Call for Nominations

Judy Gaines Young Award 10th anniversary

The Judy Gaines Young Book Award committee at Transylvania University is honored to announce a call for nominations for the 2024-25 academic year, marking the 10th anniversary of this prestigious award.

Established in 2015 by neurosurgeon Byron Young ’61 in honor of his wife Judy ’62, an avid reader and poet, the award recognizes outstanding literary contributions by writers in the Appalachian region. The finalists have created some of the best work depicting the stories of Appalachia.

Over the last nine years, the Judy Gaines Young Book Award has evolved to honor a significant body of work or a noted person writing in the region. For example, in 2021 Robert Gipe won for his “Canard County Trilogy” — “Trampoline” (2015), “Weedeater” (2018) and “Pop” (2021). Other recent awardees include Frank X Walker, Jeff Worley, Richard Taylor and George Ella Lyon; each has served as a poet laureate of Kentucky in addition to authoring an impressive collection of published works. 

The committee is looking for:

  • Authors with a significant body of work that resonates with the Appalachian experience.
  • Individual voices deemed important to the literary landscape of the region.

Do you know a writer whose work deserves recognition?

We encourage nominations from readers, publishers and literary organizations. To nominate an author for the 2025 Judy Gaines Young Book Award, please complete this form detailing the nominee’s achievements and how their work contributes to the literary heritage of Appalachia. 

Submission deadline: July 15, 2024

Past winners:

  • Holly Goddard Jones (2015)
  • Amy Green (2016)
  • Crystal Wilkinson (2017)
  • Kathleen Driskell (2018)
  • Silas House (2019)
  • Frank X Walker (2020)
  • Robert Gipe (2021)
  • Jeff Worley (2022)
  • Richard Taylor (2023)
  • George Ella Lyon (2024)

Nominator information

About the nominee

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