John Sledge Named 2021 Cason Award Recipient

Nov 15, 2021

Dean Mark Nelson and John S. Sledge

Acclaimed author and journalist John S. Sledge has been named the recipient of the 2021 Clarence E. Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing.

The award was established in 1998 in memory of Clarence E. Cason, the first chair of The University of Alabama’s Department of Journalism, now the Department of Journalism and Creative Media. Each year, the University bestows this honor upon a recipient with a strong connection to Alabama and whose writings, like those of the award’s namesake, have made a critical contribution to the journalism and literature of the South.

“It is a privilege to be able to honor John with this award,” said Dr. Mark Nelson, dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences. “He has made exceptional contributions to the field of journalism and is a true embodiment of all that this award represents.”

Born in Florida, Sledge earned a B.A. in history and Spanish from Auburn in 1980 and an M.A. in history with a specialization in historic preservation at Middle Tennessee State University in 1982. Sledge began working as an architectural historian for the Mobile Historic Development Commission in 1985 and still works there today.

Sledge also took on the role of Book Page editor at the Mobile Register from 1996 to 2012, writing a column each week, many of which were collected as Southern Bound, and editing thousands of reviews, mainly Alabama-related books, by local reviewers, an enormous gift to the Alabama literary community.

Over time, his growing expertise led him to write books about Mobile’s historic cemeteries, ornamental ironwork, Greek Revival architecture and then, expanding his range, The Mobile River, These Rugged Days: Alabama in the Civil War and The Gulf of Mexico: A Maritime History.

Sledge currently resides in Fairhope, Alabama, with his wife Lynn.

To learn more about C&IS awards, visit