In 1981, the Arts & Education Council produced the first Conference
on Southern Literature, bringing together Margaret Walker Alexander,
Cleanth Brooks, Andrew
Lytle, Walker Percy, and Eudora
Welty -- towering figures in Southern literature -- to read
and discuss their works. Immediately, the Conference was embraced
by the community and has grown at each successful biennial gathering.
FELLOWSHIP OF SOUTHERN WRITERS
In 1987, a remarkable group of writers assembled during the Arts
& Education Council's Chattanooga Conference on Southern Literature
to inaugurate the Fellowship of Southern Writers' forming. Its
mission is to encourage and stimulate good writing in the South.
The Fellowship houses its official archives in the Lupton Library
at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and holds its biennial
meetings in conjunction with the Conference.
CONFERENCE OUTREACH PROGRAMS:
An integral part of the AEC Conference on Southern Literature
since 1995 is the Writers
in Residency program that offers area students the opportunity
to meet and work with selected authors. The AEC provides books
for participants. Approximately 15 writers visit area high schools
during each Conference.
Southern Student Writers program allows area students in grades
K-12 to submit their own works in prose and poetry for review.
Since its inception in 1999, participation has increased from
500 to 2300, leading the AEC to hold the program annually instead
of only during the Conference.