Congratulations to the winners of the Willie Morris Awards!
2018 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction: The Past Is Never by Tiffany Quay Tyson
2019 Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry: Melissa Cannon, “Mercury Poises on the Pinnacle of Nashville’s Bygone Union Station”
The Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction
The Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction is named for the late author, Willie Morris, and the spirit of the winning novel should reflect his words, “hope for belonging, for belief in a people’s better nature, for steadfastness against all that is hollow or crass or rootless or destructive.” The selected book may contain violence and despair, and feature terrible events, but in the final analysis must be uplifting, and suggest hope and optimism.
The winning book is chosen for the quality of its prose, its originality, its sense of place and period, and the authenticity and appeal of its characters. The book should be set in one of the following Southern states:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
It must be published in the year designated. For example, the book that received the award in October, 2017—Kim Wright’s Last Ride to Graceland—was published in 2016. Books published in 2019 are being considered for the prize now.
Short stories and linked short stories are not eligible. The winning book must be a classic novel, of at least 50,000 words. Non-fictional references and passages are acceptable only if in moderation.
The recipient of the Willie Morris Award receives $10,000.00, and an expense paid trip to New York City. The author must come to NY to receive the award, attend a luncheon with the contest judges and a reception in his/her honor. At the reception copies of the book are given to those attending, and the author is available to sign them. On that same evening, the author makes a few remarks about the book. Last year, more than 100 invited guests attended the reception; and nearly 100 books were given away. The reception is held in a large and attractive room—in past years, the ballroom of the Cosmopolitan Club, an equivalent space at the Knickerbocker Club. Since 2011, the reception has been held at New York Yacht Club, considered one of the most beautiful venues in the city.
The winning book and author are announced in literary journals, such as Publisher’s Weekly, Oxford American and Poets & Writers and assorted regional magazines. This same announcement solicits books from publishers and booksellers for current year candidates. The deadline for 2019 books is Friday, February, 28, 2020.
Previous Awards are listed below:
Special Recognition: The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor
Special Recognition: Sarah Addison Allen
Those who wish to be considered for the prize should read previous winners.
For next year’s award, publishers and authors are invited to send one copy of a book published in 2019 to:
Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction
Department of Writing & Rhetoric
615 Grove Loop
3rd Floor Lamar Hall, Suite B
University, MS 38677-1848
For additional information, inquire via email:
Reba White Williams and Dave Williams