Winners: Present & Past

Winner of the 2016 Townsend Prize for Fiction
Mary Hood
A Clear View of the Southern Sky
Publisher: Story River Books, 2015


Mary Hood is the author of the novel Familiar Heat and two short-story collections: How Far She Went, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the Southern Review/LSU Short Fiction Award, and And Venus is Blue, winner of the Lillian Smith Award, the 1988 Townsend Prize for Fiction, and the Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists Author of the Year Award. Hood’s work has also been honored with the Whiting Writers’ Award, the Robert Penn Warren Award, and a Pushcart Prize. A 2014 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, Hood lives and writes in Commerce, Georgia.

About A Clear View of the Southern Sky

A Clear View of the Southern Sky, Mary Hood’s third short-story collection, reveals women in the 21st century doing what women have always done in pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. From stories depicting a Hispanic woman whose mission is to assassinate a mass murderer, an agenda triggered by post-traumatic stress, to a kindergarten teacher stunned by a student’s blurted-out question as she discovers her deepest vocation and its mystery source, to a novella filled with a diverse cast of women workers in a rural Georgia textile mill sewing camouflage for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, Hood demonstrates how these women have come—by circumstances and choice—to the very edge of their known worlds. Some find courage to winnow and move on; others seek the patience to risk and stay. Along the way, hearts, bonds, speed limits, fingernails and the Ten Commandments get broken. Dust settles, but these women do not.

Past Winners of the Townsend Prize


2014God Carlos by Anthony Winkler

2012The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen

2010The Help by Kathryn Stockett

2008A Cabinet of Wonders by Renee Dodd

2006Sabbath Creek by Judson Mitcham

2004The Valley of Light by Terry Kay

2002The Bridegroom: Stories by Ha Jin

2000Daughter of My People by James Kilgo

1998The Sweet Everlasting by Judson Mitcham

1996Some Personal Papers by JoAllen Bradham

1994The Laughing Place by Pam Durban

1991When All the World Was Young by Ferrol Sams

1990The Lives of the Dead by Charlie Smith

1989Alice by Sara Flanigan

1988And Venus is Blue by Mary Hood

1986The Heart of a Distant Forest by Philip Lee Williams

1984The Color Purple by Alice Walker

1982Children, My Children by Celestine Sibley