GPB Southern Lit Cadre mainstay Frank Reiss checks in with his thoughts about his interview with Rick Bragg, which airs Sunday at 8pm on Cover To Cover:
Rick Bragg won a Pulitzer Prize and earned the Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University for his reporting and writing for the New York Times. More recently, he has become one of the South's bestselling authors, beginning with 1998's All Over But the Shoutin' , his memoir of his impoverished upbringing in northern Alabama. That debut focused primarily on his long-suffering mother, abandoned by Bragg's alcoholic father when Rick and his brothers were young boys.
Bragg visited "Cover to Cover" to discuss his latest book, The Prince of Frogtown, in which he shares what he has learned over the years since All Over But the Shoutin' about the person his father had been before heavy drinking turned him into the man Bragg barely knew and mostly disregarded. One of the reasons the author had for pursuing a greater understanding of his father is that Bragg himself has recently become "the closest thing to a parent I'll ever be," sharing child-rearing duties with his new wife in Tuscaloosa, where Bragg now teaches writing at The University of Alabama.
Rick Bragg is a bear of a man and writes evocatively of his reckless youth, the dangers he has encountered in his work and the boulder-sized chip on his shoulder. But as you will hear in the interview, he is a gentle soul, full of humor and compassion, and motivated by finding the beauty and music in the language he uses to tell his stories.