Rick Bragg Biography

Dates

July 26, 1959 – present

Other Names Used

  • Ricky Edward Bragg: full name

Alabama Connection

  • Piedmont, Calhoun County: birthplace
  • Possum Trot, Calhoun County: childhood residence
  • Jacksonville, Calhoun County: brief adult residence
  • Anniston, Calhoun County: brief adult residence
  • Birmingham, Jefferson County: brief adult residence

Selected Works

  • Bragg, Rick. All Over But the Shoutin’. New York: Pantheon, 1997.
  • Bragg, Rick. Somebody Told Me: The Newspaper Stories of Rick Bragg. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2000.
  • Bragg, Rick. Ava’s Man. New York: Knopf, 2001.
  • Bragg, Rick. I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.

Literary Awards

  • Distinguished Writing Award, Non-deadline Writing, American Society of Newspaper Editors, 1991
  • Pulitzer Prize, Feature Writing, 1996, for New York Times articles written about contemporary America
  • Alabama Author Award, Alabama Library Association, 1998, for All Over But the Shoutin’
  • Alex Award, American Library Association and Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust, 1998, for All Over But the Shoutin’

Biographical Information

Rick Bragg was born in Piedmont. His parents’ marriage was troubled, and the family moved frequently. Eventually, Bragg and his mother and brothers moved into his grandmother’s house near Possum Trot. Although an average student, Bragg read extensively as a boy. He began his writing career writing for his high school newspaper, then wrote for his college newspaper while enrolled in a journalism class at Jacksonville State University. He left JSU to write about sports for The Jacksonville News. After leaving that position, he worked for The Anniston Star and The Birmingham News. From there, Bragg took a job with the St. Petersburg [Fla.] Times, where he covered stories of national interest, including the devastation caused by Hurricane Andrew and the turmoil associated with the rise of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti.

In 1992, Bragg was awarded a Neiman Fellowship to study journalism at Harvard University for a year. In 1994, he began working as a reporter for the New York Times, initially based in New York but soon working as a national correspondent in the Southern Bureau from Atlanta. Bragg won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his human interest stories published in the The New York Times. His first book, the autobiographical All Over But the Shoutin’, was published in 1997. Bragg continued to report for the The New York Times and to write books on the side until 2003, when he resigned from the newspaper to write books exclusively. He resides in Memphis and is a Professor of Journalism at the University of Alabama.

Interests and Themes

In his books, Rick Bragg gives a voice to Southern poor whites. In his newspaper articles, he gives a voice to the struggling underclasses of all races and locales. In all his writing, he tells his stories in language that is powerful and honest but respectful of his subjects.

For More Information

Please check your local library for these materials. If items are not available locally, your librarian can help you borrow them through the InterLibrary Loan program. Your librarian can also help you find other information about this author.

There may be more information available through the databases in the Alabama Virtual Library. If you are an Alabama citizen, AVL can be used at your public library or school library media center. You can also get a username and password from your librarian to use AVL at home.

Reference Articles

  • Weldon, Amy E. “‘When Fantasy Meant Survival’: Writing, Class, and the Oral Tradition in the Autobiographies of Rick Bragg and Harry Crews.” Mississippi Quarterly 53.1 (1999): 89-110.
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