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Sept. 22 University Forum to Feature Acclaimed Author Rick Bragg

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Rick Bragg

A Pulitzer Prize-winning writer whose work has been praised for its ability to capture the essence of Southern culture will be the first speaker for The University of Southern Mississippi’s fall 2015 University Forum.

Rick Bragg, a former correspondent for the New York Times, will lead off the fall 2015 University Forum series when he presents “Writing the South” Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus. Admission is free, and a book signing will follow.

Bragg is the author of a collection of essays titled My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South and recently wrote a best-selling biography of music legend Jerry Lee Lewis. His work includes coverage of the late Oseola McCarty, a retired washerwoman who earned international fame when she left her life savings to USM in 1995.

“The thing that makes Rick Bragg such a great 'opening act' for this year’s Forum is his ability to see what others have missed,” said Dr. Andrew Haley, associate professor of American cultural history and director for the 2015-2016 University Forum. “A lot of people have spilled a lot of ink writing about the South, but few have managed to lay bare its mysteries as incisively as Bragg.”

In 2015, Bragg was named one of 12 initial inductees, along with Zora Neale Hurston and Harper Lee, into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.

Dr. David Davies, a native of Malvern, Ark. who serves as interim director of the Southern Miss School of Mass Communication and Journalism, said Bragg offers tales that resonate with his fellow Southerners.

“Rick holds a special place among journalists and writers of his generation,” Davies said. “He not only excelled at journalism, but he’s carved out a niche describing his time and place in the American South.”

Since 1974, University Forum has been the premier lecture series at Southern Miss. Sponsored by the University’s prestigious Honors College with support from the Office of the President, it has brought some of the most respected and innovative cultural, scientific, and artistic voices in the world to USM. Under the auspices of Forum, such speakers as Stephen J. Gould, Gloria Steinem, Russell Means, Susan Sontag, Kurt Vonnegut, E.O. Wilson, Art Spiegelman, and Carl Bernstein have visited Southern Miss.

View the fall 2015 University Forum schedule at; or for more information, call the Honors College at 601.266.4533.