Rick Bragg speaks on campus

As a part of UNA’s Distinguished Events Series, Rick Bragg speaks in Norton Auditorium Oct. 11.

Renowned author Rick Bragg spoke at UNA’s Norton Auditorium Oct. 11 as a part of UNA’s Distinguished Events Series. His lecture “Stories from Home” was given at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to people of all ages.

After a brief introduction by President Bill Cale and video depicting the beginnings of writing the book “All Over But the Shoutin’,” Bragg took the stage.

“I don’t know if I’ve gotten anywhere in life, but I still can’t do long division,” Bragg said, addressing the group of high school students who attended the morning session.

Bragg displayed an infectious sense of humor. However, he also spoke seriously of his writing and the stories behind it.

“We all know mamas and daddies and grandmas and grandpas who have sacrificed for their people,” Bragg said. “That’s why the books have resonated.”

Bragg explained that his books, especially “All Over But the Shoutin’,” are true stories with real people. “Shoutin’,” as he affectionately calls it, is the story of his mother and all of her struggles and triumphs.

“I’d rather talk with you than talk at you,” Bragg said, introducing the question and answer portion of the program.

He addressed questions about having a love for reading and writing.

“If you read, you’re never stupid, and you’re never alone,” Bragg said.

He also gave assessments of his own work.

“The most important book I’ve written is ‘All Over But the Shoutin’,’” Bragg said. “The best written is ‘The Prince of Frogtown.’ The most fun is ‘Ava’s Man.’”

Bragg spoke of many things, ranging from his books to Southern accents, a trait of which Bragg has never been ashamed.

“Southerners sound capable,” Bragg said. “I’m going to talk like this until I die.  And I’m kind of proud of that.”

Several UNA students who attended the event had nothing but good things to say of the author.

“He was really down to earth,” said Chelsea Yarber, UNA student. “He made me appreciative of the South.”

UNA student Jennifer Richardson said she was surprised by Bragg’s personality.

“He was really funny and really Southern,” Richardson said. “I assumed he’d be really stuck up since he’s this big author. Writing books hasn’t changed him.”

Bragg has written five books over the last 15 years in addition to the countless articles written during his career as a journalist, as mentioned in Cale’s introduction. He currently works as a professor of writing at the University of Alabama.