The Crooks Corner Prize, now in its fourth year, gathers more excitement all the time.
Winners for the 2017 contest will be announced January 17 in Chapel Hill at the Chapel Hill restaurant that gave its name to the contest, which now offers $5,000 to the winner, as well as a free glass of wine each time the winner visits the restaurant.
Finalists for this year’s prize are:
Paulette Boudreaux’s “Mulberry,” set in Mississippi and published by Carolina Wren Press in Durham. Boudreaux lives in California, and this novel won the Lee Smith Book Award.
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Julia Franks’s “Over the Plain Houses,” set in Appalacia and published by Hub City Press in Spartanburg, S.C. Franks lives in Atlanta. Her novel is set in 1939 and got a thumb’s up from Charles Frazier.
Matthew Griffin’s “Hide,” set in North Carolina and published by Bloomsbury. Griffin’s family is from Greensboro. He now lives in Louisiana.
Previous winners are Wiley Cash (“A Land More Kind than Home”), Kim Church (“Byrd”), Tom Franklin (“The Marauders”).
This year’s judge is Tom Franklin. Previous judges are Jill McCorkle, Randall Kenan and Lee Smith.