King University Welcomes Alumna and Living Legend Katherine Paterson

Oct 12, 2021 | King University

Author of “Bridge to Terabithia” and “The Great Gilly Hopkins” to appear at First Presbyterian

BRISTOL, Tenn., Oct. 12, 2021 — The Institute for Faith & Culture (IFC) welcomes esteemed King alumna and Library of Congress Living Legend Katherine Paterson ‘54 as the IFC’s 2021-22 speaker series, “Listen to Your Life,” continues Monday, Oct. 18.

Paterson, who graduated summa cum laude from King in 1954, has garnered a lifetime’s worth of national and international accolades for her books. She has twice won the Newbery Medal, for “Bridge to Terabithia” in 1978 and “Jacob Have I Loved” in 1981, and was awarded the National Book Award in 1977 for “The Master Puppeteer” and again in 1979 for “The Great Gilly Hopkins.” She has written more than 30 books in total, and her newest, “Birdie’s Bargain,” will be published by Candlewick Press later this year.

For the body of her work, she received the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1998, and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2006. She was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2000. 

On Oct. 18, Paterson will present “Writers must write out of their own lives, so we’d better listen, hadn’t we?” at 9:15 a.m. in the Memorial Chapel on King’s main campus in Bristol. That evening, she will appear with two-time Newbery Honoree and New York Times Bestselling Author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church. Both events are free of charge and open to the public. Guests are requested to observe masking and/or social distancing guidelines.

“Katherine is quite deserving of her title as Living Legend,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the IFC. “Her much-beloved protagonists, who struggle with the themes of loss, violence, and abandonment, forged new territory in young adult literature in the 70s and 80s. Since then, her work has continued to lead new generations of readers, demonstrating how to greet difficult circumstances with humor and hope. Her many books are touchstones for readers around the world, and we’re delighted to welcome her back to King.”

Paterson is vice president of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance, an honorary lifetime member of the International Board on Books for Young People, and an Alida Cutts lifetime member of the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY). In 2010-2011, she served as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. 

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit



Corporate Image

Get In Touch