Deadline for submission to the 2014 book award is October 1, 2014
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 eighth year and has become nationally recognized in its role of enhancing visibility of emerging black fiction writers while also expanding the audience for this literature. The annual award of a $10,000 cash prize is given in the hope that this will help the winner focus on his/her art of writing.
Eligible entries are read by a panel of judges, themselves renowned contributors to the literary world. They are Thomas Beller, Anthony Grooms, 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 attended by Ernest Gaines. The author reads an excerpt from the selected work of fiction and Mr. Gaines offers commentary on writing and on the author. A reception follows. The evening is free and open to the public and attracts a very 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 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.