Best fiction writer chosen for prestigious Ernest J. Gaines literary award

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The Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence honors Nathan Harris for his debut novel ‘The Sweetness of Water,’ to receive 15K for his work.

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – The 15th annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence honors Nathan Harris for his debut novel ‘The Sweetness of Water,’ to receive 15K cash prize for his craft.

The ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2021 at 10AM at the Manship Theater in the Shaw Center for the Arts. The award is also presented by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation for emerging African American writers.

“I’m deeply honored to have been awarded the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence,” said Harris. “Mr. Gaines’ fiction continues to move readers around the world, but equally important is the impact he had, on a personal level, with communities all across Louisiana and the world. His mission was to promote literacy and a love of literature, and I do not take it lightly that I now have an opportunity to further that mission. I follow in Mr. Gaines’ footsteps and the footsteps of previous winners of this award, and that is the greatest distinction of all.”
 
Harris’ novel tells a story set in the waning days of the Civil War. The tale is about an unlikely bond between two freedmen who are brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, forever.

Harris graduated in 2020 with a master’s in fine arts from the Michener Center at the University of Texas. He was a recipient of the University of Oregon’s Kidd Prize and finalist for the Tennessee Williams Fiction Prize award, the press release states.

Previous winners of the Ernest J. Gaines Award include Everywhere You Don’t’ Belong by Gabriel Bump, Lot by Bryan Washington.

Visit the Earnest J. Gaines Award website to learn more.

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