Sunday, August 4, 2013

SIBA Awards announced, Louisiana books among the honors

            I’m ashamed to admit I miss the announcements of the 2013 SIBA Awards, book honors voted on by Southern independent booksellers for great examples of Southern literature over the past year.
            Shreveport’s own William Joyce was the children’s SIBA winner for “The Fantastic FlyingBooks of Mr. Morris Lessmore” (Atheneum Books for Young Readers). LSU Press was the publisher for the poetry award, “Descent” by Kathryn Stripling Byer.
            Other winners included: 
            “TheBack in the Day Bakery Cookbook” by Cheryl and Griffith Day (Artisan Publishers), cooking;
            “ALand More Kind Than Home” by Wiley Cash (William Morrow), fiction;
            “StandUp That Mountain” by Jay Erskine Leutze (Scribner Book Company), nonfiction;
            “ThreeTimes Lucky” by Sheila Turnage” (Dial Books for Young Readers), young adult.
            A few of the nominees that I would also recommend reading are “Fred Thompson’sSouthern Sides: 250 Dishes That Really Make the Plate” by Fred Thompson (University of North Carolina Press), “The Accidental City: Improvising NewOrleans” by Lawrence N. Powell (Harvard University Press), “Mastering theArt of Southern Cooking” by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart (Gibbs Smith Publishers) and “Around the Southern Table: Coming Home to ComfortingMeals and Treasured Memories” by Rebecca Lang (Oxmoor House).           
            For more information, visit
New releases
            The life, loves and battles of a young U.S. naval officer from the Barbary War of 1803 through the War of 1812 and the super frigate he designed and sails into combat against the world’s greatest navy is the basis of O’Neil de Noux’s latest book, “USS Relentless.” The saga is available as a trade paperback at or or at the author’s web site at
            Rick Koster, author of two books about Southern music, “Texas Music” and “Louisiana Music,” has published a horror e-book titled “Poppin’ a Cold One” by eKensington. The story revolves around a funeral home embalmer who discovers that a co-worker is doing more to the bodies than dressing them for burial. The ensuing adventure involves a New Orleans detective and a former rock musician turned casino mogul.

Writing workshops
            The Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Miss., has chosen a new Artist in Residence program featuring writer and poet, Benjamin Morris. Morris will lead a week-long series of events to include a five-day residency, a public reading and a full-day writer’s workshop incorporating the permanent collections and new exhibitions at WAMA. There will be an Inter-Arts Panel Discussion on Aug. 9, moderated by Dr. Philip Levin, president of the Gulf Coast Writers Association; a Writing Workshop Aug. 10, and a Reception and Public Reading, Aug. 11 in the Ocean Springs Community Center. For information on the writing workshop or to reserve a spot in the class, email Amelia Halstead at
            The Heart of Louisiana chapter of Romance Writers of America has announced its fall reader luncheon as Nov. 16 in Baton Rouge with best-selling author Maya Banks as the keynote speaker. For information, visit

Book events
            Chuck Hustmyre will read from “The Axman of New Orleans” today at the literary reading series in the patio of the Maple Leaf Bar, 8316 Oak St. in New Orleans.
            Lolis Eric Elie signs “Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans” from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. today at Pirate’s Alley Words and Music on the second floor gallery of the Cabildo at Jackson Square, New Orleans. The event is free with RSVP by email to Elie will also sign from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at a cocktail and author dinner at Susan Spicer’s Bayona Restaurant in New Orleans ($40 plus tax, drinks and gratuity). For information and to RSVP to the dinner, call (504) 525-4455.
            The Northshore Literary Society will host a “Sunday Salon” from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. today at St. John’s Coffee House in Covington. Local author Pamela Binnings Ewen will speak about the changes in publishing and how these changes affect both readers and writers. There will be light refreshments, wine and soft drinks for a $10 fee but free to Society members. For information, visit           
            George Bishop discusses and signs his latest book, “The Night of the Comet,” at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and the upcoming “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at Visit her web site