Dennis Covington

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Dennis Covington
BornOctober 30, 1948
Birmingham, Alabama
Military career
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1970–72[1]

Dennis Covington (born October 30, 1948) is an American author whose work includes two novels and four nonfiction books.[2] His subject matter includes spirituality, the environment, and the South.[2] Covington's book Salvation on Sand Mountain was a 1995 National Book Award finalist and his articles have been published in The New York Times, Vogue[2] and Redbook.

Covington was born in Birmingham, Alabama,[3] studied fiction writing and earned a BA degree from the University of Virginia, then served in the U.S. Army. He earned an MFA in the early 1970s from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, studying under Raymond Carver. He taught English at the College of Wooster. He married his second wife, writer Vicki Covington, in 1977. The couple returned to Birmingham the following year, and he began teaching at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The couple divorced in 2005. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.

In 1983, Dennis Covington went to El Salvador as a freelance journalist. In 2003, he became Professor of Creative Writing at Texas Tech University.[3][4] In 2005, he was a judge for the National Book Awards.[5] Covington spoke at a talk hosted by the University of Central Florida's literary magazine The Cypress Dome in 2009.[2]

In November 2017, Covington started his column called “Deep in the Heart,” published online by The American Scholar. He wrote a total of 20 mini-essays on life in Texas, family, lost love, health issues, and his childhood in Alabama. Covington’s essays were well-received.[6]


  • Lizard, New York: Delacorte Press, 1991. For younger readers.
  • Lasso the Moon, New York: Delacorte Press, 1995. For younger readers.
  • Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Salvation in Southern Appalachia, Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1995, ISBN 978-0-14-025458-7
  • Cleaving: The Story of a Marriage (with Vicki Covington), New York: North Point Press, 1999.
  • Redneck Riviera: Armadillos, Outlaws, and the Demise of an American Dream, New York: Counterpoint, 2004.
  • Revelation: A Search for Faith in a Violent Religious World, New York: Little Brown & Company, 2016.


"Religion Kills," Hitchens titles a chapter with typical bravado, as though science doesn't. The history of scientific inquiry is filled with examples of incompetence, chicanery and outright torture and homicide undertaken in the name of "reason" and "progress." Yet Hitchens continues to imply that evil is the prefecture of religion rather than a resident of both secular and spiritual worlds.[7]

Excerpts in anthologies[edit]


Salvation On Sand Mountain details “war stories” of people who lived to tell of their poisonous snake bites, and of those who did not survive. Covington describes what led him to abandon snake handling during a wedding in Kingston, Georgia, where the writer discovered there’s a fine line in the world of snake-handling between faith and suicide.[8]


  1. ^ White, Cynthia. "Dennis Covington". Encyclopedia of Alabama. University of Montevallo. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Pham, Viloc, "Author entertains, inspires students; Cypress Dome hosts speaker October 10, 2009 Central Florida Future (University of Central Florida)
  3. ^ a b "Dennis Covington". This Goodly Land: Alabama's Literary Landscape. Alabama Center for the Book and Auburn University. May 30, 2008. Archived from the original on September 17, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  4. ^ "Texas Tech, Department of English". Archived from the original on May 12, 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2009.
  5. ^ 2005 National Book Award Judges
  6. ^ "Deep in the Heart". The American Scholar. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  7. ^ Dennis Covington, "Christopher Hitchens: God is Not Great", Paste Magazine, May 9, 2007.
  8. ^ Salvation On Sand Mountain, James Calemine,

External links[edit]