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SC Arts Commission Press Releases

Matt Matthews Named South Carolina First Novel Competition Winner


May 18, 2010

Media Contacts:

Milly Hough
(803) 734-8698


Misty Moore

(803) 734-8620

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


"Mercy Creek is a refreshing, entertaining, and meaningful novel,"said distinguished novelist and final judge Bret Lott. "This book is about the deep and slow-moving river that is history, and the darker story of a past the town won't reveal for fear its shadow will overwhelm those parties involved in its making; it's also about murder, and arson, and baseball, and all the worries, worthy and unworthy, real and imagined, every teenager experiences in the course of growing up."


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."


Hub City Press will publish at least 1,500 hardback copies of Matthews'novel, including a book for every public library branch in the state. Collaborating with Hub City and the S.C. Arts Commission to present this contest were the South Carolina State Library and the Humanities Council S.C.  


"We look forward to providing this unique publishing opportunity for one of South Carolina's" talented writers, and sharing his work with readers around this state and beyond," said Sara June Goldstein, director of literary arts for the S.C. Arts Commission.


The project is funded in part by a Library Services and Technology Act Partnership grant administered by the S.C. State Library and the Institute of Museums and Library Services. For more information about the First Novel Competition, call (803) 734-8696.


About 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 is celebrating 40 years of increasing 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 and by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.


About Hub City Press

Hub City Press publishes well-crafted, high-quality works by new and established authors, with an emphasis on the Southern experience. It is committed to high-caliber novels, short stories, poetry, plays, memoir, and works emphasizing regional culture and history. Hub City Press is the imprint of the non-profit Hub City Writers Project, founded in 1995 to foster a sense of community through the literary arts.


About the S.C. 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 redesignated 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 or call 803-771-2477.