Greensboro native Matthew Griffin has won the fourth-annual Crook’s Corner Book Prize for a debut novel set in the South. Griffin, now based in New Orleans, attended the ceremony to accept the honor, which was selected by Tom Franklin, a novelist and writing professor at the University of Mississippi at Oxford.
Announced Monday night during a reception at the award’s namesake Chapel Hill restaurant, the prize includes $5,000 and confers the privilege of a glass of wine at Crook’s every day for a year.
Griffin’s Hide, described in a Booklist starred review as “something like a miracle,” is set in a declining textile town in North Carolina in the years following World War II. It tells the story of Wendell Wilson and Frank Clifton, who build a hidden life together until it is jeopardized when illness befalls one of the partners in old age.
The New York Times hailed the book as “a graceful and understated novel … A portrait of a particularly repressive period in gay history.”
Forty-seven entries were in competition for this year’s prize. Other finalists were Mulberry, by Paulette Boudreaux, and Over the Plain Houses, by Julia Franks. Past winners include Wiley Cash, for his 2016 novel, A Land More Kind Than Home; Byrd, by Kim Cash; and The Marauders by Tom Cooper.
Look for an interview with Griffin and Franklin in Wednesday’s issue of the INDY.