09-23-2017  1:14 pm      •     
essay contest
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NEWS BRIEFS

Morris Marks House on the Move

Its relocation is scheduled for Sept. 30 and will take approximately two days ...

Tim Burgess Inaugurated as 55th Mayor of Seattle

Burgess, a former radio journalist, served as Seattle City Councilmember from 2008 to 2017 ...

Mobile Mammography Van Comes to Health Fair, Oct. 7

Onsite mammograms, music, food, health information, and fun ...

Humboldt Sewer Repair Project Update: September 15, 2017

Environmental Services continues a project to repair more than 3 miles of public sewer pipes ...

NAACP Portland Branch Invites Community to Monthly General Membership Meeting

Meeting takes place from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 23 ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Trump Can’t Deport the American “Dreamers” Without a Fight

Julianne Malveaux criticizes President Trump’s approach to immigration, the dreamers and DACA. ...

What You Should Know about the Equifax Data Breach

Charlene Crowell, the communications deputy director for the Center for Responsible Lending, reports on the Equifax data breach which...

Jeff Trades an Unknown Known for a Known Known

Jeff Tryens reflects on life in Central Oregon ...

We Must Have A New Poor People's Campaign and Moral Revival

Bishop William J. Barber II pens an exclusive op-ed about the need for a New Poor People's Campaign and Moral Revival. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Cover of Birds of Opulence and photo of author Crystal Wilkinson. Photo by Ron Davis
Baton Rouge Area Foundation

BATON ROUGE, La. – Kentucky writer, poet and educator Crystal Wilkinson’s novel, “Birds of Opulence,” has been named winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.

Now in its 10th year, the Gaines Award is a nationally acclaimed $10,000 prize handed out annually by Baton Rouge Area Foundation donors to recognize outstanding work from rising African-American fiction writers while honoring Louisiana native Ernest Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the literary world.

Previous winners of the Ernest J. Gaines award include T. Geronimo Johnson for “Welcome to Braggsville,” Attica Locke for “The Cutting Season,” Stephanie Powell Watts for “We Are Taking Only What We Need” and Dinaw Mengestu for “How to Read the Air.”

Award ceremonies take place at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 19 at the Manship Theatre in downtown Baton Rouge. Wilkinson will read excerpts from her winning novel. The ceremony is free and open to the public, although reservations are requested at gainesaward@braf.org.

Wilkinson earned a journalism degree from Eastern Kentucky University in 1985 and a master’s degree in fine arts for creative writing from Spalding University in Louisville. As an educator, she has taught creative writing at Eastern Kentucky, Indiana University-Bloomington and Morehead State University. Currently, she serves as writer in residence at Berea College in Kentucky.

“Birds of Opulence” is Wilkinson’s first novel, though many of her works have garnered critical acclaim. “Blackberries, Blackberries,” a collection of short stories, won the 2002 Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. “Water Street,” another short-story collection, was a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and the U.K.’s Orange Prize for Fiction.

“Birds of Opulence” follows several generations of women in the Goode-Brown family in the fictional Southern black township of Opulence. The family is plagued by mental illness and illegitimacy, as well as the accompanying embarrassment. As younger generations watch their mothers and grandmothers pass on, they also fear going mad and must fight to survive.

Due to the exceptional quality of entries, judges for the Gaines Award short-listed three books for commendation this year – “The Side of Providence,” by Rachel M. Harper, “Triangle Ray” by John Holman and “We Love You, Charlie Freeman” by Kaitlyn Greenidge.

The national panel of judges for the 2016 Gaines Award are: Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer Prize winner for his 2003 novel, “The Known World”; Anthony Grooms, a critically acclaimed author and creative writing professor at Kennesaw State University; renowned author Elizabeth Nunez, professor of English at Hunter College-City University of New York; Francine Prose, author of more than 20 books, including “Blue Angel,” a nominee for the 2000 National Book Award; and Patricia Towers, former features editor for O, The Oprah Magazine and a founding editor of Vanity Fair magazine.

 

About Ernest Gaines

Ernest Gaines, a native of Louisiana’s Pointe Coupee Parish and a literary legend, is a 2013 recipient of the National Medal of Arts, a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s Genius Grant, a recipient of the National Humanities Medal and a member of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

His critically acclaimed novel “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” was adapted into a made-for-TV movie that won nine Emmy awards. His 1993 novel “A Lesson Before Dying” won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

 

About the Baton Rouge Area Foundation

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

Oregon Lottery PM Home (2)
Artists Rep An Octoroon
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

MLK Breakfast

The Skanner Photo Archives