Submission Window Opens for 17th Annual Gaines Award

Submission Window Opens for 17th Annual Gaines Award


April 4, 2023

Contact: Travis Hutchins, Baton Rouge Area Foundation,, (225) 381-7081
Sarah Gardner, Baton Rouge Are Foundation,, (225) 387-6126

Baton Rouge Area Foundation opens entries for 17th annual Ernest J. Gaines Award 

BATON ROUGE, LA — Entries for the 17th annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence will be accepted through October 15, 2023.  Initiated by donors of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to honor Mr. Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the literary world, the award recognizes the outstanding work of emerging African American fiction writers. The winner receives a $15,000 prize. Eligibility and submission details for the award can be found at

Entries must be a work of fiction – novels or collections of short stories – published between Oct. 1, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2023. Galleys for a 2023 publication are also accepted. The winning author, chosen by a national panel of judges, will be required to attend an award ceremony in Baton Rouge in 2024 and participate in media and educational outreach activities during that week. 

The 2022 literary award was presented to Jacinda Townsend for her second novel, Mother Country. Other recent winners of the Ernest J. Gaines Award include: The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris; Everywhere You Don’t Belong by Gabriel Bump, Lot by Bryan Washington; and A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley. 




About Ernest J. Gaines: Literary legend Ernest Gaines was a native of Oscar in Louisiana’s Pointe Coupee Parish, which served as the setting for many of his novels. During his lifetime, Gaines received a National Medal of Arts Award (2013), a MacArthur Foundation’s Genius Grant, and the National Humanities Medal among numerous others. He was a member of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. His critically acclaimed novel The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman was adapted into a movie that won nine Emmy awards. His 1993 novel A Lesson Before Dying won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.  


About the Baton Rouge Area Foundation: Among the largest community foundations in the country, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life in greater Baton Rouge and across south Louisiana.

The Foundation pursues its mission by serving donors to build the assets that drive initiatives and solutions, supporting local nonprofits with strategic consulting to ensure overall impact and sustainability, engaging community leaders to develop appropriate responses to emerging opportunities and challenges, and by partnering with others to leverage collective resources and create the capacity to be a stimulus of positive regional change.

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