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A Guide to the Ernest J. Gaines Center   Tags: african american, ernest j. gaines, history, literature, national endowment for the humanities  

This guide will give you information about Ernest J. Gaines and the Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Last Updated: Jan 17, 2017 URL: http://louisiana.libguides.com/ernestgainescenter Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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About the Ernest J. Gaines Center

The Ernest J. Gaines Center at University of Louisiana at Lafayette is an international center for scholarship on Ernest Gaines and his work. The center honors the work of UL Lafayette’s Writer-in-Residence Emeritus and provides a space for scholars and students to work with the Gaines papers and manuscripts. Gaines’s generous donation of his early papers and manuscripts (through 1983) and some artifacts to Edith Garland Dupré Library provided the foundation for the center’s collection.

The mission of the Ernest J. Gaines Center is to foster research and scholarship on the life and works of Dr. Ernest J. Gaines, to archive, house, preserve, protect and utilize the “Collection of Ernest J. Gaines,” and to make the collection available to scholars in perpetuity. As part of its mission, the Center will collect, catalog and maintain a body of scholarship surrounding Gaines and his works; organize and conduct, as appropriate, colloquia, seminars, and conferences centered upon the Ernest J. Gaines Center.

 

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Ernest J. Gaines

Ernest J. Gaines – A Brief Biography

Ernest J. Gaines (b. 1933) is a world renowned novelist, short story writer, and teacher. Ernest J. Gaines is among the most widely read and highly respected contemporary authors of African American fiction.  He was born in Pointe Coupee Parish in Louisiana and  at age fifteen,  Gaines moved to California, joining his mother and stepfather there, because his Louisiana parish had no high school for African Americans.  

After graduating high school and serving in the Army, Gaines enrolled in San Francisco State University where he began publishing in the university’s quarterly literary journal. These stories secured him a place in Stanford University’s graduate program for creative writing. After leaving Stanford, he settled in the San Francisco area.

In 1981, he accepted the position of Writer-in-Residence (Visiting) here at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (University of Southwestern Louisiana at the time). Not long into his tenure, he published A Gathering of Old Men (1983) which was also adapted for television. 1993 saw the publication of A Lesson Before Dying, which was adapted for television in 1999 and is one of his most critically acclaimed novels.

Before retiring in 2004, Dr. Gaines won numerous awards including the Louisiana Humanist of the Year and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1993. In 2000, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal and was made a Chevalier (Knight) of the French Order of Arts and Letters.

 The Ernest J. Gaines Center at University of Louisiana at Lafayette is an international center for scholarship on Ernest Gaines and his work. The center honors the work of UL Lafayette’s Writer-in-Residence Emeritus and provides a space for scholars and students to work with the Gaines papers and manuscripts. Gaines’s generous donation of his early papers and manuscripts (through 1983) and some artifacts to Edith Garland Dupré Library provided the foundation for the center’s collection. The center also anticipates acquiring the remainder of Gaines’s papers.

UL Lafayette established the Ernest J. Gaines Center in 2008, and a Board was appointed shortly thereafter. Construction of the center, located on the third floor of Edith Garland Dupré Library, began in August 2009. The center was completed in fall 2010 and held its grand opening on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010.

 

Head of the Ernest J. Gaines Center

Cheylon Woods

Please welcome our new Assistant Professor of Library Science/Archivist & Head of the Ernest J. Gaines Center, Cheylon Woods. Contact her at (337)482-1848 or at gainescenter@louisiana.edu.

 

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