Ernest Gaines

Ernest Gaines

Infobox writer

imagesize = 150px
name = Ernest J. Gaines
caption =
pseudonym =
birthname =
birthdate = January 15, 1933
birthplace = Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana
deathdate =
deathplace =
occupation = writer
nationality =
period =
genre =
subject =
movement =
notableworks = "A Lesson Before Dying"; "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman"; "A Gathering of Old Men"
spouse =
partner =
children =
relatives =
influences =
influenced =
awards = National Book Critics Circle Award; MacArthur Foundation fellow; American Academy of Arts and Letters; National Humanities Medal; Order of Arts and Letters

website =

Ernest J. Gaines (born January 15, 1933), a prominent African-American fiction writer, is a writer-in-residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Gaines's fiction has received critical acclaim. His works have been taught in college classrooms and translated into many languages, including French, Spanish, German, Russian, and Chinese. Four of his works have been produced into television movies. [Lockhart, John M. "Words & Music", " [ The Riverside Reader] ", February 4, 2008, p. 1]

His 1993 novel, "A Lesson Before Dying", won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. In 2004, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Gaines has been a MacArthur Foundation fellow, inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, awarded the National Humanities Medal, and inducted into the French Order of Arts and Letters as a Chevalier.


Gaines was among the fifth generation of his sharecropper family to be born on the River Lake Plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, an influence and common setting for his fiction. He was the eldest of 12 children, raised by his aunt, who was crippled and had to crawl to get around the house. Although born generations after the end of slavery, Gaines grew up impoverished, in old slave quarters on the plantation.

Gaines's first six years of school took place in the plantation church. A visiting teacher would teach him and the other children for five to six months of each year, depending on when the children were not picking cotton in the fields. Gaines's then spent three years at St. Augustine School, a Catholic school for African Americans in New Roads. Pointe Coupée Parish schooling for African-American children did not continue beyond the eighth grade during this time.

When he was fifteen, Gaines moved to Vallejo, California to join his mother and stepfather, who had left Louisiana during World War II. His first novel was written at age 17, while babysitting his youngest brother. According to one account, he wrapped it in brown paper, tied it with string, and sent it to a New York publisher, who rejected it. Gaines burned the manuscript, but later rewrote it to become his first published novel, "Catherine Carmier".

In 1956, Gaines published his first short story, "The Turtles", in a college magazine at San Francisco State University. He earned a degree in literature in 1957 from SFSU. After spending two years in the Army, he won a writing fellowship to Stanford University.

Since 1984, Gaines has spent the first half of every year in San Francisco and the second half in Lafayette, where he teaches a creative writing workshop every autumn at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Ernest Gaines currently maintains a residence on Louisiana Highway 1 in Oscar, Louisiana, where he and his wife built a home on part of the old plantation where he grew up [] .

Published works

*"" (2005)
*"A Lesson Before Dying" (1993) – National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction (1993); Oprah's Book Club (1997)
*"A Gathering of Old Men" (1983) []
*"In My Father's House" (1978)
*"A Long Day in November" (1971)
*"The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" (1971)
*"Bloodline" (1968)
*"Of Love and Dust" (1967)
*"Catherine Carmier" (1964)

Short stories
*"My Grandpa and the Haint" (1966)
*"A Long Day in November" (1964)
*"The Sky Is Gray" (1963)
*"Just Like a Tree" (1963)
*"Mary Louis" (1960)
*"Boy in the Double-Breasted Suit" (1957)
*"The Turtles" (1956)

Works made into film
*"A Lesson Before Dying", HBO (1999); winner, Emmy Award for Outstanding Made For Television Movie
*"A Gathering of Old Men", CBS Television (1987)
*"The Sky Is Gray", American Short Story Series, PBS (1980)
*"The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman", CBS Television (1974)


*Chevalier (Knight) in the Order of Art and Letters (France) (2000)
*The American Academy of Arts and Letters Department of Literature (2000)
*The National Governors’ Arts Award (2000)
*The Louisiana Writer of the Year Award (2000)
*National Humanities Medal (2000)
*National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (1993)
*John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellow (1993)
*Dos Passos Prize (1993)
*Louisiana Humanist of the Year (1993)
*Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation fellow (1971)
*National Endowment for the Arts grant (1967)
*Wallace Stegner fellow (1957)

Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

An award sponsored by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and established in 2007 to honor Gaines' legacy. Submissions of fiction from African-American writers are eligible. The selected recipient receives a $10,000 award.


*"Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken. Everything."
*"Sometimes you got to hurt something to help something. Sometimes you have to plow under one thing in order for something else to grow."
*"The mark of fear is not easily removed."
*"There will always be men struggling to change, and there will always be those who are controlled by the past."
*"Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?"
*"Words mean nothing. Action is the only thing. Doing. That's the only thing."


* [ UL Lafayette bio]
* [ Random House bio]
* [ The African American Registry]
* [ Quotes source]
* [ Ernest J. Gaines Award]


External links

* [ Samples of Gaines' writing]
* [ Interview with Gaines]
* [ Article about Gaines: "Going Home"]
* [ Interview with Gaines: "Going Home: the transcript"]
* [ Ernest J. Gaines Award]
* [ Interview with Ernest Gaines for OxMag]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ernest Gaines — Ernest J. Gaines Nom de naissance Ernest J. Gaines Naissance 15 janvier 1933 Distinctions National Book Critics Circle Award Chevalier de l Ordre …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ernest J. Gaines — Ernest Gaines Ernest J. Gaines Nom de naissance Ernest J. Gaines Naissance 15 janvier 1933 Distinctions National Book Critics Circle Award Chevali …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gaines — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Ambrose Gaines (* 1959), US amerikanischer Schwimmer Boyd Gaines (* 1953), US amerikanischer Theater , Film und Fernsehschauspieler Charlie Gaines (* 1900), US amerikanischer Jazz Trompeter Chryste Gaines… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gaines — is the name of two towns in the United States: * Gaines, New York * Gaines, Michigan, Village ofAnd two townships: * Gaines Township, Genesee County, Michigan, a civil township in which the above village is located * Gaines Township, Kent County …   Wikipedia

  • Ernest Aldrich Simpson — (May 6, 1895 ndash; November 30, 1958) was a British shipping executive best known as the second husband of Wallis Simpson, who later would marry the former Edward VIII of the United Kingdom.BackgroundBorn in New York City, New York, and educated …   Wikipedia

  • Gaines, Ernest J. — ▪ American author in full  Ernest James Gaines   born Jan. 15, 1933, Oscar, La., U.S.       American writer whose fiction, as exemplified by The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971), his most acclaimed work, reflects African American… …   Universalium

  • Ernest von Vegesack — Ernst Mattias Peter von Vegesack (18 June 1820 – 12 January 1903) was a Swedish volunteer in the American Civil War and a member of the parliament of Sweden. After his return to Sweden, the Union promoted him to the rank of Brigadier general. In… …   Wikipedia

  • A Lesson Before Dying — is Ernest J. Gaines eighth novel, published in 1993. Author and his timesErnest J. Gaines was born in 1933, during the height of the Great Depression. His father was a sharecropper on the River Lake Plantation in Oscar, Louisiana which meant that …   Wikipedia

  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman —   …   Wikipedia

  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”