Browsing articles from "June, 2012"
Jun 26, 2012
Curtis Rogers

Spartanburg Writer Named Winner of South Carolina First Novel Prize

The South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press recently announced Susan Tekulve of Spartanburg as the winner of the 2012 South Carolina First Novel Competition. Tekulve’s novel, The Stranger Room, will be published by Hub City Press of Spartanburg and debut at the South Carolina Book Festival in May 2013.

“This novel is a beautifully written saga telling the story of successive generations of a West Virginia family living out their lives in one particular spot of earth,” said competition judge and novelist Josephine Humphreys. “There’s a remarkable sensitivity to the mystery of how place affects human souls, and descriptions of the land are masterful, always interesting and never overdone, integrated seamlessly into the narrative. This is a writer who definitely has what it takes to continue on to more books and make a real contribution to Southern literature.”

Tekulve, an associate professor of English at Converse College, describes her novel this way: “Set in the coal country valleys and mountains of Virginia and West Virginia, The Stranger Room is a multi-generational tale about the nature of power and pride, love and loss, and how one family endures estrangement from their land and each other in order to unearth the rich seams of forgiveness.”

Tekulve’s 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.

Other finalists in the biennial competition were Kam Neely of Spartanburg, Mark Sibley-Jones of Greer and Alexis L. Stratton of Columbia. Fifty-five unpublished manuscripts were submitted.

“The First Novel competition gives our state the distinction of awarding one of the few novel prizes in the country and brings national attention to South Carolina as a place with wonderful literary opportunities,” said Sara June Goldstein, Literary Arts Director at the South Carolina Arts Commission. “It is a unique way to appreciate the depth and breadth of the work of our remarkable writers, and then to get the best of that fine writing into the hands of readers.”

The two previous First Novel winners are Brian Ray of Columbia, author of Through the Pale Door (2008), selected by Percival Everett; and Matt Matthews of Greenville, author of Mercy Creek (2010), selected by Bret Lott.

Partnering again with the S.C. Arts Commission and Hub City Press for this competition are The Humanities CouncilSC and the South Carolina State Library.

For more information about the First Novel Competition, visit or call (803) 734-8696; or (864) 577-9349.

Jun 6, 2012
Curtis Rogers

Letters About Literature 2012 Awards Ceremony Photos

 Visit the South Carolina State Library’s flickr site to see more photos from the awards ceremony!