Converse Professor Wins SC First Novel Prize
The South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press announce Susan Tekulve of Converse College as the winner of the 2012 South Carolina First Novel Competition. Tekulve’s novel, In the Garden of Stone, 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, In the Garden of Stone 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 Fifty-five unpublished manuscripts were submitted.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.
About Hub City Press
Hub City Press, a nonprofit press in Spartanburg, S.C., has published more than 50 books by regional authors, won eight national IPPY awards from Independent Publisher magazine, is a recipient of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts, and has partnered with the S.C. Arts Commission on four previous book projects. For more information, call (864) 577-9349.
About the South Carolina Arts Commission
The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. For more information, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.
The South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press announce 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.
About Susan Tekulve
Tekulve’s short stories and travel essays have appeared in journals such as Denver Quarterly, Beloit Fiction Journal, ACM, Indiana Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Literary Review, The Georgia Review, Connecticut Review, Shenandoah, New Letters, Best New Writing 2007, Black Warrior Review, and Puerto Del Sol. Her story collection, My Mother’s War Stories, received the 2004 Winnow Press fiction prize. In addition she has received a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Scholarship, a Tennessee Williams Fiction Scholarship at the 2008 Sewanee Writers Conference, and she was the first alternate for the 1999 South Carolina Fiction Fellowship. Her full-length short story collection, Rooms People Live In, was a finalist for the 2002 and 2003 G.S. Charat Chandra Prize with BookMark Press.
Her teaching interests include fiction and nonfiction, professional writing, and contemporary fiction. She has taught creative writing study abroad courses in Italy for the Converse College travel study program. In 2004, she received the Kathryn Amelia Brown Teaching Award, and the Editors Choice Award in Best New Writing in 2007.
Tekulve recently published a short story collection, Savage Pilgrims from Serving House Books, and a chapbook entitled Wash Day on WebdelSol.Com.