James E.  McTeer II

Born and raised in Beaufort, SC, James E. McTeer is a school librarian in Columbia, SC. He is the grandson of the late J. E. McTeer, whose thirty-seven years as High Sheriff of the Lowcountry (and local witch doctor) served as inspiration for Minnow. James McTeer is the winner of the 2015 SC First Novel Prize.

Book Title: Minnow

Minnow is an otherworldly story of a small boy who leaves his dying father’s bedside hunting a medicine for a mysterious illness. Sent by his mother to a druggist in a their coastal town, Minnow unexpectedly takes a dark and wondrous journey deep into the ancient Sea Islands, seeking the grave dust of a long-dead hoodoo man to buy him a cure. With only a half-feral dog at his side, Minnow’s odyssey is haunted at every turn by the agents of Sorry George, a witch doctor who once stirred up a fever that killed fifty-two men. Meanwhile, a tempest brews out at sea, threatening to bring untold devastation to the coastal way of life. Minnow is a remarkable debut novel that evokes the fiction of Karen Russell and Lauren Groff—a Lowcountry Heart of Darkness about the mysteries of childhood, the sacrifices we make to preserve our families, and the ghosts that linger in the Spanish moss of the South Carolina barrier islands.