Braggto be honored

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 4, 2003

special to the Messenger

For the second straight year, the Hall-Waters Southern Prize at Troy State University will go to a writer with Alabama roots.

TSU will honor Rick Bragg, New York Times journalist and winner of the 1996 Pulitzer for feature writing, in a ceremony today at 1:30 p.m. at Sartain Hall on the TSU campus. The general public as well as faculty, staff and students of TSU are invited to attend the prize award ceremony.

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The Hall-Waters Southern Prize is endowed by TSU alumnus Dr. Wade Hall, an author and Professor Emeritus of English at Bellarmine College in Louisville, Ky. Dr. Hall endowed the prize as a memorial to his parents, Wade Hall, Sr. and Sarah Elizabeth Waters Hall. The award is presented annually to a person who has made significant contributions to Southern heritage and culture in history, literature or the arts.

The first Hall-Waters southern Prize was presented in 2002 to author Shirley Ann Grau, a former resident of Montgomery, whose 1964 novel "The Keepers of the House" was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Bragg, a native of Piedmont and current resident of New Orleans, worked for the Anniston Star, Birmingham News, St. Petersburg Times and Los Angeles Times before joining the staff of the New York Times. He attended Jacksonville State University from 1978-80 and was chosen as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He is author of three works of non-fiction, including the best-selling memoir "All Over But the Shoutin'" and his latest book, "Ava's Man."

"We are pleased to award this year's Hall-Waters Southern Prize to an Alabama native whose reportage and excellent writing have contributed significantly to the field of journalism," Dr. Harold Kaylor, Chair of the Department of English, said. "Rick Bragg's marvelous storytelling, albeit about real life, is in the tradition of the finest Southern authors."

Later Friday afternoon, Bragg will be the guest of honor at the TSU Department of English's annual Writing Festival. He will make a presentation to high school and middle school students participating in the festival at 3 p.m. in Sartain Hall.

"The annual festival is designed to encourage students to develop writing skills," Dr. Kaylor said. Cash prizes will be awarded to students in three age groups for poetry, critical essays and creative writings.

Rick Bragg became a domestic correspondent in The New York Times' Atlanta office in October 1994. He joined The Times in January 1994 as a metropolitan reporter. He is the recipient of the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award and more than 50 other national, regional and state writing awards. He has had stories included in: Best Newspaper Writing 1991, Best of the Press 1988, and two journalism textbooks on good writing and foreign reporting.

He has taught writing at Harvard University, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Boston University of South Florida and other colleges.

Dr. Wade Hall, a graduate of Troy State University, is a native of Union Springs. He has lived in Louisville, Ky., since 1962, and is Professor Emeritus of English at Bellarmine College. He is the author of books, monographs, articles, plays and reviews relating to Southern history and literature.

Dr. Hall has funded an endowment at TSU to support the Hall-Waters Southern Prize.