writers@work event in library mobile classroom full of students

Writers@Work “Behind the Writer” interview

Chattanooga State recently welcomed Pulitzer Prize winner and author of the memoir All Over But the Shoutin, Rick Bragg and Lila Q. Weaver, author of the graphic novel Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White for the award-winning Writers@Work annual series held April 13-17.

Writers@Work is an initiative concentrated on engaging students in composition classes with visiting writers to learn more about the authors themselves and the writing process. Tuesday night’s “Behind the Writer” event held on campus marked the first conversation with writers Bragg and Weaver in an interview focused on Southern culture, overcoming adversity and the fundamental steps in writing creatively.

Perched on a leather chair, Weaver went into great detail on the impact that racism in Southern Alabama had on her development and the measures she had to take to gather factual information for her book, set when the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. She chose to express empathy with the time period, mentioning that “the nature of humanity is to look down on someone else” and spoke softly of her opinion on the impact being Southern has had on her writing.

Bragg on the other hand was passionate about explaining his past to the audience and the many questions the moderator presented. Specifically, his take on Southern literature compared with the work from the rest of the world:

“Southern writing is like Southern food…it’s just better.” -Rick Bragg

Community event at Hunter Museum. photo  via Chatt State's Writers@Work Facebook page.
Community event at Hunter Museum. photo via Writers@Work Facebook page.

Bragg and Weaver visited composition classes on campus throughout the week, with free community events held off-campus at the Hunter Museum and The Public Library.

More information on Rick Bragg’s life story, including his other works, can be found here. Lila Q. Weaver’s official website, encompassing more about Darkroom as well as her additional work in a gallery or video format can be found here.

Photo credit above: “The early birds get the chairs with Rick Bragg! ” via Chatt State’s Writers@Work Facebook page.  

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