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UK’s Pittard named Southern Book Prize finalist for intimate memoir, vote now

Photo of Hannah Pittard
As the author of five books, Hannah Pittard is well-known and nationally acclaimed for captivating readers with her intricate storytelling. Photo Credit: Ayna Lorenzo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 9, 2023) For her intimate memoir, “We Are Too Many,” Hannah Pittard, English professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky, is a Southern Book Prize finalist.

Designed to honor great Southern voices, the Southern Book Prize is awarded by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) to books published in 2023 that are Southern in nature — either set in the South, written by a Southern author or both.

Additionally, the 18 finalists received enthusiastic reviews from booksellers.

Now through Feb. 1, readers can vote for their favorite in the categories of fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. Winners will be announced Feb. 14.

“I've lived and worked all over the country. But I was born and raised in Georgia, and next year marks a decade that I'll have been a faculty member at the University of Kentucky,” Pittard said. “All this to say, it's incredibly meaningful to me to be a finalist for this specifically Southern prize. It's also a very democratic prize — in that the voting is open to anyone who loves to read. Booksellers nominate and choose the finalists, but it's readers who will ultimately decide the winner.”

“We Are Too Many” is a bold exploration of marriage, friendship, rivalry and betrayal.

In the sometimes humorous account of a marriage gone wrong, Pittard recalls a decade’s worth of unforgettable conversations — beginning with the one in which she discovers her husband has been having an affair with her charismatic best friend, Trish.

“During our divorce and as we went about the arduous task of uncoupling our lives, my husband and I had plenty of opportunities to argue,” Pittard explained. “Most maddening to me during these arguments — more even than his infidelity — was his insistence on a version of our marriage that completely clashed with mine. Most maddening to him, he told me later, was my unwillingness even to entertain his point of view.”

“We Are Too Many” examines the ugly, unfiltered parts of the female experience, as well as the many (happier) possibilities in starting over again.

The time-jumping exchanges are fast-paced, intimate and often jaw-dropping in their willingness to reveal the inherent vulnerabilities of any friendship or marriage.

“This book is an investigation into the intersection of memory, self, honesty and personal accounting,” Pittard continued. “It’s an investigation that sharply questions the legitimacy, ownership and accuracy of personal and shared memories.”

Blending fact and fiction, Pittard re-creates conversations with extreme accuracy, while also leaning into pure speculation. She takes an honest look at her own past and future, and of the larger, more universal experience ― from the depths of female rage to the heartbreaking ways we inevitably outgrow certain people.

“I’m a firm believer that in the particular we find the universal. My hope is, that by watching one individual’s detailed mental maneuvering, readers might begin to ask themselves more intimate and provocative questions about their own decision-making processes,” Pittard said. “Is there a legitimate way to own a recollection? What is a shared memory? When is the personal too personal?”

As the author of five books, Pittard is well known and nationally acclaimed for captivating readers with her intricate storytelling. She is a winner of the Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award and a MacDowell Colony Fellow.

In 2011, "The Fates Will Find Their Way” was a Boston Globe bestseller. Her second novel, "Reunion" (in 2014), was an editor’s choice by the Chicago Tribune. In 2016, she released "Listen To Me," which received a glowing full-page review in The New York Times. Her 2018 novel, "Visible Empire," was a New York Times’ Editors’ Choice.

“We Are Too Many” has already received top accolades, including being named “Best Book of 2023” by Cosmopolitan.

To claim the Southern Book Prize, Pittard needs your votes. You can cast your ballot for “We Are Too Many” now through Feb. 1 by clicking here.

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