Vicki Covington

The Official Site of Southern Author Vicki Covington

Photo by Melissa Springer

About Vicki

Birmingham native Vicki Covington is an award-winning novelist, short-story writer, and essayist. Her fiction is characterized by themes of family and community and is set in her native South. She has described herself as a life-long observer of people, a trait that has proven essential to her life as a writer; her nonfiction is often personal and candid.

Vicki was born in Birmingham, Jefferson County, on October 22, 1952, to a metallurgical engineer and a teacher. She had one sibling, the late Randy Marsh, a playwright and co-founder of the Birmingham Festival Theatre. At her mother's urging, Covington began keeping a journal at age eight. Covington observed the people around her and wrote down what they did and said. She states that she enjoyed solitude and liked watching life more than participating in it. Though she wrote every day, she would not think of herself as a writer for many decades.

She was educated in the Birmingham public school system and graduated from Woodlawn High School in 1971. Covington attended the University of Alabama, where she received a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1974 and a master's degree in social work in 1976. She worked as a social worker in Birmingham from March of 1976 until August of 1977, at which time she moved to Wooster, Ohio, where she continued her career as a social worker and her fiancé, writer Dennis Covington, taught English at The College of Wooster.

In Wooster Covington discovered that her journals were turning into short stories. As she began to send her work out, first in Ohio and then in Alabama, some early stories were published in some minor literary journals. Then, in 1986, The New Yorker published two stories, "Duty," in the August 18th issue, and "Magnolia," in the March 24th issue. Covington describes these events as turning points in her writing career since they brought her name to a wider audience and gained the attention of publishing companies.

At the request of an editor at publishing house Simon & Schuster, Covington developed an unpublished short story into her first novel Gathering Home, a coming-of-age story that was published in 1988. Covington left her job as a social worker that year, after receiving grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, to focus on her writing fulltime.

Covington's novels are set in Alabama, and her characters are decidedly southern. A January 1, 1996, review in Publisher's Weekly noted that Covington has the ability to depict southerners—both men and women—with discerning candor and also with sympathetic understanding.

from:, by Beth Thames, Huntsville Alabama.