Earl Braggs wins 2021 Local Distinguished Author Award


Earl S. Braggs was recently named winner of the Southern Lit Alliance 2021 Local Distinguished Author Award. The award was presented virtually on Nov. 6, during the SouthWord Abridged Literature Festival.

Braggs is a prize-winning poet and author and the first African American to hold a tenured professorship in the English department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. A North Carolina native from the small fishing community of Hampstead, he is the author of 14 collections of poetry and fiction, including “Crossing Tecumseh Street,” “Hat Dancing with Miss Bessie Smith” and “Negro Side of the Moon.” 

Braggs’ recent work, “A Boy Named Boy,” is a memoir about growing up Black in a small town of North Carolina, and the racism, poverty and challenges he faced. He also has published a collection of poems this year entitled “Obama’s Children.”

Braggs earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Science and Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Master of Fine Art in Writing at Vermont College of Norwich University.

For the third year, the Southern Lit Alliance award recognized an outstanding author from Hamilton and surrounding counties. Braggs was selected based on his demonstrated lifetime work, awards, other reviews and the quality of his writing in his submitted sample. 

In addition to Braggs, two other finalists–poet K.B. Ballentine and fiction author Paul Luikart, both of Chattanooga–were recognized by the panel.

Nominees worked in the various genres of fiction, non-fiction, short story, or poetry.

Founded in 1952, the Southern Lit Alliance’s mission is to deliver innovative literary arts experiences that encourage people to read and write. Each year, the nonprofit organization serves more than 6,000 adults and children throughout the Chattanooga area.

With a vision of “establishing Chattanooga as a national model for engaging everyone to be passionate readers and writers,” among Southern Lit Alliance’s 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.