The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has plenty of reasons to celebrate its 40th anniversary this year: it has just received a $40,000 grant from the Reba and Dave William Foundation for Literature and the Arts that will enable every SIBA member bookstore that wishes to attend SIBA’s 40th annual regional bookseller trade show in 2015 to do so. The 2015 trade show is scheduled to take place in Raleigh, N.C., Sept 18-20. SIBA’s membership, which stretches over 11 states in the southeastern and south-central regions of the U.S., ranges between 150-175 member stores. Last year, 53 SIBA member stores attended the trade show, held in Norfolk, Va.
It can be difficult, SIBA executive director Wanda Jewell noted in a press release, for some booksellers to travel long distances to SIBA’s annual trade show, which moves about the region – which extends from the Atlantic Ocean all the way west to the Texas-Louisiana state line - each year. “It is a marvelous statement of support for the importance of independent bookselling,” Jewell declared when announcing the grant from the Williams Foundation, which previously provided several travel scholarships, under the SIBA Scholarship Fund, for booksellers attending SIBA’s trade show in 2013 and in 2014. “We’re going to rise to the challenge to bring 100% of SIBA member bookstores to Raleigh in 2015," Jewell said.
New York-based philanthropists, Reba originally hails from North Carolina and Dave from Texas. The couple founded the Print Research Foundation and also launched in 2007 the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, named after the late journalist and author. The couple will be the keynote speakers at a SIBA breakfast on Sept. 18 that will kick off the trade show.
"As Southerners, however displaced in Yankee-land, Dave and I are big believers in Southern books and bookstores, and the Southern literary tradition,” Reba said. "There’s some self-interest here, too,” Dave added, “Reba’s third Coleman and Dinah Greene mystery, Bloody Royal Prints, will be published next year, and my memoir of our 40 years of print collecting, Small Victories: One couple’s surprising adventures building an unrivaled collection of American prints will be out in December.