Award-winning author and The Center for Fiction Board member Jacqueline Woodson hosts this special on-demand Story/Teller event celebrating Ernest Gaines’s famous achievement A Lesson Before Dying. Released in 1993, the novel depicts a young black man facing death row for a crime he didn’t commit. The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award and earned its place as a modern classic. The Center for Fiction is hosting an NEA Big Read of the novel starting this month, and we invite you all to join together to read and discuss this essential American story. Award-winning actor Leon Addison Brown performed a dramatic reading from the book.
The Center for Fiction’s Big Read initiative, running from March to June 2021, includes free online reading discussion groups, workshops for young writers, flash fiction writing contest for teens, and public events with authors and scholars. This initiative is made possible through a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
A Lesson Before Dying
By Ernest J. Gaines
Published by Vintage
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, A Lesson Before Dying is a deep and compassionate novel about a young man who returns to 1940s Cajun country to visit a black youth on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. Together they come to understand the heroism of resisting.