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SC Arts Commission Press Releases

SC Arts Commission and Hub City Press Call for First Novel Prize Submissions

Oct. 21, 2015

Media Contact:

Milly Hough
(803) 734-8698

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press invite submissions for the biennial South Carolina First Novel Prize. Guidelines, eligibility requirements and the application are available online. The application deadline is March 15, 2016. A winner will be announced in August 2016.


Literary partners for this competition are The Humanities CouncilSC and the South Carolina State Library.


The competition judge is Bridgett M. Davis, whose second novel, Into The Go-Slow, was selected as a best book of 2014 by Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle, BookRiot, Bustle and The Root, and others. Time Out New York recently named Davis one of “10 New York Authors to Read Right Now.” Her reviews and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, Essence, O, The Oprah Magazine, TheRoot.com, Salon, and Writers Digest.  Davis is a professor at Baruch College, CUNY, where she teaches creative writing and journalism, and is Director of the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence ProgramDavis lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and daughter.


The winning author will receive a book contract with Hub City Press, an award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, S.C. Upon successful execution of the contract with Hub City, the winner will receive a $1,000 advance against royalties. Hub City will publish at least 2,000 copies of the book, which includes a copy for each branch library throughout the state. The four literary partners provide significant promotion for the First Novel Prize winner.


James McTeer's 2014 winning novel, Minnow, received starred reviews in Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews and favorable reviews in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Los Angeles Review of Books.  The book is now in its second printing.

According to McTeer, “Winning the 2014 South Carolina First Novel Prize gave me the chance to share my story with the world, and the process has changed my life. I went from being an unpublished writer to having a powerful start to my career as an author: a publication process with true professionals, a beautiful book in my hands, a tour across the South, and the combined resources of the South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press and their partners to back me up. Winning the prize meant achieving a dream, and I haven't woken up yet.”


Susan Tekulve won the 2012 First Novel prize with her book,  In the Garden of Stone, and now her work is represented by a New York agent. Tekulve's book has sold thousands of copies and was reviewed in national magazines and journals. Her book tour included four states and several book festivals.

Matt Matthews of Greer was the winner of the 2010 competition. His book, Mercy Creek, was published in 2011. 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. Both books have been widely and favorably reviewed across the Southeast.


The South Carolina First Novel Prize is funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press and the Phifer/Johnson Foundation of Spartanburg, SC. The Humanities CouncilSC and The South Carolina State Library are founding partners.


For more complete eligibility requirements and application guidelines, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com/firstnovel or call (803) 734-8696.


Hub City Press

Hub City Press, founded in 1995, is an award-winning nonprofit press that has published more than 70 books by Southern authors and has won 11 national Independent Publisher Awards. Hub City Press has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, 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 six previous book projects. For more information, visit www.hubcity.org or call (864) 577-9349.


The South Carolina State Library

The South Carolina State Library develops, supports, and sustains a thriving statewide community of learners committed to making South Carolina stronger. The Library serves the people of South Carolina by supporting state government and libraries to provide opportunities for learning in a changing environment. It is the primary administrator of federal and state support for the state's libraries. 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, please visit www.statelibrary.sc.gov or call 803-734-8666.      


The Humanities CouncilSC

The Humanities CouncilSC is in its 40th 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.


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