Gaines  (copy)

Ernest J. Gaines

Entries will be accepted through Aug. 15 for the 13th annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, which comes with a $10,000 prize.

Sponsored by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the Gaines Award was created to honor outstanding literary work from rising African American authors while recognizing Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the literary world.

The upcoming Gaines Award will honor outstanding fiction — novels or short-story collections — published or that will be published in 2019. Information on criteria and entrance forms for the award is available at

The award will be presented on Jan. 30, 2020, at the Manship Theatre.

A native of Pointe Coupee Parish, Gaines’ critically acclaimed novel, “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” was adapted into a 1974 made-for-TV movie that received nine Emmy awards. His 1993 book, “A Lesson Before Dying,” won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. He is writer-in-residence emeritus at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

The Gaines Award winner is chosen by a panel of professional writers and academics. Two previous winners have later won the $50,000 Whiting Award. Another was chosen a MacArthur Fellow, a $625,000 award given over five years.

Previous winners include Jamel Brinkley, Ladee Hubbard, Crystal Wilkinson, T. Geronimo Johnson, Mitchell Jackson, Attica Locke, Stephanie Powell Watts, Dinaw Mengestu, Victor Lavalle, Jeffery R. Allen, Ravi Howard and Olympia Vernon.