LAFAYETTE — Award-winning author Ernest Gaines will give his first public reading from his new work in progress at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the research center that bears his name at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, according to a university news release.

The Ernest J. Gaines Center opened last year in the third floor of the university’s Dupre Library and is a clearinghouse for Gaines’ work and research related to his writing.

The reading is free and open to the public.

Gaines will share from an untitled early draft of a story of a young writer who returns to Louisiana to find his writer’s voice again. The story is not unlike that of Gaines, who after a move to California returned to Louisiana in 1963 to finish his first novel, “Catherine Carmier.”

Gaines’ ties to the university stretch to 1981, when he accepted an offer as a visiting professor and then became writer-in-residence. After his retirement in 2004, he was named the university’s writer-in-residence emeritus.

The reading is another teaching moment for Gaines. The event was organized as an open session of a Louisiana literature course taught by Reggie Scott Young, associate professor of English at ULL.

“Whenever students have a chance to see and hear from an author such as Ernest Gaines, it greatly adds to their appreciation of his works,” Young said in the news release. “Some of these students will one day be teachers themselves, and they will be able to tell their students about their experience of hearing Ernest J. Gaines in person.”

A discussion will follow the reading, and Gaines will be available to sign copies of his books.

A pictorial history of Gaines’ life, “This Louisiana Thing that Drives Me: The Legacy of Ernest J. Gaines,” will be available for purchase.

The book was compiled and edited by Young, Gaines Center director Marcia Gaudet and Wiley Cash.