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We value literacy because it...
promotes life-long learning.

Mission & History

SoLit, formerly known as Southern Lit Alliance, has become an essential literary arts hub for Chattanooga. Begun by a grant from the Ford Foundation in 1952, the organization has evolved over the years from various art programs to a focus on literature and writing. We deliver literary arts experiences that engage young people and adults in a life-long love of reading, writing, and community conversation. SoLit shares stories that matter, serving over 5,000 adults and children each year through literature festivals, author visits, writing workshops, writing contests for children, and outreach to area jails and underserved communities.


In the last decade, research has found a change in how our brains comprehend information after the advent of the internet, making concentration and critical thinking more difficult as we constantly scan information. Fortunately, the benefits of reading literature and writing are far-reaching and include improved critical thinking skills, empathy for others, vocabulary, writing ability, imagination, and cultural literacy.  Literature is vital to our community and has the incomparable power to inspire, connect, and uplift. As the internet and social media have garnered a large part of our time, it is more important than ever to reach the next generation with the power of the literary arts.

Our Mission

To deliver literary arts experiences that engage young people and adults in a life-long love of reading, writing and community conversation.

Our Vision

Engage everyone in our community as passionate readers and writers.

Southern Lit Alliance values diversity, equity, and inclusion in our hiring practices, board recruitment, and author selection for the programs in the organization.  To this end, we have ratified a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement to govern the organization.


To provide informed, authentic leadership for cultural equity, Southern Lit Alliance strives to:

  • See diversity, inclusion, and equity as connected to our mission and critical to ensure the well-being of our staff authors and the arts communities we serve.

  • Acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services, and continually update and report organization progress.

  • Explore potential underlying, unquestioned assumptions that interfere with inclusiveness.

  • Advocate for and support board-level thinking about how systemic inequities impact our organization’s work, and how best to address that in a way that is consistent with our mission.

  • Practice and encourage transparent communication in all interactions.

  • Commit time and resources to expand more diverse leadership within our board, staff, committee, and advisory bodies.

  • Lead with respect and tolerance. We expect all employees to embrace this notion and to express it in workplace interactions and through everyday practices.

  • Pursue cultural competency throughout our organization by creating substantive learning opportunities and formal, transparent policies.

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