Ernest Gaines speaking at ULL

by Heather Miller

UL Lafayette's famed author and writer in residence emeritus is making an appearance on campus Tuesday at the research center named in his honor.

Nationally acclaimed author and former longtime UL Lafayette professor Ernest Gaines is returning to campus Oct. 18 for a reading from his latest work-in-progress.

The 2 p.m. book reading and accompanying discussion are being organized by UL Lafayette students in Reggie Scott Young's Louisiana Literature course, as well as Dupré Library, the ULL English Department, the Deep South Festival of Writers and College of Liberal Arts Dean Dr. David Barry, who's retiring in spring 2012.

The event will take place at UL's own Ernest Gaines Center, a scholarly center for manuscript and research access on all things Gaines:

[The latest work's] early drafts concern a story of a young writer who, like Gaines did years ago, comes back to Louisiana after years of living elsewhere in an attempt to find his voice as a writer. Gaines has noted, however, that it is still early and the story may decide to go in a completely different direction.

Gaines is the author of eight books of fiction, including the classics The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Lesson before Dying. He served as a member of the UL Lafayette faculty for 21 years before he retired in 2005. His latest book, Mozart and Leadbelly: Stories and Essays by Ernest J. Gaines was compiled and edited by Young and Gaines Center Director and Professor of English Marcia Gaudet.

Gaudet, Young, and recent UL Lafayette doctoral candidate Wiley Cash also compiled and edited a pictorial history of Gaines as a Louisiana artist titled This Louisiana Thing that Drives Me: The Legacy of Ernest J. Gaines. The book is available from the University of Louisiana Press and various bookstores and online vendors.

Read more about Gaines' book reading here.