Conversations with Ernest Gaines
Collected interviews with the award-winning African American author of A Lesson Before Dying, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Gathering of Old Men, "The Sky Is Gray," and many other works
The winner in 1994 of the National Book Critics Circle Award for A Lesson Before Dying, Gaines, whose career spans more than thirty-five years, continues to receive increasing critical and popular attention. In the community of southern authors, he finds his natural place. “Southern writers,” he says, “have much more in common than differences. They have in common a certain point of view as well.”
Through television productions of his fiction—The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Gathering of Old Men, and “The Sky is Gray”—Gaines has become widely known and appreciated. Although focused principally upon African American life in the Deep South, his writing bears strong influence of European authors.
In these interviews, two of which have never before been printed, Ernest Gaines casts a retrospective light upon his long and productive career. Drawn from journals, magazines, and newspapers, the interviews are occasions for Gaines to recall his childhood, his “bohemian” days in San Francisco, his long effort to get his work published, and recent events in his life—including his marriage and his receiving a MacArthur Prize.