Dennis Covington's Lizard won the Delacorte Press Prize for a First Young Adult Novel, in 1993. Lizard is the name of a 13-year-old boy sent to the Leesville Louisiana State School for Retarded Boys because of his unusual appearance. He escapes when a shoe salesman claims to be his father. Covington's second young adult novel is Lasso the Moon, "a right of passage" story about a young girl. Covington later wrote Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia, and has written many articles on Central America for the New York Times and Vogue. His short stories have appeared in the Mississippi Review, Southern Exposure, The Greensboro Review, and other periodicals. Covington graduated from the University of Virginia and holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. He is associate professor of English at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he teaches fiction writing. He and his wife, novelist Vicki Covington, have two daughters.