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Novelist Ernest Gaines to Speak at Convocation Sept. 6

gaines.jpgBOONE–Novelist Ernest Gaines will speak at Appalachian State University’s convocation Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. in the Holmes Convocation Center.

Gaines’ book, “A Lesson Before Dying,” was the summer reading selection for this year’s incoming freshmen.

The book, set in a small Louisiana community in the late 1940s, tells the story of the friendship of two black men, one a young adult wrongly condemned to die, and the other a school teacher who is asked to teach the imprisoned man “to die like a man.”

Freshmen at Appalachian have been assigned a common reading as part of their orientation to the university since 1997. Students are given a book during summer orientation and meet to discuss the book prior to the beginning of fall semester classes. The program helps introduce students to academic expectations on a college campus.

Previous selections include “Night” by Elie Wiesel, “In the Time of the Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez and “And the Waters Turned to Blood” by Rodney Barker.

In addition to convocation, Gaines will participate in an open forum discussion Sept. 6 at 1:30 p.m. in I.G. Greer Auditorium, and present a reading and book signing at 7:30 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union hosted by the Visiting Writers Series.

On Friday, Sept. 7, Gaines will present a reading and book signing at the Watauga Public Library at 11:30 a.m. The library appearance is in conjunction with a program cosponsored by Appalachian, the library and Caldwell Community College called “If All of Watauga Read the Same Book.”

In addition, the Department of Theatre and Dance will present a stage adaptation of “A Lesson Before Dying” Sept. 26-30 and Oct. 2-6 at 8 p.m. in Valborg Theater.