Established in 1999 in partnership with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the Southern Lit Alliance’s Young Southern Student Writers literary outreach program challenges, rewards and nurtures Hamilton County public, private and home school students’ writing and reading skills.  The program also supports teachers and parents through encouraging their students/children with the fascination of reading and the importance of writing.


The Young Southern Student Writers' literary outreach program is open to all Hamilton County public, private and home school students in grades K through 12.  Working through language arts and creative writing teachers, students submit original works in either prose (fiction/nonfiction) or poetry.  The student entries are evaluated on creativity, content and style.  The Southern Lit Alliance honors the student winners and their writing accomplishments each April through a special Distinction of Merit award ceremony held at the Baylor Chapel.  During this standing room only ceremony, students receive a commemorative Young Southern Student Writers medal. 


The literary outreach program began with 450 students participating in 1999 to having over 4,000 entries in 2020. Over 400 students were selecte to win the Distinction of Merit award.  This special literary program continues to reach diverse public school students and to celebrate and nurture them through community education and innovative literary arts experiences.


See important dates below, and join us for the 22nd year of this Chattanooga favorite!



Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the medals will be given to the winners at their school in April.  We look forward to having an in-person awards ceremony in 2022. 

In partnership with:

Sponsored by:


© Jacob Cagle