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Some Foundation donors wanted to honor Louisiana's Ernest J. Gaines, among the greatest writers in the world, while supporting African-American writers.
The Foundation and the donors created the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Each year, an independent panel reads and judges more than a dozen of the best short story collections and novels written by a rising African-American writer. The $10,000 award is given each January at a Manship Theatre ceremony.
The Gaines Award is in its sixth year. In each year, the winner has worked with students in the Baton Rouge area before reading from the winning novel at the award gathering. Mr. Gaines, who lives in nearby Oscar, has attended all the ceremonies. For more, visit the Gaines Award site.