Home / Articles / News / Cap City / LOCAL BOOK BEST
Print this Article
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009 11:22 am


Springfield writer Carol Manley got to see her name listed alongside legendary authors like Toni Morrison, John Updike and Ken Follett when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch chose her book Church Booty as one of the 32 best works of fiction for 2008.

“It was amazing,” Manley says. “It felt kind of like a fluke thing.”

Indeed, the odds stacked against such a scenario seem monumental. For starters, what are the chances that a former welfare mother, like Manley, can actually summon the time and talent to write a great book? For another, the book she wrote is a collection of short stories — a format publishers tend to avoid unless it’s a collection of works by a variety of authors or stories by an already-famous writer (Church Booty was published by Livingston Press, at University of West Alabama). The fact that it even got reviewed surprised her.

Yet there it was: “From the first mesmerizing line, the author depicts the world of small-town black church folk so convincingly, with such humor and underlying sadness, that I wonder how much I’ve missed in my facile belief that [a potential] ‘Black Experience’ [label] excludes a white readership,” a Post-Dispatch reviewer wrote in November, a month before Manley’s book landed on the paper’s “best” list.

Has Manley noticed a subsequent up-tick in sales? It’s hard to gauge, she says, without a distributor. Her book is sold at the local Borders store, on Amazon.com, and at the University of Illinois at Springfield bookstore.

Log in to use your Facebook account with

Login With Facebook Account

Recent Activity on IllinoisTimes


  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat
  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed