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Entries for Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence Due August 15

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Check out the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence winning titles since 2007


April 21, 2019




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

Mukul Verma, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, mverma@braf,org, (225) 362-9260


Baton Rouge Area Foundation Opens Entries for 13th Annual Gaines Award


August 15 submissions deadline for $10,000 prize


BATON ROUGE, LA. – Entries for the 13th annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence will be accepted through August 15. Information on criteria and entrance forms for the award, which includes a $10,000 cash prize, is available at www.ernestjgainesaward.org.


Sponsored by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the Gaines Award was created to honor outstanding literary work from rising African-American authors while recognizing Louisiana native Ernest Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the literary world. The upcoming Gaines Award will honor outstanding fiction – novels or short-story collections – published in 2019. Galleys for 2018 publications are also accepted.


A native of Pointe Coupee Parish, Mr. Gaines’ critically acclaimed novel, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, was adapted into a 1974 made-for-TV movie that received nine Emmy awards. His 1993 book, A Lesson Before Dying, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. He is Writer-in-Residence Emeritus at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.


The Gaines Award winner is chosen annually by a panel of professional writers and academics.


The award has found promising writers early in their careers. For instance, two previous Gaines Award winners have later won the $50,000 Whiting Award. Another was chosen a MacArthur Fellow, a $625,000 award given over five years.


Previous winners, starting with the latest in 2018, are Jamel Brinkley, Ladee Hubbard, Crystal Wilkinson, T. Geronimo Johnson, Mitchell Jackson, Attica Locke, Stephanie Powell Watts, Dinaw Mengestu, Victor Lavalle, Jeffery R. Allen, Ravi Howard, and Olympia Vernon.


Ernest Gains Award Winning Titles 2007 to 2018


The Ernest Gaines Award event will be held Thursday January 30, 2020 at the Manship Theatre in downtown Baton Rouge.


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 three ways to improve the quality of life in Baton Rouge and across south Louisiana. The Foundation and its fund donors 1) grant about $40 million each year to nonprofits; 2) provide fundraising and management advice to nonprofits; 3) take on projects for civic good, such as reclaiming inner city neighborhoods. For more information, please visit BRAF.org.




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