Submissions are open for the 2020 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Sponsored by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, this annual award “serves to inspire and recognize rising African-American fiction writers of excellence at a national level.” Given for either a novel or a collection of short stories published in 2020, this award includes a $15,000 cash prize. The winner will also receive the opportunity to attend the prize ceremony in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and participate in educational outreach events at schools and after-school programs in the area; travel expenses are funded by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
Mail a completed registration form and eight copies of a published book or galley to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation offices by August 31. Anthony Grooms, Edward P. Jones, Elizabeth Nunez, Francine Prose, and Patricia Towers will judge. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
In honor of the late Ernest J. Gaines, a cherished Louisiana writer, recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and National Book Critics Circle Award winner, this contest is now in its fourteenth year. The winner of the 2020 book prize will be selected in November of this year, and the awards ceremony will take place on January 28, 2021. Previous winners of the award include Victor LaValle, T. Geronimo Johnson, Jamel Brinkley, and Bryan Washington.