624 Pirate's Alley
New Orleans, LA 70116
A Lesson Before Dying
Ernest J. Gaines
The Faulkner Society issued a series of news releases to area media. The first on August 22 was a formal announcement of the National Endowment for the Arts grant for the "As I Lay Dying BIG READ and the reasons the Faulkner Society selected the Ernest Gaines novel for the focus book of its grant application to NEA. The second big announcement on September 10 outlined plans for the project, including the Orientation for Participating Teachers and librarians, and Faulkner Salutes Ernest Gaines. The third major announcement on October 5 outlined plans for the General Public Kick-off. The fourth major announcement included a formal call for Academic papers on "As I Lay Dying" and related subjects to be presented at "Words & Music," November 28- December 2, and an invitation to book clubs in the New Orleans area to participate in BIG READ by reading and discussing the book and attending the public events of BIG READ. Each of the news releases was accompanied by a description of the book and comments about it from scholars. These releases were interspersed with reminders to e-mail lists. The Society also sent out a major mailing to its extensive snail mail list of a brochure about BIG READ and "A Lesson Before Dying" and the Faulkner Society's project events planned, which contained an appeal for donations to the project. The brochure mailing included a bookmark for each recipient.
Event Location: From: 624 Pirate's Alley , To: New Orleans area media, New Orleans, LA 70116
The Faulkner Society will saluted the principles of BIG READ on the anniversary of it's namesake's birthday, September 25. Speakers included Dr. John Shelton Reed, one of the founders of the University of North Carolina's Center for the Study of the South, and author of the new non-fiction book, "Dixie Bohemia," who discussed the importance of reading good literature, learning to appreciate the creators of literature, and the importance of supporting young students and developing writers as essential to the very fabric of a healthy society. Dr. Reed used the work of William Faulkner And Ernest Gaines as examples of how a society is informed by its great writers. The reception was free and open to the public by advance reservations to Faulkhouse@aol.com.
Event Location: The Cabildo, Jackson Square, Corner St. Peter & Chartres Streets, New Orleans, LA 70116
The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society kicked off its activities for New Orleans area teachers of English literature and creative writing and librarians at an orientation session, which featured a talk by Dr. Nghana Lewis of Tulane University, who first heard Ernest Gaines speak when she was eight years old. The speech inspired her to study English and pursue a teaching and writing career. Dr. Lewis broke the book down into thematic divisions and Strategies for teaching each division. The event also feature a screening of a filmed interview with Ernest Gaines produced by the National Endowment for the Arts projected for the audience directly from the NEABIG READ web site. Mr. Gaines, author of “A Lesson Before Dying," appeared in person at later events of BIG READ, at which participating teachers were invited guests. A lively question and answer session will followed the discussion and film. Chris Smith of Jefferson Public Library, which is a BIG READ Partner of the Faulkner Society, discussed the teaching materials provided by NEA for BIG READ, as well as other resources for teachers found on the NEA/BIG READ web site. Free copies of the novel for students of participating teachers were distributed to teachers, libraries at this event. Participating teachers registered for BIG READ unable to attend the orientation session can pick up their books at the library by prior appointment with Chris Smith. Refreshments were provided. The audience also included a number of college professors who participated in BIG READ.
Event Location: East Bank Regional Library, Jefferson Parish, 4747 West Napoleon Avenue, Metairie, LA 70005
New Orleans playwright, novelist, and host of WYLD Radio's prizewinning talk show, "Sunday Journal," Hal Clark, interviewed Louisiana literary master Ernest Gaines and the show was broadcast live on Sunday, September 30 and then re-broadcast on October 21 and November 25 . WYLD-FM, a BIG READ partner of the Faulkner Society, is a successful urban radio operation with a large and loyal audience in metropolitan New Orleans. Hal Clark, the host of "Sunday Journal," who has won numerous awards for journalism, also is a successful and prize-winning author, whose most recent play, "Fishers of Men," premiered last summer to sell-out audiences. The interview can be heard at this link: http://www.wyldfm.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?more_page=1&podcast=SundayAMJournal&selected_podcast=Ernest_J_Gaines_2012_edited_1349139202_5556.mp3 The metropolitan area audience of WYLD-FM is approximately 350,000 listeners.
Event Location: WYLD Station, 929 Howard Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70113
The Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society e-mailed brochures to 4,000 area adults on our various e-mail lists. The brochure had a discussion of the BIG READ focus novel, "A Lesson Before Dying," and information about the focus author, Ernest L. Gaines, along with tentative plans for BIG READ, 2012 and a request for donation support of the project. A week earlier, the same brochure, printed in-kind by our regular printer, Sir Speedy New Orleans, was sent to 3,000 friends and members by snail mail. Postage was an in-kind gift from a local law firm. The snail mail brochures each had an NEA BIG READ bookmark as part of the package.
Event Location: To Addresses of 3,000 members and friends of the Faulkner Society, New Orleans area addresses, New Orleans Metro Area, LA NA
CELEBRATE THE BIG READ IN JEFFERSON PARISH was presented by The Jefferson Parish Public Library and included a Screening of the Film Adaptation of "A Lesson Before Dying" "A Lesson Before Dying "(1999, 101 minutes) was screened as part of the library’s BIG READ celebration. The movie, created for television by HBO, was shown at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Eastbank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie. A discussion of the book and the film and refreshments followed the screening. The Library is a BIG READ partner with the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society. The discussion centered on the story's plot: When a young black man is wrongly condemned for the murder of a white man, his family convinces a trusted schoolteacher to visit him daily. In the process, both men learn lessons about the never-ending struggle for human dignity. Based on the prize-winning novel by Louisianian Ernest J. Gaines, this story of racism and redemption in the Deep South received an Emmy® for Outstanding Made for Television Movie.
Event Location: West Bank Region Library, Jefferson Parish, 2751 Manhattan Boulevard, Harvey, LA 70058
The Great Books Club meets on the third Thursday of each month to read classic literature. On Thursday, October 18th the club will met to discuss "A Lesson Before Dying," the classic novel of crime and punishment by Ernest Gaines. The Great Books Club has been meeting monthly for more than 10 years. Meetings are held upstairs in the East Bank Regional Library AV conference room. To become a member, Call library staff member Chris Smith, facilitator for the Great Books Club, at 838-1109 for further information. Free and open to the public; registration is not required.
Event Location: Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Ave., 4747 West Napoleon Avenue, Metairie, LA 70001
The general public kick-off was immediately following the BIG READ workshop for young musicians. The kick-off began, when the Roots of Music band assembled in The Cabildo courtyard and were led out into world famous Jackson Square by a famous tribe of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians, "The Guardians of the Flame," who are musicians and performers and who regularly present performances and act out scenes from famous books in the public schools of New Orleans as part of their ongoing literacy objectives. They appeared in costume and joined the students for a concert for the general public outside in Jackson Square, as a prelude for the Society's general public kick-off next door in The Presbytere. (These facilities, the Cabildo, the Armory, and the Presbytere are owned by the Louisiana State Museum, which was a partner of the Faulkner Society for BIG READ, 2012.) Following the concert, Dr. Nghana Lewis of Tulane, who conducted the reading workshop for student musicians, gave a similar talk for adults. That event featured refreshments. The event was free. The audience was made up of general public readers, writers, teachers, parents of Roots of Music students and public officials. The preliminaries in Jackson Square were covered by local TV.
Event Location: The Presbytere, Louisiana State Museum, Jackson Square, Corner St. Ann & Chartres Streets, New Orleans, LA 70116
The Literary Lions Book Club is hosted by Joseph J. DeSalvo, Jr., co-founder of the Faulkner Society, in his independent bookstore in the ground floor room where William Faulkner wrote his first novel, "Soldiers' Pay." The Book Club meets quarterly. Members of the public who wish to hear a discussion and/or join are invited to contact Faulkhouse@aol.com. This session of the club was devoted to "A Lesson Before Dying," specifically an examination of the principal characters.
Event Location: 624 Pirate's Alley, Faulkner House, New Orleans, LA 70116
THE 2012 BIG READ: "A LESSON BEFORE DYING" A Joint Venture of The National Endowment for the Arts and its partners; The Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society; Tulane University; the New Orleans Jazz Institute and Jazz Orchestra; and the University of New Orleans. Part One: "How to Create a Winning Manuscript" This session featured novelist George Bishop, author of "A Letter to My Daughter" and judge of the Faulkner Society's Short Story by a High School Student Category of the "William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition." He introduced the winner, Leigh Vila, a student at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, who read her winning manuscript. Part Two: "Using Fiction to Get at the Truth" This part of the event showcased Louisiana literary master Ernest Gaines, interviewed by Grammy winner Irvin Mayfield. Mayfield, one of the city’s renowned trumpet masters, created a new, original jazz suite, based on the work of Ernest Gaines, which was premiered as part of "A Lesson Before Dying BIG READ" on Friday, November 30 at the recently renovated Joy Theatre. The program was introduced and moderated by playwright and novelist Hal Clark, who also is host for WYLD-FM's award winning talk show, "Sunday Journal." The audience was made up of middle, junior, and high school students, teachers and librarians, along with college English and writing students of Tulane and the University of New Orleans, Dillard University, and Xavier University and some college professors. Registered guests of Words & Music, a Literary Feast in New Orleans also were guests at this event. Note: the classes of two participating high school teachers, who received books for their students and who taught the book during the project, were unable to come at the last minute because an important test was scheduled unexpectedly at their schools by school administrators. In spite of this fact we had the largest audience we have every had for a BIG READ event. The students were eager to pose questions during the question and answer session following, facilitated by Tulane English students. Because the venue is a teaching building and we were worried about the possibility of students making too much noise, our plan to distribute bagged lunches was cancelled and teachers who requested were given a private donation (by Rosemary James personally) to purchase pizza lunches on campus for their students. Some teachers provided their own bagged lunches for students to eat on the return to schools. Other students were able to have lunch at their schools. The event was filmed by the Film Department of the University of New Orleans for educational purposes. A copy will be made available to the Faulkner Society for its educational purposes when editing is completed. The 2012 "A Lesson Before Dying BIG READ Master Class" was presented by the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society and partners with a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Free to Louisiana students, teachers, and librarians on a first come-first serve basis with reservations to Faulkhouse@aol.com. Advance reservations were required. For information on how to participate in similar events in the future, contact Faulkhouse@aol.com. For more information on this event's speakers, visit www.wordsandmusic.org.
Event Location: Dixon Hall, Tulane University, 7041 Freret Street, New Orleans, LA 70118
The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, the New Orleans Public Library, and the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society joined hands to present a free public program honoring Ernest Gaines, author of "A Lesson Before Dying." Grammy Award winning trumpet artist, composer, and founding director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Irvin Mayfield, interviewed Mr. Gaines about his work. There was a reading from "A Lesson Before Dying" by Clarke Peters, well known actor and one of the stars of the ongoing HBO series, "Treme," set in New Orleans. The event, which attracted a capacity audience of some 400 persons, also included a sneak preview of music composed by Mayfield, inspired by "A Lesson Before Dying" and other works by Ernest Gaines. The Faulkner Society was a major underwriter of the gala premiere of the new Jazz Suite at the recently renovated Joy Theatre the following evening, November 30
Event Location: New Orleans Public Library, Main Branch, Duncan Plaza, 219 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70116
Louisiana literary master Ernest Gaines, author of "A Lesson Before Dying," was the featured Speaker at Literature & Lunch, a ticketed event of Words & Music/BIG READ and open to the public. His topic was "Harsh Reality as Inspiration for Fiction." WYLD-FM radio talk show host and playwright-author Hal Clark introduced the program and moderated. T. Geronimo Johnson, a New Orleans native, Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and author of the debut novel, "Hold It 'Til It Hurts" interviewed Mr. Gaines. Hal Clark conducted a question and answer session for Mr. Gaines and the audience following the interview. The audience was made up of Faulkner Society members and friends, college students attending on a complimentary basis, and developing writers registered for Words & Music workshops and master classes. For details about these authors, visit www.wordsandmusic.org.
Event Location: Hotel Monteleone, Riverview Room, 200 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
The Faulkner Society and the New Orleans Jazz Institute, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and the University of New Orleans presented a world premiere concert of original, new music composed by Louisiana trumpet artist and New Orleans music ambassador, Grammy winner Irvin Mayfield. The new jazz suite was inspired by and based on the master works of revered Louisiana fiction writer Ernest Gaines, author of "A Lesson Before Dying." Mr. Gaines appear at the event with his wife Dianne. Joining them was famed actress Cicely Tyson, who stared in film adaptations of "A Lesson Before Dying" and the Gaines novel, "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman." Ms. Tyson did a performance reading from the work of Mr. Gaines the following night, December 1 at the Faulkner Society's annual meeting, Faulkner for All! The gala event took place in the recently renovated Joy Theatre, a landmark in New Orleans since 1947 and located across Canal Street from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. This was a ticketed event open to the general public. The Faulkner Society was a major underwriter of the event, which attracted a capacity crowd of 612, including guests registered for the Faulkner Society's festival, Words & Music, a Literary Feast in New Orleans, who received tickets in their registration packages. The Faulkner Society also provided complimentary tickets to young, developing musicians, as did the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Mayfield's music is splendid and each movement echoes important themes in the work of Mr. Gaines and is reminiscent of the era in which the work by Mr. Gaines is set. Mayfield, who in addition to his musical talents, is a dedicated scholar of southern literature, presented comments on each movement before the orchestra performed the movement. CNN's popular correspondent and documentary producer, Soledad O'Brien, was a special guest for the event and did a performance reading from "A Lesson Before Dying." The orchestra received a long, standing ovation at the conclusion and presented an encore. Many of the concert guests were guests at the Faulkner Society's annual Jazz After Hours at the Napoleon House event, which attracted some 150 persons. This was a ticketed event open to the general public. The music was by a newly formed band of high accomplished musicians, all with literary interests, "Married Woman." The band founder is bestselling non-fiction author and poet, Rodger Kamenetz. Other band members included well-known jazz writer Ben Sandmel, author of the new biography about a New Orleans legend, Ernie K-Doe. The band put together a musical tribute to Ernest Gaines and to Ernie K-Doe. This event is popular especially with the literary and performance art faculty of Words & Music. The venue is the most popular watering hole in New Orleans located in an historic building, which had been set aside for Emperor Napoleon when it was believed he would be exiled to Louisiana.
Event Location: Joy Theatre , 1200 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70112
"The Aesthetics of Literature: The Art of Reading" Renowned literary critic Jonathan Yardley of the "Washington Post" presented a master class on getting the most out of what you read for both career success and lifelong personal satisfaction. The witty and erudite Mr. Yardley, author of the new book, "Second Readings," and other works of literature, instructed the audience in how to become an "artist" in the discipline of reading. He used as his text excerpt from Peter Taylor's "A Summons To Memphis," a classic southern novel of the white South, as a contrast to "A Lesson Before Dying," a story of the Jim Crow South to demonstrate how to get the most out of a work of literary art. He took questions at the end of his lecture. That evening, December 1, Mr. Yardley was one of the toastmasters for the Faulkner Society's gala annual meeting, "Faulkner for All." At that event, he discussed the importance of the work of Ernest Gaines.
Event Location: Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, 200 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
"Faulkner for All!" is the Faulkner Society's festive annual meeting, a two-part event beginning with cocktails and the presentation of the Society's gold medals and cash prizes to the seven winners of "The William Faulkner - William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. This year the cocktail hour event was enlivened with a performance by one of our city's famous Mardi Gras Indian Tribes, the Guardians of the Flame, a group which is heavily engaged in efforts to combat illiteracy among young Afro-American students. The tribe, headed by "Big Chief" Brian Nelson and his mother, tribal Queen Cherize Harrison-Nelson, affectionately known in New Orleans as Queen Reesie, regularly dramatizes passages from important works of literature for public school elementary and middle school classes, and the tribe participated in our October 24th workshop for young musicians and general public kick-off. They are wonderful role models for the young people of New Orleans, who are first captured by the colorful costumes and music and then taught the importance of reading. The Guardians of the Flame members each make a new indian costume each year for Mardi Gras and appearances during that year. The costumes are hand beaded and feathered and take most of a year to complete. To fund literacy projects the tribe makes pieces of special beadwork to sell for presentation to very special people. This year, they made a lively presentation of beadwork for Ernest Gaines, Cicely Tyson, and Joseph J. DeSalvo, Faulkner Society co-founder, who was celebrating his 80th birthday at the event. At the conclusion of the cocktail event, the crowd moves to a ballroom for Part II of "Faulkner for All," which includes dinner, dancing, and the presentation of annual ALIHOT (A Legend in His/Her Own Time) Awards for Literature, Music, and Philanthropy. Pulitzer Prize winning critic Jonathan Yardley of the "Washington Post" was toastmaster for this event, introducing Ms. Cicely Tyson, who starred in film adaptations of "A Lesson Before Dying" and "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman." She did a performance reading from the work of Mr. Gaines in his honor. This year's ALIHOT for Literature was presented to Ernest Gaines for his body of work. Jon Yardley introduced Mr. Gaines, describing the impact of the work of this literary legend and then presented the award, a gold medal. Mr. Gaines responded with both gracious thanks and amusing remarks about Mr. Faulkner and his work. Music for dancing was provide by the C'est Bon band, led by popular pianist and singer in the Professor Longhair tradition, Armand St. Mart, who selected musical pieces popular in the era of the novel, "A Lesson Before Dying." Other ALIHOT winners included Irvin Mayfield for music, who talked about how Mr. Gaines has inspired his work, and Judith Swenson for philanthropy, who talked about the importance of reading in her own life and in the life of her late husband, both admirers of Mr. Gaines and his work. The Guardians of the Flame were our guests for this event as were Faulkner Society members, patrons, registered guests of Words & Music and finalists in the 2012 "William Faulkner - William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition." The event was a ticket event, open to the general public.
Event Location: Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, 200 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
The underlying themes of "A Lesson Before Dying" were the subject when literary scholars interviewed Ernest Gaines about his master work. Great Literature as a Force for Social and Personal Soul Searching, Spiritual Reckoning was the focal point of the discussion, along with the universal themes of man's inhumanity to man and the longing for love, brotherhood, and human dignity. This featured Tulane University professors Dr. Nghana Lewis and Dr. T.R. Johnson, who interviewed Mr. Gaines on these themes. Mr. Gaines signed his books immediately after the session, which was a ticketed event open to the public. College students attended by advance reservation on a complimentary basis.
Event Location: Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, 200 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
LITERATURE & LUNCH: A SALUTE TO ERNEST GAINES & WILLIAM FAULKNER "The Power of Literature & Its Creators To Change Lives." Ernest Gaines and his wife Dianne and their family were guests of honor for this event, which featured opening remarks by John Shelton Reed, a founder of the Center for the Study of the South at the University of North Carolina and author of the new book, "Dixie Bohemia," all about Faulkner and pals in New Orleans and how Faulkner's life was changed by New Orleans and the mentors—including Sherwood Anderson—he met in New Orleans. Dr. Reed discussed how the work of Southern authors has influenced subsequent generations of southern-born writers and how the work of Ernest Gaines has had the power to change social attitudes and, therefore, the power to change lives. The session, co-sponsored by the English Speaking Union, also featured British English teacher and lecturer Simon Claxton of England, who met William Faulkner, a meeting which completely changed the course of his life. Claxton, whose appearance in New Orleans was funded by the English Speaking Union was introduced by Dr. E. Quinn Peeper, chairman of the New Orleans Chapter and a member of the Faulkner Society's executive board. This luncheon was followed by dessert and champagne toasts to Mr. Faulkner in the New Orleans residence he made famous, Faulkner House, hosted by Rosemary James and Joseph J. DeSalvo, the traditional farewell event of Words & Music.
Event Location: Riverview Room, Hotel Monteleone, 200 Royal Street , New Orleans, LA 70116
The Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society announces it will co-sponsor an essay competition with the English Department of Xavier University, which is doing a BIG READ salute to Ernest L. Gaines in the Spring. Essays are to be based on the work of Ernest L. Gaines and his master work, "A Lesson Before Dying." The essays will be accepted by the Faulkner Society and judged by Professor Kathryn Krotzer Laborde of Xavier, who is both an non-fiction author and a fiction writer and who won the Faulkner Society's gold medal for Best Novella two years ago. The winner will be announced at a joint event during Xavier's BIG READ program. The Faulkner Society will award the winner free all-events tuition for Words & Music, 2013, a $750 value.
Event Location: 624 Pirate's Alley, New Orleans, LA 70116