people's better nature, for steadfastness against all that is hollow or crass or rootless or destructive." It is chosen for the quality of its prose, originality, and authenticity of setting and characters.

Among those attending the reception were David, Aurora and James, editors and publicists from Picador.
Mindy Friddle is the author of The Garden Angel (St. Martin's Press/Picador), selected for Barnes and Noble's Discover Great New Writers program in 2004. 
Her second novel, Secret Keepers (St. Martin 's Press/Picador), won the 2009 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction.



Peggy Webb said...

Congratulations, Mindy! Willie is from my home state. He was not only a talented writer, but also a tireless promoter of great writing. You have every right to be proud.

Unknown said...

Wow! Congratulations! And what a nice set of objectives this award has. A great and well-deserved honor.

Allison said...

Congrats, Mindy! You definitely deserve it!

Mindy said...

Thank you Peggy, Lynn and Allison. The award is one of the most generous for southern writers, so I'm happy to share the criteria.
I read more and more on Willie Morris this summer and I'm a fan.

A Good Blog Is Hard to Find said...

Oh, Mindy! Congratulations!!! pch

site said...

Of course, the writer is totally fair.