The Writers Guild of America East has tapped John Sayles to receive this year’s Ian McLellan Hunter Award for lifetime achievement in writing.

“John Sayles’ career has provided inspiration to writers and filmmakers from his first feature to his 15th,” said WGA East prexy Herb Sargent. “His innovative and consequential writing includes screenplays, novels and story collections. His drive and commitment are second to none.”

“Hotel Rwanda” writer-director Terry George will present the kudos to Sayles at the 57th annual WGA Awards gala Feb. 19 at New York’s Pierre Hotel, with simultaneous ceremonies held by the WGA West at the Hollywood Palladium.

Sayles began working as a screenwriter for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures in 1979. Early credits include “Piranha,” “Battle Beyond the Stars,” “The Howling” and “Alligator.”

He financed his first feature as writer, director and editor, “The Return of the Secaucus 7,” which won the L.A. Film Critics Award for screenplay. His second film, “Lianna,” dealt with a lesbian relationship.

His first studio movie, “Baby It’s You,” was released in 1983, followed by “Brother from Another Planet.” He then acted in “The Glass Menagerie,” directed three videos for Bruce Springsteen and won a WGA for best TV movie screenplay for “Unnatural Causes.”

Sayles subsequently filmed “Matewan,” “Eight Men Out” and “City of Hope” and received Oscar nominations for the “Passion Fish” and “Lone Star” screenplays. Other credits include “The Secret of Roan Inish,” “Men With Guns,” “Limbo,” “Sunshine State,” “Casa de Los Babys” and “Silver City.”

Established in 1992, the Ian McLellan Hunter Memorial Award has been presented to Ring Lardner Jr., Donald E. Westlake, Evan Hunter, Nora Ephron, Jules Feiffer, Herb Gardner, Horton Foote, William Persky, Jay Presson Allen, Ernest Kinoy, Robert Benton, Walter Bernstein and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.