Author Ernest J. Gaines died at the age of 86 on Tuesday, officials with the Pointe Coupee Parish Coroner’s Office confirmed.

Gaines has written several award-winning novels, including A Lesson Before Dying (1993) and Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971). His work has received critical acclaim and is routinely included in academic curricula.

STORY: Acclaimed author, Louisianian Ernest Gaines dies at 86

Take a look back at his life in photos.