Dennis Covington

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Dennis Covington
Born(1948-10-30)October 30, 1948
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
DiedApril 14, 2024(2024-04-14) (aged 75)
Lubbock, Texas, U.S.
Military career
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1970–72[1]

Dennis Covington (October 30, 1948 – April 14, 2024) was an American author whose work included 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.

Life and career[edit]

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]

Covington died in Lubbock, Texas, from complications from Lewy body dementia on April 14, 2024, at the age of 75.[7]


  • 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.

Excerpts in anthologies[edit]


  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. ^ Garrison, Greg (15 April 2024). "Dennis Covington, Birmingham-born author of 'Salvation on Sand Mountain,' dead at 75". AL. Retrieved 15 April 2024.

External links[edit]