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Kathy Giuffre’s Novel Wins Seven Sisters Book Award

Colorado College Professor of Sociology Kathy Giuffre’s debut novel, “The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato,” has been named the winner of the 2016 Seven Sisters Book Awards in the fiction/mainstream category.

The book has been described as the philosophy of Plato, doused with Pabst Blue Ribbon, populated by an assortment of oddball characters, set in a dive bar in the South.

The result is “a lovely story of community and friendship,” says Lynne Hinton, president of the Seven Sisters Book Awards.

“The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato” is based on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave from “The Republic.” The book features Josie, a small-town girl tending bar, falling for bad boys, and seeking a path for herself. Falling in and out of love, and in search of something larger, Josie, new to town, uses philosophy to guide her. While her new community is one of generosity and rich companionship, there’s a dark side of life in this world, and Josie is helped along on her quest by a cast of characters as memorable as they are unique.

Hinton, in her congratulatory note to Giuffre, says, “You have a wonderful gift and the world is a better place because you are in it. You inspire and touch more people than you will ever know. Celebrate and be encouraged in your writing.”

The book, published by John F. Blair Publishers in September 2015, has received numerous awards. It won a SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance) Okra Award for Best Books of Summer 2015. It went on to make the long list for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize for literary fiction, an award that pays tribute to one of the South’s most beloved authors, and also was a finalist for the IndieFab Book of the Year. Additionally, “The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato” was one of nine books, culled from a field of 47, to make the long list for the Crook’s Corner book prize.

Giuffre specializes in the study of social networks, culture, communities, and Polynesian society. Her current research focuses on the social organization of creativity and innovation, which grew out of previous work on the effect of artists' social networks to their success, studies of popular and high culture, and studies of deviant youth subcultures. She was invited to give a TED talk about her research in 2013.

Giuffre received her B.A. from Harvard University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In addition to being the author of two academic books covering her areas of expertise, Giuffre also is the author of a memoir, “An Afternoon in Summer: My Year in the South Seas.” In addition to Polynesian society, Giuffre also specializes in social networks and cultural sociology.