Books All Georgians Should Read

Authors of the Month: October

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:Literary Awards:

The Georgia Center for the Book is the co-sponsor of the major literary awards presented in the state of Georgia.


The Townsend Prize

The winner of the 2012 Townsend Award for fiction is Thomas Mullen of Decatur for his novel, “The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers.” The novel is the second written by Mullen, though he has since published a third. Mullen, 37, received the award, — $2,000 and a silver commemorative tray — at ceremonies at the Atlanta Botanical Garden on April 26.

The Townsend Prize for fiction is awarded every other year to the Georgia writer judged to have produced the best work of fiction or short stories in the previous two years. It was created in 1981 in honor of the founding editor of Atlanta magazine, Jim Townsend.

The award was administered by Georgia State University from 1981-1997 and by Georgia Perimeter College with the Chattahoochee Review from 1997-2008. The award is co-sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book and the Southern Academy for Literary Awards at Georgia Perimeter College.

The final nominated books for the 2012 Townsend Award include:

  • Perfect Peace
    Daniel Black
  • Reign of Madness
    Lynn Cullen
  • Ghost on Black Mountain
    Ann Hite
  • Backseat Saints
    Joshilyn Jackson
  • Remain in Light
    Collin Kelley
  • The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers
    Thomas Mullen
  • A Marriage of Convenience
    Andrew Plattner
  • My Bright Midnight
    Josh Russell
  • A Curable Romantic
    Joseph Skibell
  • The Stranger You Seek
    Amanda Kyle Williams

Previous winners of the Townsend Prize are:

  • The Help (2010)
    Kathryn Stockett
  • A Cabinet of Wonders (2008)
    Renee Dodd
  • Sabbath Creek (2006)
    Judson Mitcham
  • The Valley of Light (2004)
    Terry Kay
  • The Bridegroom: Stories (2002)
    Ha Jin
  • Daughter of My People (2000)
    James Kilgo
  • The Sweet Everlasting (1998)
    Judson Mitcham
  • Some Personal Papers (1996)
    JoAllen Bradham
  • The Laughing Place (1994)
    Pam Durban
  • When All the World Was Young (1991)
    Ferrol Sams
  • The Lives of the Dead (1990)
    Charlie Smith
  • Alice (1989)
    Sara Flanigan
  • And Venus is Blue (1986)
    Mary Hood
  • The Heart of a Distant Forest (1986)
    Philip Lee Williams
  • The Color Purple (1984)
    Alice Walker
  • Children, My Children (1982)
    Celestine Sibley


The Lindberg Award

The Stanley W. Lindberg Award was presented biennially from 1999-2007 and co-sponsored by the Center for the Book. It was named for Stanley W. Lindberg, editor of The Georgia Review 1977-2000 and honored a Georgia man or woman who made important contributions to the state’s literary culture through a lifetime of work and accomplishment.

The Lindberg Award winners are:

  • 2007: Terry Kay, Hart County native, Georgia Writers Hall of Fame inductee and author of more than a dozen acclaimed works of fiction
  • 2005: Tina McElroy Ansa, Macon native, writing teacher and author of novels including Baby of the Family and Ugly Ways
  • 2003: Bettie Sellers, spent most of her life near Young Harris, former Poet Laureate of Georgia, author of more than a half dozen volumes of poetry and essays
  • 2001: Marion Montgomery, acclaimed writer and critic and long-time faculty member at the University of Georgia
  • 1999: Pat Conroy, native of Atlanta, author of bestselling novels including South of Broad, Beach Music and The Prince of Tides


The Lillian Smith Award

Nominate a book for the Lillian Smith Book Award

The Lillian Smith Award was established by the Atlanta-based Southern Regional Council shortly after the death of the Georgia author in 1966. The award is presented annually to authors whose books are outstanding creative achievements which demonstrate through literary merit and moral vision an honest representation of the South, its people, its problems, and its promises.

In 2004, the Southern Regional council entered into a partnership with the University of Georgia Libraries, which now administers the awards. In 2007, the Georgia Center for the Book joined the partnership as a co-sponsor to help the awards reach a wider audience.

The winners of the 2012 Lillian Smith Award are Writing the South Through Self: Explorations in Southern Autobiography by John C. Inscoe published by the University of Georgia Press, and Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement by Tomiko Brown-Nagin published by Oxford University Press.

Writing the South Through Self examines Southern history through the autobiographies and memoirs of those who lived it. Maya Angelou, Thomas Wolfe, Jimmy Carter, Willie Morris and Lillian Smith are among those discussed whose lives offer challenging, sometimes startling insights into some of the most complex themes of Southern life: conflicts of race, ethnics and class. Inscoe is Albert B. Saye Professor of History and University Professor at the University of Georgia and the author/editor of several notable books. He is secretary-treasurer of the Southern Historical Association.

Courage to Dissent is a sweeping history of the Civil Rights Movement in the largest and most economically important city in the South. Extending from the 1940s into the 1980s, the book shows the movement brought forth a number of activists with diverse, sophisticated approaches not just to ending segregation but also in support of other goals. The author makes clear there was no single face of the movement nor a sole agenda, and she tellingly charts the clashes that erupted between those within the movement. Brown-Nagin is the Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of History at the University of Virginia.

The winners were honored at the 2012 AJC Decatur Book Festival.

Previous Lillian Smith Book Award Winners:

  • 2011: At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance — A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Danielle L. McGuire. Sacrifice Zones: The Front Lines of Toxic Chemical Exposure in the United States by Steve Lerner
  • 2010: The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss by Charles W. Eagles. Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940 by Amy Louise Wood.
  • 2009: Ariela J. Gross, What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America; Bob Zellner with Constance Curry, The Wrong Side of Murder Creek.
  • 2008: Joseph Crespino, In Search of Another Country; Wesley C. Hogan, Many Minds, One Heart.
  • 2007: Matthew D. Lassiter, The Silent Majority; Natasha Trethewey, Native Guard.
  • 2006: W. Fitzhugh Brundage, The Southern Past; Heather A. Williams, African American Education in Slavery and Freedom.
  • 2005: Stephanie H.M. Camp, Closer to Freedom; Frye Gaillard, Cradle of Freedom; Tayari Jones, The Untelling.
  • 2004: Barbara Ramsey, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement; Elizabeth Varon, Southern Lady, Yankee Spy; Frank X. Walker, Buffalo Dance.
  • 2002: Anthony Grooms, Bombingham; Mark Newman, Getting Right with God: Southern Baptists and Desegregation, 1945-1995; William H. Chafee, Raymond Gavins, Robert Korstad (editors), Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Talk About Life in the Segregated South.
  • 2001: Hal Crowther, Cathedrals of Kudzu; Pam Durban, So Far Back; Robert P. Moses & Charles E. Cobb, Radical Equations; Natasha Trethewey, Domestic Work.
  • 2000: Lawrence N. Powell, Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, The Holocaust and David Duke’s Louisiana; Andrew M. Manis, A Fire You Can’t Put Out; Michael Keith Honey, Black Workers Remember.
  • 1999: J. Morgan Kousser, Colorblind justice: Minority Voting Rights and the Undoing of the Second Reconstruction; Leroy Davis, A Clashing of the Soul.
  • 1998: John Lewis, Walking with the Wind; Elizabeth Cox, Night Talk.
  • 1997: John M. Barry, The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America; Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain.
  • 1996: Michael D’Orso, Like Judgment Day; Constance Curry, Silver Rights; Anthony Grooms, Trouble No More .
  • 1995: Charles M. Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom; Adam Fairclough, Race & Democracy; Mary Lee Settle, Choices.
  • 1994: John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery; Henry Louis Gates Jr., Colored People; John Dittmer, Local People: the Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi.
  • 1993: Charles W. Eagles, Outside Agitator; William Baldwin, The Hard to Catch Mercy; Margaret Rose Gladney, How Am I to be Heard?
  • 1992: Marian Wright Edelman, The Measure of Our Success; Melissa Fay Greene, Praying for Sheetrock; Denise Giardina, The Unquiet Earth.
  • 1991: J.L. Chesnut Jr. & Julia Cass, Black in Selma; Mary Ward Brown, Tongues of Flame.
  • 1990: Wayne Flynt, Poor But Proud: Alabama’s Poor Whites; Dori Sanders: Clover.
  • 1989: Melany Nielson, Even Mississippi; Madison Smartt Bell, Soldier’s Joy; Gloria Naylor, Mama Day.
  • 1988: Melton A. McLaurin, Separate Pasts; C. Eric Lincoln, The Avenue: Clayton City.
  • 1987: Thomas L. Johnson & Phillip C. Dunn, A True Likeness: The Black South of Richard Samuel Roberts, 1920-1936; Pauli Murray, Song in a Weary Throat: An American Pilgrimage; Mary Hood, And Venus is Blue.
  • 1986: A.J. Mojtabai, Blessed Assurance: At Home with the Bomb in Amarillo.
  • 1985: James Farmer, Lay Bare the Heart; Peter Taylor, The old Forest and Other Stories.
  • 1984: John Egerton, Generation: An American Family; Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens; Eudora Welty, Special Lifetime Award,
  • 1983: Fred Hobson, South-Watching: Selected Essays; Roy Hoffman, Almost Family.
  • 1982: Harry S. Ashmore, Hearts and Minds: The anatomy of Racism from Roosevelt to Reagan; John Ehle, The Winter People .
  • 1981: John Gaventa, Power and Powerlessness; Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline.
  • 1980: Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Revolt Against Chivalry; Cormac McCarthy, Suttree.
  • 1979: Marion Wright & Arnold Shankman, Human Rights Odyssey; Ernest J. Gaines, In My Father’s House.
  • 1978: Will D. Campbell, Brother to a Dragonfly; Garrett Epps, The Shad Treatment.
  • 1977: Alex Haley, Roots; Richard Kluger: Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle for Equality.
  • 1976: James Loewen & Charles Saillis, Mississippi: Conflict and Change; Reynolds Price, The Surface of Earth.
  • 1974: C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow; Albert Murray, Train Whistle Guitar.
  • 1973: Harold Martin, Ralph McGill, Reporter; Alice Walker, Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems.
  • 1972: Robert Coles: Children of Crisis, Volume II: Migrant’s, Sharecroppers, and Mountaineers.
  • 1971: Anthony Dunbar, Our Land, Too.
  • 1970: Paul Gaston, The New South Creed.
  • 1969: Dan T. Carter, Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South.
  • 1968: George M. Tindall: The Emergence of the New South, 1913 – 1945.