Jennifer Levasseur, a Plaquemines Parish native, has lived in New Zealand, France, and Australia. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, she is co-editor of Novel Voices, Conversations with James Salter, and Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer at Fifty. Her work has appeared in Tin House, The Kenyon Review, Brick, Glimmer Train, The Missouri Review, and The Australian. She has contributed to many books, including Passing the Three Gates and Conversations with Ernest Gaines. Visit her website at sacredtrespasses.com
9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 4
Ernest J. Gaines: Conversations
10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
Ernest J. Gaines: Conversations (contributor)
As the acclaimed author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest J. Gaines (b. 1933) has been publishing stories and novels for more than sixty years. His brilliant portrayals of race, community, and culture in rural south Louisiana have made him one of the most respected and beloved living American writers.
Ernest J. Gaines: Conversations brings together the author’s own thoughts and words in interviews that range from 1994 to 2017, discussing his life, his work, and his literary legacy. The interviews cover all of Gaines’s works, including his two latest books, Mozart and Leadbelly: Stories and Essays (2005) and The Tragedy of Brady Sims (2017). The book provides a retrospective of his work from the viewpoint of a senior writer, now eighty-five years old, and gives an important international perspective on Gaines and his work.
Among the many things Gaines discusses in his interviews are the recurrent themes in his works: the search for manhood, the importance of personal responsibility and standing with dignity, the problems of fathers and sons, and the challenges of race and racism in America. He examines his fictional world and his strong sense of place, his role as teacher and mentor, the importance of strong women in his life, and the influence of spirituality, religion, and music on his work. He also talks about storytelling, the nature of narrative, writing as a journey, and how he sees himself as a storyteller.
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