Special congratulations to our member K.B. Ballentine for being a finalist in the 2021 Local Distinguished Author Awards!
Southern Lit Alliance is pleased to announce that the 2021 Local Distinguished Author Award winner is Earl Braggs. The award was presented to Bragg during the SouthWord Abridged Literature Festival on Nov. 6. For the third year, the award recognizes an outstanding local author from Hamilton and surrounding counties. The winning author is selected based on their demonstrated lifetime work, awards, other reviews, and the quality of their writing in their submitted sample. Nominees worked in the various genres of fiction, non-fiction, short story, or poetry. This year’s winner Earl Braggs is a poet and Professor of English at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. A North Carolina native from the small fishing community of Hampstead, NC., Braggs earned a B.A. in Social Science and Philosophy at the Univ. of N.C. at Wilmington and a Master of Fine Art in Writing at Vermont College of Norwich University. Braggs is the author of eleven collections of poetry and fiction, including Crossing Tecumseh Street, Hat Dancing with Miss Bessie Smith, and Negro Side of the Moon. His recent work, A Boy Named Boy, is a memoir about growing up black in a small town of N.C. and the racism, poverty, and challenges he faced. He also has published a collection of poems this year entitled Obama’s Children. Among his many awards is the induction into the East Tennessee Writer’s Hall of Fame in 2016, the Anhinga Poetry Prize, the C&R Press Winter Soup Bowl Chapbook Prize Winner Poetry Prize, the Jack Kerouac International Literary Prize, the Knoxville News Sentinel Poetry Award, and the Gloucester County Poetry Prize. In addition, Braggs' novel Looking for Jack Kerouac was a finalist for the James Jones First Novel Contest. For the award, authors apply or are, and they are judged by a panel of English professors and other authors in the region. This year’s judges on the panel were Kevin Wilson, author of noted work including Nothing to See Hear and professor of English at the University of the South and Deck Cheatham, author and leader of the North Georgia Writer Group in Dalton, GA. In addition to the winner Earl Braggs, two other finalists, poet K.B. Ballentine and fiction author Paul Luikart both of Chattanooga, were recognized by the panel. About Southern Lit Alliance Southern Lit Alliance is a longstanding literary arts organization in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Founded in 1952, the organization's mission is to deliver literary arts experiences that encourage people to read and write. The nonprofit engages audiences through innovative literary arts experiences and educational enrichment throughout the Chattanooga area. Among the many programs are literature festivals, writing contests for children, writing workshops for adults and teens, and literary groups in area jails. For more information about Southern Lit Alliance, please visit www.southernlitalliance.org or call 423-314-1645. Southern Lit Alliance is funded by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build. by Lynda LeVan November 5, 2021