First Novel Prize winner to debut book in Columbia

First Novel Prize winner to debut book in Columbia

MinnowJoin the South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press and Jasper Magazine at Tapp’s Art Center on April 30 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. for the Columbia launch of Minnow, the 2014 First Novel Prize winner, written by James Edwin McTeer II. Minnow will be available for sale in hardback for $24.95, and McTeer will give a brief reading and sign books. The event is free and open to the public.

Minnow is an otherworldly story of a small boy who leaves his dying father’s bedside hunting a medicine for a mysterious illness. Sent by his mother to a local druggist in their seaside village, Minnow unexpectedly takes a dark and wondrous journey deep into the ancient Sea Islands, seeking the grave dust of a long-dead hoodoo man to buy him a cure.

Born and raised in Beaufort, McTeer is the grandson of the late J. E. McTeer, whose 37 years as High Sheriff of the Lowcountry (and local witch doctor) served as inspiration for the winning novel. McTeer has worked for five years as a school media specialist and is currently the librarian at Polo Road Elementary School in Columbia. He lives in Lexington with his wife, but travels to Beaufort monthly “to soak in the marsh, the mud, and the salty air.” His debut novel was selected by novelist Ben Fountain of Houston as winner in the biennial First Novel competition, which is co-sponsored by the South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press in Spartanburg.

Fountain, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, said, “Minnow is a gorgeous fever-dream of a novel. It picked me up by the scruff of the neck and carried me along as powerfully as a novel by Pat Conroy or Toni Morrison.”

The book also has received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.