2020 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence Call for Nominations
The Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence honors Louisiana’s revered storyteller, Ernest J. Gaines, and serves to inspire and recognize rising African-American fiction writers of excellence at a national level. The book award, initiated by donors of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, is now in its 14th year and has become nationally recognized in its role of enhancing visibility of emerging African-American fiction writers while also expanding the audience for this literature. The annual award of a $15,000 cash prize is to support the writer and help enable her/him to focus on her/his art of writing.
The 2020 panel of judges are themselves renowned contributors to the literary world. They are Anthony Grooms, Edward P. Jones, Elizabeth Nunez, Francine Prose and Patricia Towers.
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation sponsors the winner’s travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to receive the prize at a ceremony, where the author reads an excerpt from the selected work of fiction. A reception follows. The evening is free, open to the public and attracts a diverse audience.
The literary award winner also participates in educational activities at selected area schools and after-school programs in keeping with the Gaines Award's interest in emphasizing the role of literature and arts in education. Through small creative writing workshops with the winning author, students are encouraged to pursue reading, delve into their own creativity, and to consider becoming an author.
Criteria for the 2020 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence:
• A work of fiction (novel or collection of short stories) that will be published in 2020. Galleys for a 2020 publication are also accepted. The nominee must be a rising author, not yet widely recognized for their work.
• Author must be an African-American U.S. citizen.
• Self-published books will not be accepted. Self-published is publishing one's work independently and at one's own expense.
• Emailed entries will not be accepted.
The winning author must be willing to attend the award ceremony on January 28, 2021, and participate in educational outreach activities during that week.
To enter a published book or galley for review, send the completed REGISTRATION FORM and 8 copies to:
Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
c/o Baton Rouge Area Foundation
100 North St., Suite 900
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802
Non-winning entries will be donated to an area nonprofit. Ineligible entries will not be returned.
The Literary Award, initiated by donors of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to honor Mr. Gaines, is designed to inspire and recognize rising African-American writers of excellence as they work to achieve the literary heights for which Ernest J. Gaines is known.
DEADLINE: Entries must be RECEIVED at the Foundation offices by August 31, 2020.