Finalists announced for South Carolina First Novel Prize

The South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press of Spartanburg announce the five books named finalists in the 2014 South Carolina First Novel Competition. The finalists are That Strange Darkness by Matthew Boedy of Columbia; John Lee by Mary Fancher of Greer; Whereabouts by Scott Gould of Greenville; Grave Dust from the Islands Far by James Edwin McTeer II of Lexington; and An Early Harvest by David A. Wright of Travelers Rest. Thirty-four unpublished manuscripts were submitted for the prize.

Photos and brief bios of the finalists are available on the Hub City Press website.

The winner will be announced in early June and will have his or her book published in 2015 by Hub City Press.

Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Last Halftime Walk and Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, is this year’s judge of the biennial First Novel contest. Originally from the Carolinas, Fountain now lives in Dallas, Texas.

The three previous First Novel winners are Brian Ray of Columbia, author of Through the Pale Door (2008), selected by Percival Everett; Matt Matthews of Greenville, author of Mercy Creek (2010), selected by Bret Lott; and Susan Tekulve, author of In the Garden of Stone, selected by Josephine Humphreys.

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

For more information, visit or call, (803) 734-8696; or (864) 577-9349.