Ernest J. Gaines

Literary Birthday – 15 January – Ernest J. Gaines

Ernest J. Gaines was born 15 January 1933 and died 5 November 2019.

Ernest J. Gaines: Top 10 Quotes

  1. Nietzsche said without music, life would be a mistake. To me, without books, life would be a mistake.
  2. All writers write about the past, and I try to make it come alive so you can see what happened.
  3. Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken. Everything.
  4. I believe that the writer should tell a story. I believe in plot. I believe in creating characters and suspense.
  5. I knew I wanted to be a writer and I knew if I had a wife and family, I would neglect something, and I was afraid it wouldn’t be the writing.
  6. I suppose I started writing seriously at 16-years-old. I thought I wrote a novel at 16 and sent it to New York! They sent it back because it wasn’t novel.
  7. Everything’s been said, but it needs saying again.
  8. The artist must be like a heart surgeon. He must approach something with sympathy, but with a sort of coldness and work and work until he finds some kind of perfection in his work. You can’t have blood splashing all over the place. Things must be done very cleanly.
  9. Today I must write a paragraph or a page better than I did yesterday.
  10. I like the sound of people’s voices, and I think what a man says can very well tell what he’s thinking, whether he’s lying or not.

Ernest J. Gaines was an African-American author. He was born on the River Lake plantation in Pointe Coupe Parish, Louisiana, the setting for most of his fiction. At the age of nine he picked cotton in the plantation fields as the black quarter’s school only held classes six months a year. At 15, Gaines moved to California to join his parents. He attended San Francisco State University and later won a writing fellowship to Stanford University. Gaines has written eight books, including Catherine Carmier, Of Love and DustBloodline, The Autobiography of Miss Jane PittmanA Long Day in NovemberIn My Father’s HouseA Gathering of Old Men, and A Lesson Before Dying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Four of his works have been made into television movies.

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by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 15th January 2013