2021 Local Distinguished Author Award

presented to Earl Braggs

For the third year,  Southern Lit Alliance has recognized an outstanding local author from Hamilton and surrounding counties with the Local Distinguished Author Award. The 2021 award winner is Earl Braggs and finalists, poet K.B. Ballentine and fiction author Paul Luikart both of Chattanooga, were recognized by the panel as well.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.

About Earl Braggs
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Executive Director Lynda LeVan presents the 2021 award to Earl Braggs

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. 


2021 Judges 


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. Cheatham is a guest columnist in the Rome News Tribune, the Dalton Daily Citizen News, and regular contributor to Good News Magazine.   

The prize trophy is designed and sculpted by local artist Isaac Duncan