Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Rick Bragg is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author.
He recently completed a national book tour for his new biography, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story. On their website, HarperCollins Publishers describes the book as “the Killer’s life as he lived it, and as he shared it over two years with our greatest bard of Southern life: Rick Bragg.”
Bragg is well known for authoring a critically acclaimed trilogy of bestselling books about his own people of the American South, which begins with the autobiographical “All Over but the Shoutin’.” He credits his writing talent to listening to family stories, and fans might say that he can credit much of his popularity to the eloquence with which he has shared those stories with the world.
Those familiar with Bragg’s own journey—conquering the hardships of coming up poor in the South, surviving the abuses of an alcoholic father and being raised by a mother with the will and strength to persevere in that reality—can understand why he was asked to write the biography of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s piano-pounding pioneer.
Of Jerry Lee Lewis and their time together on the book, Bragg writes, “He was not, in hot spells of his life, a man to be admired, but I liked him when it was all over, and have seldom enjoyed sitting beside a man so much, hearing his life told out loud. ...Life is dirty and hard, and he reminded me that even in the middle of that junkyard there is great beauty, if you only listen.”
As a New York Times correspondent, Bragg was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 1996. Today, he is a professor of writing at the University of Alabama, a contributing editor for Garden & Gun Magazine, and author of Southern Living Magazine’s monthly Southern Journal essay.
In addition to the new Jerry Lee Lewis biography, Bragg’s books of note include All Over but the Shoutin’ (1997); Somebody Told Me: The Newspaper Stories of Rick Bragg (2000); Ava’s Man (2001); I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story (2003); The Prince of Frog Town (2008); and The Most They Ever Had (2009).