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Charles Gaines Wins Capote Prize

Updated: Jan 6, 2020

The Monroeville Literary Festival and the Truman Capote Prize Committee are pleased to announce that Charles Gaines has been selected as the 2020 recipient of the Truman Capote Prize in Literary Non-Fiction.

Charles Gaines was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and at the age of ten moved with his family to Birmingham. He received his undergraduate degree from Birmingham-Southern College. His first novel, Stay Hungry, was published in 1972 and focused on the subculture of bodybuilding during the early 1970s. The book was made into a motion picture in 1976 starring Jeff Bridges, Sally Field and, Arnold Schwarzenegger (in his first film). An award-winning writer across multiple genres, Gaines has written other produced screenplays and adaptations, other fiction and numerous articles about fishing and outdoor life in magazines including Outside and Garden and Gun. In 1980, with his friend Hayes Noel, he became a co-creator of the game of paintball. Gaines is a 2018 inductee of the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.

The Truman Capote Prize recognizes distinguished work in the short story or creative nonfiction by a writer with a strong Alabama connection. It is given in honor of Truman Capote, who spent several years of his childhood in Monroeville, Alabama. He went on to become a professional writer, making waves with his debut novel Other Voices, Other Rooms. Capote’s short stories appeared in numerous national magazines, and his novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) was adapted into a popular film with Audrey Hepburn. Capote’s book In Cold Blood (1966) was a pioneering form of narrative non-fiction, and so the Capote Prize recognizes work from two of Capote’s most noteworthy genres.

Dr. Don Noble, Chairman of the Capote Prize Committee, notes that Gaines’s ten books of nonfiction are what qualified him for the Prize, and highlights Pumping Iron as “gracefully and clearly written.” Of Gaines, Noble says, “Just as we say, half seriously, that Gay Talese was the originator of the New Journalism, we might say that Gaines, first with the novel Stay Hungry, and then Pumping Iron, Pumping Iron II: The Unprecedented Woman, and his biography of Charles Atlas, re-established body-building as a sport in America.”

Charles Gaines will receive the Truman Capote Prize during the Monroeville Literary Festival, March 5-7, 2020. For a complete schedule and ticket information, please visit .

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