As of May 2021, the Atlanta Writers Club became the new steward of the Townsend Prize for Fiction. Established in 1981 in memory of Jim Townsend, founding editor of Atlanta magazine and mentor to a generation of remarkable Southern authors, the Prize was administered by The Chattahoochee Review and Georgia State University’s Perimeter College since the 1990s before it was inherited by the AWC, a sponsor of the Prize for years.

Awarded every two years, the Prize honors the best piece of literary fiction written by a Georgia author during the time since the last award. A selection committee that includes members of the Georgia literary community will consider all qualified contenders for the cash prize and silver platter by reviewing all eligible work and narrowing the list of possibilities to ten finalists, which will then be sent to three out-of-state judges for the final decision.


In order to be considered for the AWC Townsend Prize for Fiction, all nominees must meet the following requirements:

  1. The work must be a novel, a novella, or a short story collection.
  2. The work must be a piece of literary fiction. Literary fiction is defined as a work of the imagination that is not commercial or genre fiction, meaning it is not primarily defined as a romance, science fiction, mystery, thriller, or similar category of writing. In general, it should be more character- than plot-driven, more introspective, more conversant with social issues, and more reflective of the concerns of the human condition.
  3. The work must have been written and published while the author was a resident of the state of Georgia.
  4. The work must have been published between January 2020 and January 2023.
  5. The work must not have been written by a current member of the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Writers Club.
  6. The work must not have been self-published. 
  7. The publisher of the work must be willing to submit eight (8) copies of the book to the AWC Townsend Prize for Fiction selection committee for judging.

To nominate a book for consideration, please complete the following form. All questions can be directed to Clayton Ramsey at