Statesboro's Fourth Annual Write Place Festival features critically acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Bragg.
The festival is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Georgia Southern University's Performing Arts Center.
Bragg, the headliner, will share excerpts from his latest book, a biography of rockabilly legend Jerry Lee Lewis titled "Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story." Other featured writers include Write Place hall-of-famers Janisse Ray, Kathy Bradley and Maya Van Wagenen.
Tickets for The Write Place Festival are $5 for students and $10 for the general public, and are available at the PAC (www.georgiasouthern.edu/pac).
Bragg was born and raised in Alabama, and his novels are a true testament to the rich culture and heritage of the South. His critically acclaimed novels include New York Times Best Seller and Notable Book of the Year "All Over but the Shoutin'," as well as "Ava's Man" and "Somebody Told Me." Bragg received a Pulitzer Prize for journalism as a national correspondent for The New York Times, covering such topics as the Oklahoma City bombing, the Jonesboro killings and the Susan Smith trial. He is currently a feature writer for Southern Living and Garden & Gun magazines.
Bragg's literary accolades are only a part of what makes him so fascinating. It is the depth of his work, the stories he tells, and the honest portrayal of every character that establish him as a premier Southern author. Having a writer of his caliber contribute to The Write Place is an extraordinary achievement for the city and the festival.
Ray and Bradley are both award-winning authors from Reidsville, and Bradley writes a column for the Statesboro Herald. Van Wagenen is a Statesboro High School student whose book "Popular: Vintage Wisdom for the Modern Geek," made her a New York Times best-selling author at age 15 earlier this year.
"I am so proud that Georgia Southern is once again part of the Write Place Festival," University President Dr. Brooks Keel said. "As an institution of higher learning and exceptional arts programs, we pride ourselves on being a center for culture and creativity. This festival has become a way to showcase the talented writers we have right here on the Georgia Southern University campus and in the city of Statesboro. This year, we celebrate all of the decorated authors who find inspiration each and every day by living and publishing in cities across the South."
The festival showcases Statesboro and Georgia Southern University, home to the only writing and linguistics degree in Georgia, as an area rich in Southern mystique, and the birthplace of future Southern authors. It began as the vision of Statesboro Magazine, the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Averitt Center for the Arts, and GSU's Department of Writing and Linguistics to promote Statesboro as the "Write Place" for writers and authors to gather for writing workshops and reading events. (Statesboro Magazine is owned by Morris Multimedia Inc., which also owns the Statesboro Herald.)
"We are so excited for the fourth year of the Write Place Festival and for guest Rick Bragg! It is the Performing Arts Center's first time hosting the festival, and having a Pulitzer Prize-winning author as our headliner is such an honor," said Carol Thompson, the director of the PAC. "We believe that Rick Bragg's attendance this year will help grow this program in the future and will draw together Georgia Southern University and the city of Statesboro."
"It's amazing to me how far this program has come," added Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau President Darin Van Tassell. "The vision has now grown into an event that includes a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. I can only imagine the impact this will have on the city of Statesboro and the festival for years to come."
Immediately following the festival's public reading event, autographed copies of "Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story" will be available for sale in cooperation with publisher Harper Collins and Books-A-Million. Janisse Ray, Kathy Bradley and Maya Van Wagenen will also have autographed books available for purchase.