Although the conventional wisdom says otherwise, nice guys do sometimes finish first.

That’s certainly the case with James Wilcox, this year’s winner of the Louisiana Writer Award. Wilcox, a native of Hammond who heads LSU’s creative writing program, was recognized with the award for his nationally acclaimed novels set in the fictional town of Tula Springs, La. In addition to being an author of wide renown, Wilcox is also a kind man who’s volunteered with local literacy efforts.

He seems to exemplify the ideals of the Louisiana Writer Award, given each year by the Louisiana Center for the Book at the State Library of Louisiana to recognize the state’s best writers.

Wilcox’s most famous novel, “Modern Baptists,” established Tula Springs as a town that would seem quite familiar to residents of south Louisiana.

“Though it doesn’t really exist, anyone who lives in Louisiana has been there or knows somebody who lives there,” State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton said of Tula Springs.

Wilcox’s novels are wise and insightful, and quite frequently, they’re also achingly funny. We hope that Wilcox’s award will inspire new interest in his work.

Wilcox will receive his award during the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, Oct. 29.

We’re glad that the festival is returning to downtown Baton Rouge after a one-year hiatus.

The festival is a good way to honor the many Louisiana writers, like Wilcox, who make this state a better place to live.