NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An African-American writer from Kentucky who explores generations of black women in a fictional Southern township is the 2016 winner of the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation will present Crystal Wilkinson with the nationally acclaimed award and its $10,000 prize Thursday in Louisiana's capital city.

Wilkinson won for her first novel-length work, "Birds of Opulence." It follows several generations of women of as they are plagued by mental illness, illegitimacy and the embarrassment that ensues in the fictional Southern black township of Opulence.

The award is in its 10th year of supporting outstanding African-American fiction writers.

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