Ernest J. Gaines
Ernest James Gaines (January 15, 1933 – November 5, 2019) was an African-American author whose books include The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Lesson Before Dying, and A Gathering of Old Men.
- King is probably one of three men of this century that I'll call heroic. A fantastic man as far as I'm concerned, for all that he did.
- In an interview with Patricia Rickels, as quoted in John Lowe (1995) Conversations with Ernest Gaines, University Press of Mississippi, p. 131
- I think I'm a very religious person. I think I believe in God as much as any man does. I don't only believe in God, I know there's God.
- Response after being asked "Do you regard yourself as a religious person?", in an interview with Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, February 18, 2011
- I would think a faith in God is one thing. I think that if we could change the whole world and keep the land is another thing. Change things yet keep keep the relationship is another thing.
- Gaines response after being asked: "Do you also see things in that world that you wish could be retained?", as quoted by Marcia Gaudet and Carl WootonPorch in Talk with Ernest Gaines: Conversations on the Writer's Craft (1990)
- In dialogue, I’m dealing with the sounds I’ve heard. One of the reasons I often write from first person or multiple points of view is to hear the voices of different characters. Omniscient narration becomes a problem because, for me, the omniscient is my own voice narrating the story and then bringing in characters for dialogue.
- On how he handled dialogue in his works in “An Interview with Ernest J. Gaines” in The Missouri Review (1999 Dec 1)
- When people hear stories, they identify more closely with the characters. When I read aloud, people always come up to me and say, “I understand it much better now that I’ve heard you read it. I can hear the characters’ voices much clearer…”
- On how his reading aloud helped frame the character’s voice in “An Interview with Ernest J. Gaines” in The Missouri Review (1999 Dec 1)
- All writers write about the past, and I try to make it come alive so you can see what happened.
- In an interview with Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, February 18, 2011
- I was never threatened…I never knew anyone who was lynched. But there was subtle racism every day of my life. You could not speak to a white man unless he spoke to you first. On the sidewalk, I’d have to move so a white person could walk by.
- On his experiences with segregation (as quoted in “Ernest J. Gaines: A Great American Author Pays It Forward to a New Generation of Black Writers” in The Root; 2015 Jan 22)