Rick Bragg – A Writer’s Writer


I’d never heard of Rick Bragg. That is until one of my book clubs recommended we read, All Over But The Shoutin’ for our January 2015 meeting. You think you read a lot, but, no, never enough, and to miss Bragg would be a great loss. A good old boy born on the Alabama/Georgia line, his writing ultimately took him beyond the ‘came from nothin, going nowhere,’ South.  All Over is a memoir of extraordinary proportions chronicling not only Bragg, and ‘his people,’ but observations of a south that include coon dogs and outhouses, fat back, and Bear Bryant.

Bragg’s career began as a sports writer, won a Pulitzer Price for his work at The New York Times. Shouting’ includes stories about writing as a foreign correspondent, about Haiti, the Oklahoma bombing, and always about the poor, over-looked, people that he tries to elevate, bringing dignity to their stories. He has changed lives through his writing.  Shoutin  is an amazing story.

Bragg now teaches writing in the U. of Alabama Journalism School and is widely published. Google him, take your pick of things to read about him, and spend time with a REAL storyteller. Bragg is another authentic southern voice the likes of  Pat Conroy, and Doug Marlette’s (earlier posts). His writing is lyrical, with the same fierce, deep love of a region where his people did the cleaning and ironing for the gentile folks that live on the hill. I am tempted to cut and paste the entire book as an example of his writing, but how about the opening lines to the Prologue.

“I used to stand amazed and watch the redbirds fight. They would flash and flutter like scraps of burnings rags through a sky unbelievably blue, swirling, soaring, plummeting. On the ground they were a blur of feathers, stabbing for each other’s eyes. I have seen grown men stop what they were doing, stop pulling corn or lift their head out from under the hood of a broken-down car, to watch it.”


About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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8 Responses to Rick Bragg – A Writer’s Writer

  1. noelleg44 says:

    Thanks for the recommendation, Stepheny! And Happy New Year!

  2. johnvic8 says:

    Thanks, Stepheny. I just downloaded the book. Looking forward to a great New Year with you and your garden and your writing desk.

    • You will be rewarded for your time with Rick Bragg. He definitely fits into my blog category…A Writer’s Writer. Happy New Year to you and yours. Congratulations on your 1st book, a wonderful new blog. A lot accomplished in 2014. Have at it in this coming year.

  3. I read this book and loved it. He also wrote a second memoir about his career as a journalist. He does have a powerful and distinctive voice that comes from a unique life journey.

    • I’ll be interested to read the 2nd book then. Back when investigative reporting was the hallmark of journalism. I can only hope he is training his students well, we need them today! Happy New Year to you and yours and with appreciation for gardeninacity.

  4. Margy King says:

    Hello Ruth, Here is a recent post from my gardening friend and author, Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin. I spoke of you to her in December, so I imagine she would be happy to put you on her list to receive posts. I am copying her on this email. Best, Margy

    Hello Stepheny, My friend Ruth Moose is a retired professor who taught creative writing, etc. at UNC-CH in the English dept. Her first detective novel (“Doing it at the Dixie Dew”) has won acclaim and awards. I thought you might enjoy getting to know one another. Perhaps when you are next in Chapel Hill, the three of us could meet for lunch at the Cafe here at Carolina Meadows. Best, Margy

    919-942-1372 margyking1@gmail.com


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