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HomeNewsArchivesAuthor Ernest J. Gaines to Speak at UVI Via Videoconference

Author Ernest J. Gaines to Speak at UVI Via Videoconference

ITS and Reichhold Center for the Arts, in conjunction with the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts, will host a conversation with Ernest J. Gaines, author of the territory’s 2010 Big Read selection “A Lesson Before Dying.” Gaines was born in 1933 on the River Lake Plantation in Oscar, a hamlet in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, which is the Bayonne of all his fictional work.

Gaines will be live via videoconference from the Pointe Coupee Parish Library in New Roads, Louisiana, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24, in the Administration and Conference Center UVI – St. Thomas campus. The St. Croix UVI location will be announced soon. Gaines will talk to the V.I. audience, provide readings from his writing, answer questions and partake in a discussion. He will also announce the winners of the UVI and the Department of Education’s “A Lesson before Dying” essay contest.
In 2008, the National Endowment for the Arts named “A Lesson Before Dying” as part of its Big Read National Reading Program. The novel, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1993, has sold two million copies. It is the story of a young black man wrongly condemned to Louisiana’s electric chair by a white jury in 1948 and of the teacher who tries to help him meet his death as a man and not as “a hog,” the characterization given him by his defense attorney’s summation to the jury.
Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, the novel won in 1994 the Best Fiction Award by the National Book Critics Circle, the Southern Writers Conference and the Louisiana Library Association. It was also the October 1997 choice of Oprah’s Book Club. HBO premiered the TV film in 1999, which subsequently received two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Made-for-Television Movie and Outstanding Writing for a Mini-Series or Movie (South African writer Ann Peacock).
For more information contact UVI – Big Read coordinator Rachelle Shells at 693-13 67.
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