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SC Arts Commission Literary Arts Program

FY2010 First Novel Prize


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Matt Mathews Named South Carolina First Novel Contest Winner

2010 First Novel Winner William MatthewsThe S.C. Arts Commission and its literary partners have named William P. “Matt” Matthews of Greer the winner of the 2010 South Carolina First Novel Prize. Matthews receives the opportunity to have his novel, Mercy Creek, published by the Hub City Press, an award-winning independent press in Spartanburg.


Artist Statement

Matthews is pastor of St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Greenville, S.C. He says the novel’s main character has much to gain and everything to lose.


“If 16-year-old Isaac Lawson gets to the bottom of his small town’s crime spree, he’ll win the $5,000 reward but might lose his new best friend and the only things that, so far, are making his loneliest summer ever bearable: his fledgling sense of who he is and nurturing the relationships that really matter,” Matthews said.


“Thanks to the S.C. Arts Commission and Hub City Press, readers will soon be able to meet the vivid characters plucked from Virginia’s Eastern Shore and wade in the healing waters of Mercy Creek,” he added. “I’m thrilled.”

FY2010 First Novel Prize

The First Novel Competition recognizes one of South Carolina's exceptional writers by providing a book contract with the Hub City Writers Project. The competition is a highly competitive, anonymous process. Publication by Hub City of at least 1,500 hardback copies of the book, including a book for every public library branch in the state, will bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and opportunities.


Brian Ray of Columbia was the winner of the inaugural novel competition. His book, Through the Pale Door, was published by Hub City in June 2009.


Contest Judge

Bret Lott judged the contest. Lott is the author of 12 books, most recently Ancient Highway (Random House, 2008). He is a former editor of the Southern Review and teaches creative writing at the College of Charleston.



Contest Partners

The S.C. 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 State Library

The South Carolina State Library is the primary administrator of federal and state support for the state’s libraries. The Library is a national model for innovation, collaboration, leadership and effectiveness. The Library’s mission is to optimize South Carolina’s investment in library and information services. In 1969, as the result of action by the General Assembly, the State Library Board was re-designated as the South Carolina State Library and assumed responsibility for public library development, library service for state institutions, service for the blind and physically handicapped, and library service to state government agencies. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Library is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and other sources. For more information, visit www.statelibrary.sc.gov or call 803-734-8666.


The Humanities CouncilSC

The Humanities CouncilSC is in its 37th year as the state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The mission of The Humanities CouncilSC is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. The Humanities CouncilSC programs and initiatives are balanced, reflect sensitivity to a diversity of ideas, encourage open dialogue, demonstrate integrity, and are ethical in operations. For more information, visit www.schumanities.org or call 803-771-2477.


Hub City Writers Project

Hub City Writers Project is a South Carolina independent press with 38 titles in print including two winners of the IPPY independent book award. For more information, visit www.hubcity.org or call 864-577-9349.


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