The Headmaster’s Darlings is the ninth Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, which is given annually. Reba White Williams, sponsor of the award, praised The Headmaster’s Darlings for “its originality, Southerness, and uplifting message, all requisite qualities for the Willie Morris Award.”
The Headmaster's Darlings is, as the book jacket describes, "a satirical comedy of manners featuring the morbidly obese Norman Laney, an unorthodox, inspirational English teacher and college counselor for an elite private school in Mountain Brook, a privileged community outside of Birmingham."
It's a funny novel, in the best way. Full disclosure, here. As a former winner of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, I've had the privilege of serving as one of the judges for several years. My "work" is reading stacks of southern novels, and attending the luncheon and reception in New York, honoring the authors.
And the winner is… The Headmaster’s Darlings (USC Press) by Katherine Clark is winner of this year’s Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction. The novel, Clark’s first, is the initial installment of a quartet of books set in Mountain Brook, Alabama.
In addition, North Carolina author Sarah Addison Allen was recognized for her six novels published over the past eight years, beginning with Garden Spells (2007) and more recently First Frost (2015). (The Special Recognition is the first-ever for the Willie Morris Award.)