Mitchell S. Jackson, author of “The Residue Years,” is the 2014 recipient of the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.
The native of Portland, Oregon, and resident of Brooklyn, New York, will be honored in a Jan. 22 ceremony at the Manship Theater at the Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St., Baton Rouge. The ceremony will include a reading from Jackson and music by the Irvin Mayfield Quintet.
“The Residue Years,” published in 2013 by Bloomsbury Books, is a semi-autobiographical novel based on Jackson’s experience growing up in a neighborhood fraught with violence and drug use. It follows a mother and former addict trying to steer her three sons away from drugs. The novel was a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and the PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction.
The Gaines Award is a $10,000 annual prize that honors outstanding work from rising African-American fiction writers while honoring Gaines, a native of Pointe Coupee Parish.
Gaines is a recipient of the 2013 National Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, the National Humanities Medal and a member of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He is the author of, among other things, “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and “A Lesson Before Dying.”
Previous winners of the award include Attica Locke (“The Cutting Season”), Stephanie Powell Watts (“We Are Taking Only What We Need”), Dinaw Mengestu (“How to Read the Air”) and Victor LaValle (“Big Machine”).