T Geronimo Johnson

T. Geronimo Johnson

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The 2015 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence is going to author T. Geronimo Johnson.

Organizers said Tuesday that Johnson will receive the award at a Jan. 21 ceremony at the Manship Theatre in Baton Rouge. Johnson serves as visiting professor at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he earned a master’s degree in fine arts.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1OKjSU6) the award recognizes outstanding work from rising African-American fiction writers while honoring Gaines’ contributions to the literary world. It includes a $10,000 prize and is awarded annually by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Johnson, a New Orleans native, will read from his winning selection, “Welcome to Braggsville” during the ceremony, which is free and open to the public, although reservations are requested at www.rsvp@braf.org . The novel is a dark comedy about four University of California-Berkeley students who stage a protest during a Civil War reenactment in rural Georgia.

Johnson’s first novel, “Hold it ’til it Hurts,” was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction.

Gaines is a native of Pointe Coupee Parish whose critically acclaimed novel “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” was adapted into a made-for-TV movie that won nine Emmy awards. His novel “A Lesson Before Dying” published in 1993, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

Gaines is a 2013 recipient of the National Medal of Arts, a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s Genius Grant and the National Humanities Medal and a member of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.


Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com