Oct. 1 is the deadline for entries to the eighth annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Sponsored by the donors of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the award honors outstanding fiction from rising African-American writers and includes a $10,000 cash prize.

The award honors Ernest J. Gaines, native of Pointe Coupee Parish, La., creative writing instructor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and nationally acclaimed fiction writer. His critically acclaimed novel, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, was adapted into a 1974 made-for-TV movie that won nine Emmy awards. A Lesson Before Dying, published in 1993, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Gaines first novel, Catherine Carmier.

Information on submission criteria and entry forms for the award are available here.

GainesLogoThe New Orleans Times-Picayune called the Ernest J. Gaines Award the “nation’s biggest prize for African-American writers.” The winner, chosen by a distinguished panel of professional writers and academics, will be announced in early November, then presented during ceremonies held on Jan. 22 at the Manship Theatre in downtown Baton Rouge.

The most recent winner is Attica Locke for her novel The Cutting Season. Previous winners Stephanie Powell Watts for We Are Taking Only What We Need, Dinaw Mengestu, who was selected as a MacArthur Fellow in 2012, for How to Read the Air and Victor LaValle for  Big Machine.”

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation is one of the Gulf Coast region’s largest community foundations. Winner of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2011 Award for Outstanding Foundation, BRAF connects donors to projects and nonprofit groups, along with investing in and managing community projects. For more information, visit BRAF.org.

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