Baton Rouge Area Foundation accepting entries for 11th Annual Gaines Award


— Entries for the 11th annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence will be accepted through August 15, 2017. Information about the criteria and entrance forms for the award, which includes a $10,000 cash prize, is available at

Sponsored by foundation donors of 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 Gaines Award honors outstanding fiction— novels or short-story collections— published in 2017. Galleys for 2017 publications are also accepted.

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

The Gaines Award winner is chosen annually by a panel of professional writers and academics. The 2016 winner was Crystal Wilkinson’s novel, “Birds of Opulence.”

Previous Gaines Award winners include T. Geronimo Johnson for “Welcome to Braggsville,” Attica Locke for “The Cutting Season,” Stephanie Powell Watts for “We Are Taking Only What We Need,” and Dinaw Mengestu for “How to Read the Air.”

The Ernest Gaines Award ceremonies will be held on Jan. 18, 2018, at the Manship Theatre at the Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown Baton Rouge.