Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy birthday, Ernest J. Gaines

It is the birthday of writer Ernest J. Gaines (1933), whose best-known novels are The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971), A Gathering of Old Men (1983), and A Lesson Before Dying (1993), which won the National Book Award. He was born on a plantation in Louisiana, in the fifth generation of a family of sharecroppers that lived in old slave quarters. He was raised by a handicapped aunt. When he was 15, Gaines moved to California to live with his parents. Later in life, he came back to the plantation where he was born, bought part of it and had an old church he grew up with restored and moved to his land. Here is an interview with him about A Lesson Before Dying.

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