Celebrating Ernest J. Gaines, 50 Years On

[by Meredith Wiggins]

2014 is an exciting year for readers and scholars interested in the work of Ernest J. Gaines.

It’s the 50th anniversary of the award-winning author’s first novel, Catherine Carmier, which set the stage for the Gaines’s later, better-known fiction, including 1971’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, 1983’s A Gathering of Old Men, and 1993’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated A Lesson Before Dying.

Alongside Catherine Carmier‘s 50th anniversary, the Ernest J. Gaines Center, housed at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, has announced the creation of the Ernest J. Gaines Society, “a literary society to promote research and scholarship on the work of Ernest J. Gaines.”  

Some of HBW’s holdings by Gaines.

The Ernest J. Gaines Center Blog provides links to a number of interesting and useful resources celebrating the anniversary of the publication of Gaines’s first novel.

Recently, to celebrate their fiftieth blog post, blog staff members including Dr. Matthew Teutsch and Gaines Center Graduate Assistant Jennifer Morrison also produced a shot video discussing the importance of Catherine Carmier and highlighting some of their favorite pieces in the Center’s extensive Gaines collections.  Teutsch chose a letter to Gaines from James Baldwin about the publication of Miss Jane Pittman, while Morrison selected a letter to Gaines written by Alice Walker about the short story collection The Sky is Gray (1963).  The video is embedded below.