FLORENCE — When Rick Bragg speaks to a crowd, it’s almost like he is telling their stories.
That connection he makes with the audience is one of the reasons Bragg has been selected to speak as part of the University of North Alabama Distinguished Events Series, organizers said.
“He touches something in the audience members,” said B.J. Wilson, a volunteer with the events series.
“He can have you really laughing and really crying in the same paragraph almost,” Wilson said.
Bragg is a best-selling and Pultizer-Prize winning author. He will speak at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday in UNA’s Norton Auditorium. Both events are free.
Organizers scheduled the morning session to allow high school students to attend on field trips, but it is also open to the public.
Born in the small town of Piedmont in northeast Alabama, Bragg has a special rapport with the folks of north Alabama, Wilson said.
“His writings speak to everybody, especially the people in this area,” she said.
The series is an annual schedule of events meant to bring to the community entertainment offerings that may not otherwise be accessible, Wilson said. Bragg has been a previous featured speaker for the series, bringing out one of the largest crowds in the series’ history, Wilson said.
Debbie Chaffin, coordinator of the Distinguished Events Series, said Bragg’s stories and writings appeal to many people.
“Rick is sheer genius when it comes to writing,” Chaffin said in a university release. “I’ve never read anything he’s written without being overcome by laughter or tears, sometimes both in the same story.”
There will be a question-and-answer session after Bragg’s talk. He will sign copies of his books after the event.
The university also will screen an 86-minute documentary, produced by Al Hammond, about Bragg’s upbringing and life.
Hammond will be on hand to sell DVDs.
Jennifer Edwards can be reached at 256-740-5754 or jennifer.edwards@TimesDaily.com.
What: UNA Distinguished Events Series featuring Rick Bragg
When: 10 a.m. And 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Norton Auditorium, UNA
Details: UNA will also show the 86-minute documentary on Rick Bragg’s life, “Out of the Dirt,” at 10 a.m. And 7 p.m. Tuesday in Norton Auditorium.