By Alina Hunter-Grah, Chattanooga, Tenn.– UTC students are offered a 50 percent discount to the Celebration of Southern Literature conference that brings over 40 acclaimed writers to Chattanooga.


The conference will be at the Tivoli Theater April 16-18. Single day tickets for the conference are $25, three day passes for non-students are $50, and three day passes for students will be $25.


The UTC English Department will also be judging the Young Southern Student Writers competition as part of the Celebration of Southern Literature conference. Students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade enter original works of poetry or prose and are judged based on overall quality.


“It’s really a joy to coordinate this important contest as it promotes the literary arts in and around Chattanooga,” said Joe Wilferth, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a coordinator of the Young Southern Student Writers competition. “Plus, it’s great to see the winners receive their medals at the award ceremony.  It is recognition both for their creativity and for their teachers’ encouragement.”


The conference will feature talks from authors about their work, book signings, and workshops where authors will work with students in some of the surrounding schools.


The biennial conference is a chance for writers from all over the South to come together and has served as a major event for these writers and literature enthusiasts for 34 years. It will feature writers from many different genres like Lee Smith, Roy Blount Jr., Clyde Edgerton, Rita Dove, and Tayari Jones. The full list of writers is featured on the Celebration of Southern Writers webpage.


“Students can have direct contact with some of the most prolific and successful regional writers, “ said Wilferth. “The students have an opportunity to hear writers talk about the craft of writing either fiction or nonfiction. They have an opportunity to sort of rub elbows with those writers at the same time. And some of the writers even conduct workshops.”


Professors in our English Department are just as excited.


“I don’t think many people in Chattanooga, including UTC students, realize the amazing opportunities the Celebration of Southern Literature offers,” said Dr. Carrie Meadows. “Southern literature has a rich past and present, so some of the best writers alive today will be in Chattanooga, and they will be very accessible to the public. It’s a great opportunity for anyone interested in reading or writing, regardless of major.”



Tickets can be purchased and more information can be found at