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T. Geronimo Johnson Wins 2015 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

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Jan. 5, 2016

Contact: Lois Smyth, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, lsmyth@braf.org, (225) 387-6126

Susan Polowczuk, Zehnder Communications, susanp@z-comm.com, (225) 448-0760


Gaines Award Ceremony Set
for Jan. 21 at Manship Theatre


Acclaimed Author T. Geronimo Johnson Named ’15 Winner


BATON ROUGE, La. – Ceremonies for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s ninth annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence take place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21 at the Manship Theatre at the Shaw Center for the Arts.


Doors open at 6 p.m. The ceremony is free and open to the public, although reservations are requested at rsvp@braf.org.


9780062302120.jpg.c0bd3222bbc195683c807fT. Geronimo Johnson will read from his winning selection, “Welcome to Braggsville.” The novel is a socially provocative and dark comedy about four University of California, Berkeley students who stage a protest during a Civil War reenactment in rural Georgia.


A New Orleans native, Johnson lives in Berkeley, California, and serves as visiting professor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he earned a master’s degree in fine arts. His first novel, “Hold it ’til it Hurts,” was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction.


The Gaines Award is a nationally acclaimed $10,000 annual prize created by Baton Rouge Area Foundation donors to recognize outstanding work from rising African-American fiction writers while honoring Ernest Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the literary world.


A native of Louisiana’s Pointe Coupee Parish, Gaines’ critically acclaimed novel “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” was adapted into a made-for-TV movie that won nine Emmy awards. His novel “A Lesson Before Dying” published in 1993, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.


Gaines is a 2013 recipient of the National Medal of Arts, a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s Genius Grant, a recipient of the National Humanities Medal and a member of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.


About the Baton Rouge Area Foundation

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation is among more than 700 community foundations in the country. The Foundation works in two ways to improve the quality of life in Baton Rouge and across south Louisiana. The Foundation and its fund donors grant about $30 million each year to nonprofits. As well, the Foundation takes on projects to improve the capacity of nonprofits, solve fundamental problems and build gathering places for all people. Our current projects include improving autism services in the Baton Rouge metropolitan region and master planning for the Baton Rouge lakes. With Commercial Properties Realty Trust, the Foundation is building the Water Campus. Rising on 35 acres outside downtown Baton Rouge, the campus will provide labs and space for scientists and engineers working on the double peril of coastal erosion and rising seas across the Gulf Coast and the world. For more information, please visit BRAF.org.





T. Geronimo Johnson’s latest novel, “Welcome to Braggsville,” is the 2015 winner of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. A native of New Orleans, Johnson lives in Berkley, California, and serves as a writing professor. Now in its ninth year, the Gaines Award honors rising African-American authors while paying tribute to Gaines, a literary legend who grew up in Louisiana’s Pointe Coupee Parish. The award ceremony takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21 at the Manship Theatre at the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge.


Photo credit for T. Geronimo Johnson.jpg: Elizabeth R. Cowan

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