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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

Byrd by Kim Church named winner of Crook's Corner Book Prize


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Byrd by Kim Church named winner of Crook's Corner Book Prize

Guy Intoci

Kim Church, the author of BYRD, has won the second annual Crook's Corner Book Prize for best debut novel set in the American South.

“At its root, BYRD is about heartbreak, loss, and being lonely," said author Randall Kenan, the judge for this year’s prize. "The triumph here is that Kim Church's remarkable skill turns these dark human realities into the stuff of praise song, and plain song, and blues song. It made me shout and holler. What a truly lyrical achievement in prose.”

The literary prize was established as a collaboration between Crook's Corner, the iconic Southern restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC, and the Crook's Corner Book Prize Foundation. "Our purpose is to encourage emerging writers in a publishing environment that seems to reinvent itself daily," said foundation president, Anna Hayes. "The prize is open to selfpublished authors as well as traditionally published authors. Of the four novels on the shortlist this year, three were from major publishers, but the winner was from Dzanc Books, a small, independent publisher."

Crook's Corner may be the only restaurant in the United States now awarding a literary prize. "It's an idea that we flat-out stole from the French," said Hayes, explaining that the inspiration came from the long-established tradition of prestigious literary awards given by such famous Parisian cafés as Deux Magots and Café de Flore. "The French have always understood the link between food and literature, and the connection between cafés and creativity!"

Crook’s Corner is a James Beard American Classic restaurant with a rich history of supporting artists. “Perhaps we've entered the 'Age of the Restaurant,'” said Katharine Walton, Southern publicist and board member for the Crook's Corner Book Prize Foundation. “Culinary arts seem to be trumping literary arts in terms of media coverage, so this is a way to join forces.”