Alabaster native wins national writing competition

Published 11:39 am Thursday, April 13, 2023

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

NEW YORK – A Thompson High School graduate and student at the University of Montevallo recently won a national writing competition and got to take a trip to New York City to the Poets and Writers Charity Gala.

Brianna Bramlett is a 21-year-old Alabaster native and an English and communication studies major at UM.

A national writing competition was held at Books-A-Million, and Bramlett first learned about it through her boss at the business in Alabaster.

“You were given a prompt where it was (about) the impact of words, reading and literature on your life and how that’s shaped you into the person you are,” Bramlett said. “I ended up writing a narrative essay about three pages long and submitted it not thinking anything of it.”

Bramlett shared that when she got the email announcing the winners she scrolled past the winners.

“I really didn’t think anything was going to come of it, it was just really fun to write and that’s where I thought it would end.”  Bramlett said. “I scrolled to the honorable mentions and I didn’t see my name there and I was like, ‘Oh, it’s okay I just didn’t get it.’ And I scrolled back up to the top and I was among the four cowinners.”

The writing competition was open to every employee of Books A Million with 10 honorable mentions and only four winners. The winners were awarded with a fully-paid trip to New York City for the Poets and Writer Charity Gala.

“They put us up in a hotel in Times Square, and that was wonderful,” Bramlett said. “It was fantastic. The travel, the car, everything like that was paid for. Luckily, it was during our spring break.”

Bramlett expressed that this trip connected perfectly with the field she intends to work in.

“I want to go into the book publishing field, and so a lot of the people that I really wanted to meet were going to be at this event,” she said.

The gala was held at Pier Sixty on Monday, March 27.

“Everybody that I would of ever wanted to meet, rub elbows with, was in that room,” Bramlett said.

Bramlett had the opportunity to see Jennifer Hershey with Penguin Random House books who was announced as editor of the year at the event.

“And then I was at a table with our CEO, who is just so sweet, his name is Terry Finley,” Bramlett said. “And LeVar Burton, who was hosting the event, he was also very kind. And, of course, just having seen him before from Reading Rainbow (and) watching that as a kid and Star Trek. We were at a wonderful table and it was really just a stellar night.”

Bramlett spoke about the opportunities that the event afforded her.

“I was able to get the contact information of some incredible people in the field,” Bramlett said. “I would say networking is a big one, but honestly just being surrounded by like-minds that know how important literature is. To be surrounded by hundreds of people that held it so passionately as you did is just wonderful. If you want to write, there were so many creative minds in the room and if you want to edit, if you want to publish books you’re in wonderful company in an environment like that.”

Bramlett found herself at a loss for words when describing how much the power of writing means to her.

“These words have made all of these people’s careers, all of these people’s passions and you’re in such like company,” Bramlett. “I consider myself to be somebody that’s made up of everything that I’ve ever read, everything I’ve ever written and being able to see that in a physical sense, being surrounded by other people that were made up of words, it was… I don’t know.”