Pirate's Alley Faulkner SocietyWords & Music


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          The Society




What We Do


Juleps in June

Words & Music

W&M Faculty:
Authors, Scholars,
Visual Artists, Performers

W&M Faculty:
Agents & Editors

W&M Full Schedule

Schedule At A Glance

W&M Pricing

W&M 2012: Good
Books For Homework

Little Literary Gems
For Writers

Book Order Form

Krewe of Libris

The Double Dealer




The Faulkner Society's 2012

A Lesson Before Dying

Is Presented with a Grant From

National Endowment for the Arts


Arts Midwest


Institute of Museum and Library Services

Our Special Thanks to BIG READ Partners:

The State Library of Louisiana
The Louisiana State Museum
Jefferson Parish Public Library
New Orleans Public Library
The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
The University of New Orleans
Tulane Univeristy
Loyola University
The Guardians of the Flame/Guardians Institute
The Roots of Music
The New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation

The Pabst Brewing Company
Is A Host
Words & Music, 2012 Entertainment Events

These programs aresupported by grants from
The Louisiana Division of the Arts,
Office of Cultural
Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism
In cooperation with the
Louisiana State Arts Council

A Lesson Before Dying BIG READ!

Books change lives for the better.
...Dana Gioia, Poet and Former Chairman, The National Endowment for the Arts

The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society and its grant partners—the Jefferson Parish Public Library, the State Library of Louisiana, the Louisiana State Museum, and New Orleans Jazz Orchestra—have been selected by The National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest, and the Institute of Museum & Library Services for a grant to stage a 2012 BIG READ project designed to stimulate reading among Metropolitan New Orleans teenagers, their parents and other residents of the Metropolitan area. The Society’s project will focus on A Lesson Before Dying by Louisiana literary master Ernest Gaines. The 2012 BIG READ will kick off for the general
public on Wednesday, October 24, at 6:00 p. m. at The Presbytere, Jackson Square.

The Society’s first event was especially for participating teachers and librarians:

Wednesday, September 26
The Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Ave.
5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
A Lesson Before Dying Big Read Orientation for Participating Teachers and Librarians

Principle speaker was Dr. Nghana Lewis of Tulane University, who is a scholar in southern culture and literature with special emphasis on the work of Ernest Gaines. A filmed interview with Mr. Gaines will be shown preceding her talk. Her discussion will focus on the women in the work of Mr. Gaines, whose impressive body of fiction also includes The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,made into a hit feature film starring Cicely Tyson, and six other novels. Ms. Tyson also starred in an HBO film based on A Lesson Before Dying.

Although designed for educators, members of the reading public attended and included college professors and graduale students.

Why We Chose A Lesson Before Dying

Grantees all over the country select works of literary art from a list dictated by NEA. Grant projects focus on a single work of literary art. The Faulkner Society selected A Lesson Before Dying by Louisiana literary master Ernest J. Gaines because its themes are universal, as fresh today as when they were conceived. Because of the ongoing national political and social dialogue about access to full civil liberties by all segments of our society, a dialogue which will reach a crescendo of public interest with the Presidential election debates. The Society believes A Lesson Before Dying will resonate dramatically with both students and their teachers. There is also, of course, the important connection of a living Louisiana author, whose works are proof positive that great literature stimulates serious soul search about issues relating to our humanity.

In its introduction to the novel, the National Endowmen for the Arts has this to say about  A Lesson Before Dying:

The novel has a long history of championing social justice. Fiction has the signal ability to embody social ideas in a compelling narrative that possesses both emotional and intellectual power. Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying offers a painful yet inspirational tale of institutional injustice and personal redemption. It addresses the biggest theme possible—how one affirms life in the face of death. A great book combines enlightenment with enchantment. It awakens our imagination and enlarges our humanity. It can even offer harrowing insights that somehow console and comfort us. Whether you’re a regular reader already or making up for lost time, thank you for joining The Big Read.

For more information Mr. Gaines and his work, Click Here!

For information on discussion events about A Lesson Before Dying during
Words & Music
, Click Here! For a complete calendar of BIG READ events focusing on A Lesson Before Dying, visit http://www.neabigread.org.

A major thrust of the Society's project will be to put free copies of the book the hands of high school students of the Metropolitan area. The project kicks off on September 26th with an orientation for participating teachers and librarians. At this event, teachers will receive books for their classes, along with teaching guides, readers guides, and
BIG READ book marks.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
The Presbytere at jackson Square
6:15 to 8:30 p. m.

Faulkner Salutes Ernest Gaines
The general reading public kick off of A Lesson Before Dying BIG READ will be presented in the long second floor gallery of the Presbytere in cooperation with our BIG READ partners, The Louisiana State Museum, the State Library of Louisiana, The Jefferson Parish Public Library, and others. The event will feature a discussion program about the book, refreshments, and music. The event is free and open to the public with advance reservations to Faulkhouse@aol.com. More detailed information will be posted shortly.

Be among out number! Why should you participate in this project? Read on!

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literary reading in American popular culture. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 NEA report, identified a critical decline in reading for pleasure among American adults. The Big Read addresses this issue by bringing communities together to read, discuss, and celebrate books and writers from American and world literature.

The National Endowment for the Arts instituted THE BIG READ, to combat the shocking trends discovered in the NEA’s extensive national survey and its compilation of all other available data on 21st Century reading habits of teenage and adult Americans. NEA learned that:

* More 50% of Americans, including college graduates, do not read literature. At risk especially are men.
* Nearly one third of American teenagers are dropping out of school because of declining literacy and reading comprehension. At risk especially are young men.
* Lack of employment opportunities and lowwagesresult from poor reading skills.
* Deficient readers are less likely to be active in civic and cultural activities, less likely to vote or volunteer for community causes.
* Deficient readers are more likely to end up in prison or otherwise become burdens for society.

It's in your own best interests to help stimulate interest in reading good literature and to help our New Orleans area teenagers develop the reading skills they need to achieve the American Dream, a slice of the economic success pie and acceptance as worthy citizens.

How can you participate? You can open the eyes of at risk teenagers...you can introduce them to the joys of reading with a gift of great literature...
A Lesson Before Dying.

* Donate $5,000 and make 500 copies available to at-risk teenagers.

* Donate $2,500 and make 250 copies available to at-risk teenag

* Donate $1,250 and make 125 copies available to at-risk teenagers.

* Donate $750 and make 75 copies available to at-risk teenagers.

* Donate $500 and make 50 copies available to at-risk teenagers.

* Donate $250 and make 25 copies available to at-risk teenagers.

Donate now and Introduce a New Orleans area teenager to the joys of great
literary art.

Make all checks payable to and mail to:
The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society.
624 Pirate’s Alley
New Orleans, LA. 70116
(504) 586-1609
The Faulkner Society is a (501) (c) (3) non-profit literary organization.
All donations are fully tax deductible.

Gently used copies of A Lesson Before Dying also may be donated and
will be accepted for THE BIG READ by the Faulkner Society, 624 Pirates Alley, and by all Libraries of Jefferson Parish. Donors $250 or more will be Guests of Honor for events of:

A Lesson Before Dying BIG READ

Wednesday, September 26: Orientation Event
Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Avenue
5:00 to 7:30 p. m.
Dr. Nghana Lewis
of Tulane University will discuss strategies
for teaching A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines

Wednesday, October 24,.: Formal Kick-off For Reading Public
The Presbytere at Jackson Square
6 to 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, November 28: Master Class Featuring Earnest Gaines
Inteviewed by Grammy winner Irvin Mayfield, author of A Love Letter to New Orleans;
Introduced & Moderated by Hal Clark, playwright and host of WWYL-FM's Prizewinning Talk Show,
Sunday Journal

Dixon Hall, Tulane University
11:00 a. m. to 1:00 p. m.

Thursday, November 29, Special Interview with Ernest Gaines, Reading from A Lesson Before Dying Sneak Preview of New Music Based on work of Mr. Gaines.
Featuring Ernest Gaines, Irvin Mayfield and Clarke Peters, a star of HBO's series Treme, set in New Orleans.
Main Branch, New Orleans Public Library
Duncan Plaza
4:00 to 6: p. m.

Friday, November 30: Literature & Lunch
1:00 to 3:00 p. m., Riverview Room, Hotel Monteleone
Ermest Gaines
will be Interviewed on: Harsh Reality as Inspiration for Literary Creativity

Friday, November,Tribute to Ernest J. Gaines, A Literary Legend
World Premiere of an oiginal newJazz Suite, composed by Grammy winner Irvin Mayfield,
Inspired bythe literary masterpieces of Ernest Gaines
Ticket Event, Tickets $25 Each, Available Through the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

Saturday, December 1, Faulkner for All, Honoring Ernest Gaines, Hotel Monteleone
6:30 to 10:30 p. m.
The Gala Black-tie Annual Meeting of the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society
will feature, cocktails, a performance reading from  the work of Mr. Gaines
by the famous actress, Cicely Tyson, Annual Presentation of ALIHOT Awards for Literature and Community Service. Presentation of Gold Medals to Winners
of The William Faulkner - William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, Dinner & Dancing

Sunday, December 2, Spiritual Journeys, Hotel Monteleone Hotel
Noon to 1:00 p. m.
Great Literature as a Force for Social and Personal Soul Searching,
Spiritual Reckoning

Ernest Gaines will be iterviewed about the universal themes of man's inhumanity to man and the longing for love, brotherhood, and human dignity in this session, featuring Tulane University teachers Nghana Lewis and T.R. Johnson. Dr Lewis is is invited to introduce and lead the discussion. Questions and Answers will follow.
Mr. Gaines will be available to sign after the session.

For details about all of the exciting events not only for students
but for the general reading public which are part of this project:
Faulkhouse@aol.com * www.wordsandmusic.org * www.neabigread.org




Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society
624 Pirate’s Alley, New Orleans, LA 70116
phone: (504) 586-1609 or (504) 525-5615
fax: (504) 522-9725
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