The Baton Rouge Area Foundation is soliciting submissions for the 2014 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, a $10,000 award that honors a rising African-American fiction writer. Now in its eighth year, the book award enhances the visibility of black writers and further expands their audiences. It is underwritten by the donors of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation in celebration of Louisiana’s revered storyteller, Ernest J. Gaines.

The national panel of distinguished literary judges includes Thomas Beller, Anthony Grooms, Francine Prose, Elizabeth Nunez and Patricia Towers.

The 2014 winner will be announced in November. The Foundation sponsors the winner’s travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he/she will receive the $10,000 prize at a ceremony and reception in his/her honor. The award aims to allow the writer the flexibility to remain focused on the creation of excellent literature. The author will also participate in educational activities during his/her time in Louisiana. The Gaines Award emphasizes the role of literature and the arts in education, and through small creative writing workshops or a reading with q&a, it encourages youth to pursue reading and creative forms of expression.

Previous Gaines Award Winners:
• Attica Locke, The Cutting Season
• Stephanie Powell Watts, We Are Taking Only What We Need
• Dinaw Mengestu, How to Read the Air
• Victor LaValle, Big Machine
• Jeffery Renard Allen, Holding Pattern
• Ravi Howard, Like Trees, Walking
• Olympia Vernon, A Killing in this Town

The deadline to submit eligible books for consideration of the 2014 Gaines Award is October 1, 2014. There is no fee to enter. Entries must be works of fiction (novels or short story collections) published in 2013 or 2014; 2014 galleys are accepted. The award ceremony will be Thursday, January 22, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Further detail can be found at www.ernestjgainesaward.org.

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