The deadline for submissions to the 2017 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence is August 15. Submissions may be novels or short-story collections published in 2017, as well as galleys for 2017 publications. The winner receives a $10,000 award.

The deadline for submissions to the 2017 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence is August 15. Submissions may be novels or short-story collections published in 2017, as well as galleys for 2017 publications. The winner receives a $10,000 award. 

The Gaines Award, sponsored by Baton Rouge Area Foundation donors, honors rising African-American fiction authors. It also recognizes Louisiana native Ernest Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the literary world.

A Louisiana native, 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-Lafayette.

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has worked for 54 years to improve the quality of life across south Louisiana. It connects fund donors with nonprofits and has granted more than $400 million to a variety of nonprofit recipients.

The Foundation also conducts short- and long-term civic projects, including inner-city revival, education reform, improving autism services, championing commuter rail between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and creating The Water Institute of the Gulf, a research institute to create solutions to the threats of rising seas and vanishing wetlands.

Previous winners of the Gaines Award include-- Crystal Wilkinson, T. Geronimo Johnson, Mitchell S. Jackson, Attica Locke, Stephanie Powell Watts, Dinaw Mengestu, Victor Lavalle, Jeffery Renard Allen, Ravi Howard and Olympia Vernon.

Submissions are judged by a national literary panel, and the winner is announced in November.

The award ceremony takes place on Jan. 18, 2018, at the Manship Theatre in downtown Baton Rouge. This event honors both the winning author and Mr. Gaines.

Information on criteria and entrance forms is available at www.ernestjgainesaward.org.