Ernest J Gaines Award For Literary Excellence/ How To Submit (Prize: $15,000)

Aug 23, 2023by Kelechi Okoro0

For 15 years, Ernest J Gaines Award For Literary Excellence has been a contest for emerging African American fiction writers.

This contest has provided visibility for emerging African American fiction writers and enables them to focus on their writing by awarding a $15,000 cash prize.

Eligible authors should submit a work of fiction, such as a novel or short story collection, published in the calendar year. (Galleys for publication within the year are also accepted.)

Submission Guidelines For Ernest J Gaines Award For Literary Excellence

To enter a published book or gallery for review, send the completed registration form and eight (8) copies to:

  • Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
    c/o Baton Rouge Area Foundation
    100 North St., Suite 900
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802.
  • Non-winning entries will be donated to an area nonprofit. Ineligible entries will not be returned.
  • The Literary Award, initiated by donors of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to honor Mr. Gaines, is designed to inspire and recognize rising African-American writers of excellence as they work to achieve the literary heights for which Ernest J. Gaines is known.
  • The 2023 entry window closes on December 31, 2023.


Criteria for the 2023 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence:

  • A work of fiction (novel or collection of short stories) that is published between October 1, 2022 and December 31, 2023.
  • Galleys for a 2023 publication are also accepted, though galley proofs considered during the 2022 submission cycle are not eligible for consideration in 2023.
  • The nominee must be a rising author, not yet widely recognized for their work.
  • Author must be an African-American U.S. citizen.
  • Self-published books will not be accepted. Self-published defined as publishing one’s work
    independently and at one’s own expense.
  • Emailed entries will not be accepted.
  • The winning author must be willing to attend the award ceremony in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2024 and participate in media and educational outreach activities during that week.




For additional information, please email [email protected]

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