Rick Bragg was born in Piedmont, Ala. 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, Ala. Although an average student, Bragg read extensively as a boy. He began his writing career working 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 Tuscaloosa and is a Professor of Journalism at the University of Alabama.
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.
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Photo courtesy of the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts, Auburn University.
Last updated on Apr 30, 2009.