Townsend Prize

The 2020 Townsend Prize for Fiction

The safety of our community is our highest priority at Georgia State University and the Georgia Center for the Book. Out of an abundance of caution regarding the current coronavirus situation, the Townsend Prize for Fiction award ceremony scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at the DeKalb History Center has been cancelled. Those patrons who have already purchased tickets to the event can contact Joe Davich, executive director of the Georgia Center for the Book, for a refund at 404-370-3070, ext. 2285. After April 23, please contact Alicia Johanneson ( for any possible updates about the prize’s awarding.


On Thursday, April 23, 2020, lovers of literary fiction throughout the state will gather together to celebrate the works of the ten authors chosen as finalists for this biennium’s awarding of the Townsend Prize for Fiction. The reception and award ceremony will take place at the historic DeKalb History Center in downtown Decatur from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The finalists for the 2020 award represent the very best achievements in letters by Georgia writers over the course of the preceding two years, reflecting the prize’s celebration of the Southern voice in all its intricacies and incarnations. The list of finalists is as follows:

Brass by Xhenet Aliu
The Wrong Heaven by Amy Bonnaffons
The Day’s Heat by Roberta George
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
The Vain Conversation by Anthony Grooms
The Magnetic Girl by Jessica Handler
Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
Wild Milk by Sabrina Orah Mark
Dixie Luck by Andy Plattner
Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro


As in previous years, the 2020 award ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. with a catered reception with bar and live music. The evening’s program will begin at 7 p.m., followed by the celebration’s keynote address from Patrick Ryan, acclaimed author of the short story collection The Dream Life of Astronauts, the novel Send Me, and three novels for young adults. The winner of the 2020 Townsend Prize for Fiction will be announced toward the end of the program.


Physical tickets will not be issued for this event. Registration and payment for admission to the reception and award ceremony are available online only from March 1 through April 16. Admission to this year’s event will not be allowed at the door, so be sure to register and pay before the April 16 deadline. Prices for admission are as follows:

Early-bird registration: March 1 through 31

Individual seating: $30 (1 guest)
8-person table seating: $240 (8 guests)
10-person table seating: $300 (10 guests)

Late-registration: April 1 through 16

Individual seating: $35 (1 guest)
8-person table seating: $280 (8 guests)
10-person table seating: $350 (10 guests)

Please remember to enter the full name of each person sitting at a table when registering. If you need assistance with registration, please call Joe Davich, executive director of the Georgia Center for the Book at 404-370-3070, ext. 2285.

With a legacy of more than a quarter century, the Townsend Prize is the state of Georgia’s oldest and most prestigious literary award. The 2020 celebration will mark the thirty-eighth year of the award’s existence, and the twenty-first awarding of the prize.