Ernest Gaines Award honors rising African-American author, Gabriel Bump

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Author Gabriel Bump’s debut novel, “Everywhere You Don’t Belong” has won the 2020 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Photo Credit: Jeremy Handrup

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has awarded Gabriel Bump the 2020 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, based on his debut book, “Everywhere You Don’t Belong.”

The Ernest J. Gaines Book Award provided these details about the winner and his book:

Now in its 14th year, the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence is a nationally acclaimed $15,000 prize given annually by Baton Rouge Area Foundation donors to recognize outstanding work from promising African-American fiction writers. The award honors Pointe Coupee Parish native Ernest Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the international literary world. Gaines died in 2019 at his home in Oscar, La., at the age of 86.

“Everywhere You Don’t Belong” is both a dark and humorous coming-of-age story of Claude McKay Love, a young man living with his grandmother on the south side of Chicago during the 1990s. Claude is an average kid in the contemporary world who deals with a cast of colorful characters and with issues of love, neighborhood violence and peer pressure, as he tries to figure out his life’s path and a place of belonging.

Bump’s fiction and essays have appeared in The Huffington Post, Slam, Springhouse Journal and other publications. He earned an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He currently resides in Buffalo, New York.

The award will be presented to Bump at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 28 via a live virtual ceremony. The event is free and open to the public. A link and invitation will be viewable at

More about Ernest Gaines

During his lifetime, Gaines received a National Medal of Arts Award (2013), a MacArthur Foundation’s Genius Grant, and the National Humanities Medal among numerous others. He was 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.

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