King Welcomes Trio of Beloved Children’s Authors

Nov 29, 2022 | King University

Newbery Honorees and Library of Congress Living Legend gather to talk about the calling of writing for children

Katherine Paterson
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Stephanie Tolan

BRISTOL, Tenn., Nov. 28, 2022 — As part of its 2022-23 speaker series, “Hunger and Gladness,” King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture (IFC) will host award-winning authors Katherine Paterson ‘54, Stephanie S. Tolan, and Kimberly Brubaker Bradley on Wednesday, Nov. 30, and Thursday, Dec. 1.

The trio has won numerous accolades among them, including the National Book Award, Newbery honors, and New York Times Bestseller rankings.

Paterson, a King alumna, was named a Library of Congress Living Legend in 2000. During her illustrious career she has penned more than 40 books, including 18 novels for children and young people. One of her most famous works, “Bridge to Terabithia,” was a Newbery Medal winner in 1978, along with “Jacob Have I Loved” in 1981.

She also won the National Book Award in 1977 for “The Master Puppeteer” and in 1979 for “The Great Gilly Hopkins.” For the body of her work, she received the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1998 and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2006, among other accolades.

Tolan and Bradley will join Paterson on Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. to present “A Calling to Write for Children” at Central Presbyterian Church, 331 Euclid Ave., Bristol, Virginia. At 9:45 a.m. on Dec. 1, Paterson will read from her new memoir, “Stories of My Life,” in the Memorial Chapel on King’s main campus in Bristol, Tennessee. Both presentations are free and open to the public.

Also on Dec. 1, the trio of authors will be available for a free meet and greet event in the Kegley Room of the Bristol Public Library, 701 Goode St., Bristol, Virginia, from 4-5 p.m.

A public performance of “Good King Wenceslas,” written by Paterson and Tolan, will take place Friday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. at Paramount Bristol, 518 State St., Bristol, Tennessee, with the authors scheduled to speak afterward. Tickets for the play are $12-16 and can be purchased here.

The new comedy focuses on a struggling theater that finds that their one money-making play of the year, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” is being produced by the rival theater across town, which has not only pre-empted their opening show but also stolen most of their cast and backstage staff.

The play is a work filled with family conflict, romance, and a genuine Christmas miracle — and one that offers the opportunity for regional actors to participate alongside students and professors from King’s Department of Theatre.

Tolan is a playwright and Newbery Honor-winning author for her book, “Surviving the Applewhites.” She has written 27 books for children and young adults, is the co-author of “Guiding the Gifted Child” and the author of “Is It a Cheetah?” an essay about the needs of gifted kids that has been translated into 40 languages. Tolan has written and spoken about the social, emotional, and spiritual needs of very bright kids for 40 years — much of which is collected in the book, “Out of Sync.” Her most recent nonfiction work for adults is “Change Your Story, Change Your Life.”

Bradley is a two-time Newbery Honoree and New York Times best-selling author. Her book, “The War That Saved My Life,” was nominated for 45 state book awards, winning more than a dozen. That work was also selected among the Wall Street Journal Best Books of the Year, as an E.B. White Read Aloud Honor Book, and received the Schneider Family Book Award, Odyssey Award, and the Josette Frank Award. In addition, Bradley’s “The War I Finally Won,” was listed as one of the best books of the year by the Boston Globe, Kirkus, Barnes and Noble, The Washington Post, and Amazon. Her other works include “Fighting Words,” “Jefferson’s Sons,” and “For Freedom.” Her upcoming book, “She Persisted: Rosalind Franklin,” will be released this December.

“The amount of creative talent that will be gathered in one spot is staggering and delightful,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the IFC. “As we explore what it means to write for children, producing works that comfort, engage, and guide, we will gain insight into their individual callings and the impact that their gifts have made on generations around the world.”

More information on upcoming IFC speakers is available at



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