Biennial award honoring excellence in literary fiction by Georgia authors since 1982


April 16, 2025 Townsend Prize for Fiction Award Ceremony

Tickets ($125) and Sponsorships Now Available





– Nominations for 2025 Townsend Prize for Fiction

In order to be considered for the AWC-GWM 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 2023 and December 2024.
  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





Congratulations to the 2023 AWC Townsend Prize for Fiction winner Sanjena Sathian and all the finalists!


Photo courtesy of Kai Smith, eikönik images

Congratulations to author Sanjena Sathian, winner of the 2023 AWC Townsend Prize for Fiction for her novel Gold Diggers, and to all the finalists!

On April 13, we celebrated a lovely evening at The Wimbish House on Thursday
Photo courtesy of Kai Smith, eikönik images
 with nearly 120 supporters of the Atlanta Writers Club and the literary community.
Our thanks to Melissa Fay Greene, who gave an outstanding keynote address; Robert Strickland for his beautiful piano music before the ceremony; A Capella Books for selling the 10 finalists’ nominated work, Zest catering, and the staff of The Wimbish House, the home of the AWC from the 1920s to 1990.
Special thanks goes to AWC Townsend Director, former AWC president, and officer emeritus Clay Ramsey, the AWC Townsend reading and planning committees, current AWC president Jill Evans, and executive director George Weinstein for their tireless work over the last two years to make Thursday night a reality.
Photo courtesy of Kai Smith, eikönik images
Nominations for the 2025 AWC Townsend Prize for Fiction–awarded biannually to the finest work of literary fiction written by an author in Georgia–will be accepted using the submission form at the bottom of this page for literary fiction published in 2023-2024,







In 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. As of summer 2023, the AWC has partnered with the Georgia Writers Museum to administer this award to take advantage of the strengths and talents of both organizations.

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.


Previous winners:

  • Celestine Sibley, Children, My Children (1982)
  • Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1984)
  • Philip Lee Williams, The Heart of a Distant Forest (1986)
  • Mary Hood, And Venus Is Blue (1988)
  • Sara Flanigan, Alice (1989)
  • Charlie Smith, The Lives of the Dead (1990)
  • Ferrol Sams, When All the World Was Young (1991)
  • Pam Durban, The Laughing Place (1994)
  • JoAllen Bradham, Some Personal Papers (1996)
  • Judson Mitcham, The Sweet Everlasting (1998)
  • James Kilgo, Daughter of My People (2000)
  • Ha Jin, The Bridegroom (short story collection) (2002)
  • Terry Kay, The Valley of Light (2004)
  • Judson Mitcham, Sabbath Creek (2006)
  • Renee Dodd, A Cabinet of Wonders (2008)
  • Kathryn Stockett, The Help (2010)
  • Thomas Mullen, The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers (2012)
  • Anthony Winkler, God Carlos (2014)
  • Mary Hood, A Clear View of the Southern Sky (2016)
  • Julia Franks, Over the Plain Houses (2018)
  • Xhenet Aliu, Brass (2020)
  • Sanjena Sathian, Gold Diggers (2023)


AWC Townsend Prize for Fiction Award Ceremony:

Thursday, April 13, 2023, 6:00-10:00 p.m.


Atlanta Woman’s Club Wimbish House

1150 Peachtree Street NE

Atlanta, GA 30309


Parking is located adjacent to and across the street from Wimbish House.


Keynote Speaker: Melissa Fay Greene


Tickets are $60 apiece and include appetizers, drinks, a buffet dinner, and dessert. Doors open at 6 p.m., with drinks and passed appetizers. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. The award ceremony will commence at about 8 p.m.

Cocktail attire or business attire is recommended.


Refund Policy

Please note that $20 per ticket will be withheld for any refunds requested on of before March 13, 2023. Due to commitments made to the caterer by that cut-off date, no refunds can be given after that time.


Sponsorships for AWC Townsend Prize for Fiction Award Ceremony 

  • Patron Level: $2,500 for 4 award ceremony tickets, a large program listing, two promotional emails sent by the AWC, and an AWC website sponsors page listing
  • Sponsor Level: $1,000 for three award ceremony tickets, a medium program listing, one promotional email sent by the AWC, and an AWC website sponsors page listing
  • Booster Level: $500 for two award ceremony tickets, a small program listing, and an AWC website sponsors page listing
  • Donor Level: $250 for one award ceremony ticket, a smaller program listing, and an AWC website sponsors page listing

To sponsor the award ceremony at any of these levels, please contact AWC Townsend Prize Director Clay Ramsey.


AWC Townsend Prize for Fiction Award Ceremony Sponsors:


With event support provided by Georgia Center for the Book


A Capella Bookstore will sell all ten finalists’ books onsite before and after the award ceremony:

Daniel Black, Don’t Cry for Me

Kimberly Brock, The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare

Taylor Brown, Wingwalkers

Anjali Enjeti, The Parted Earth

Ann Hite, Haints on Black Mountain

Thomas Mullen, Midnight Atlanta

Lo Patrick, The Floating Girls

Josh Russell, King of the Animals

Sanjena Sathian, The Gold Diggers

Tiphanie Yanique, Monster in the Middle