History & Mission



The Southern Lit Alliance (formerly the Arts & Education Council) celebrates Southern writers and readers through community education and innovative literary arts experiences.  


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A non-profit organization that began in 1952 as the Adult Education Council, the Southern Lit Alliance was one of 12 pilot agencies founded by a Ford Foundation grant.  The Southern Lit Alliance is the only organization of the 12 still in existence.

The cornerstone of our mission lies in a variety of Education Enrichment programs for students and teachers in the Chattanooga community. The biennial Celebration of Southern Literature has been a keynote event for writers and lovers of literature since 1981. It is our largest event, bringing together over 1,000 guests every other April to hear acclaimed authors speak about their work and the creative process of writing. The schedule of the Celebration of Southern Literature also includes book signings, receptions, and workshops for closer interaction with the participating writers. See below for a full list of events and programs

Celebration of Southern Literature

So Lit Book Club

Outreach Programs


The Southern Lit Alliance receives support from ArtsBuild, the Tennessee Arts Commission, local and regional foundations, corporations, community and individual contributors.