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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

Children’s authors to speak

Katherine Paterson
Katherine Paterson
Additional photos below »

September 24, 2018

King University welcomes Newbery Honor winners Katherine Paterson and Kimberly Brubaker Bradley to its 2018-2019 King Institute for Faith and Culture Lecture Series Monday, Oct. 22.

“Writing Remembrance and Hope: Katherine Paterson and Kimberly Brubaker Bradley in Conversation” is held at 7 p.m. at Central Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Virginia. The event is open to the public and features a dialogue between Paterson and Bradley. “Sounds from the Heart,” a student-centered event at which Paterson speaks, is held at 9:15 a.m., Oct. 22 at King University’s Memorial Chapel.

Paterson is the world-renowned author of more than 35 books, including 17 books of historical and contemporary fiction for children and young readers. Her wry but compassionate approach to the weaving of such mature themes as death and loss, violence and abandonment, and jealousy and isolation into her novels set her apart from many writers of children’s literature working in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Paterson’s much-beloved protagonists, who struggle with ethical principles and coming to terms with their circumstances, are presented in a sensitive and masterful manner that teaches young readers not only about responsibility and self-sacrifice, but also hope.

Her first three books are set in Japan, including “The Master Puppeteer,” a historical novel that follows the adventures of a young boy who finds himself caught up in the political events of late eighteenth-century Japan • for which Paterson won the National Book Award in 1979. She won a second National Book Award, along with a Newbery Honor Book Award, in 1979 for “The Great Gilly Hopkins,” the story of a young girl who yearns for a real family. For her fourth book, the highly acclaimed “Bridge to Terabithia,” Paterson won the 1978 Newbery Medal. She also won the Newbery Medal in 1981 for “Jacob Have I Loved,” a book about sibling rivalry and a young girl’s struggle to make her own way.

Named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2000, Paterson graduated summa cum laude from King College in 1954. She was born in China to missionary parents and served as a missionary herself in Japan, where she also pursued post-graduate study. She drew extensively from her time in Japan to write her first three books, and also drew from the experiences of her children, as well as her own childhood, for many of her other books.

Bristol’s own highly-acclaimed children’s and young adult book author, Bradley was named a Newbery Honor Book Award winner in 2016 for “The War That Saved My Life,” her 16th book • which was also a #1 New York Times Bestseller. The novel is a heart-wrenching, but hopeful, story of two evacuees from London at the outset of World War II. Bradley’s latest bestseller, “The War I Finally Won,” is a sequel to that book.

A Fort Wayne, Indiana, native, Bradley has lived on a 52-acre farm in Bristol, Tennessee, with her husband, two children, and various animals since the 1990s. Her first novel, “Ruthie’s Gift,” was published in 1998 and received Publisher’s Week “Flying Start” Award the same year. She has received additional awards and literary honors for her work, including the 2011 “Kirkus Reviews” Best Children’s Books of 2011 for “Jefferson’s Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret Children,” for which she also won the ALA Notable Children’s Book and the NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People in 2012. She also received the 2016 Schneider Family Book Award for “The War That Saved My Life.”

Setting many of her children’s novels in the past, as well as in wartime eras, Bradley consistently incorporates honesty about the struggles children face into her writing. From the French Revolution and the time of Thomas Jefferson to Teddy Roosevelt, the Southwest Territory of the U.S., and both world wars, Bradley is well regarded for her accuracy and research. Her ability to give readers a true sense of what it was like to live in earlier times has attracted readers from all over the world.

Since 2008, the King Institute for Faith and Culture has sought to foster conversation about things that matter with guest speakers who work at the intersections of Christian faith and culture. This year’s lecture series focuses on the themes of remembrance and hope.

For the complete schedule of the 2018-2019 Lecture Series and more information on each speaker, visit or, email, or call 423-652-4157.

Topics: L, Literature

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley