Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Fl-Ha)

Gaines, Ernest J.

united slave louisiana black

(US, 1933– )

Gaines was born on a plantation in Louisiana, the state which serves as the setting for his work. His writing is based in the African-American oral tradition and centres on issues of community, history, and black masculinity. Like Hemingway, Gaines captures the regional speech of the southern United States in simple yet memorable prose. Through his characters, Gaines gives voice to individuals previously silenced by racial oppression. He is best known for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971) in which an ex-slave chronicles changes in the United States beginning with her childhood on a slave plantation and ending with the dawning of desegregation. A Lesson Before Dying (1993), later made into a TV movie, explores the importance of a black boy believing he is a man so that he may die with dignity. Gaines currently lives in San Francisco and is writer-in-residence at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette.

Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner  FM

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