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Noted Poet Tony Abbott to Speak at King University and First Presbyterian Church in Bristol, TN April 3

BRISTOL, Tenn., March 21, 2017 – The King University Institute for Faith and Culture welcomes noted poet and educator Tony Abbott on Monday, April 3 for the Institute’s 2016-17 Lecture Series. Abbott will speak at 9:15 a.m. at King University’s Memorial Chapel and 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 701 Florida Avenue, Bristol, Tenn. The events are co-sponsored by the Bristol Herald Courier.

On Monday morning, Tony Abbott will present, “The Still Small Voice of Grace: An Introduction to Marilynne Robinson.” That evening at First Presbyterian Church, he will do a poetry reading from his latest award winning collection, “The Angel Dialogues: A Poetic Reading.”

“Tony Abbott is a powerful artist,” says Shannon Vance Harris, director of the King Institute for Faith and Culture. “He took a terribly tragedy in his life, and turned to art as a way to move through grief and engage with faith. This has shaped the rest of his vocation. Tony speaks directly to the King Institute for Faith and Culture’s mission; his engagement and connection to his audience is singular.”

Anthony “Tony” S. Abbott’s work is deeply influenced by his Christian faith and his personal grappling with loss, particularly of his young daughter. He has taught at Davidson College in North Carolina since 1964 and is currently the Charles A. Dana Professor of English Emeritus. Abbott was instrumental in development of creative writing as an academic focus at Davidson, and lectured widely on Flannery O’Connor, Frederick Buechner, and Walker Percy to both church and secular groups in North and South Carolina.

The winner of the 2015 N.C. Award for Literature from the State of North Carolina, Abbott is the author of seven books of poetry, two novels, and four books of literary criticism. His newest book, “The Angel Dialogues” (Lorimer Press, 2014), is the recipient of honorable mention in the 2015 Brockman-Campbell competition of the N.C. Poetry Society, and his 2011 book of poems, “If Words Could Save Us,” was the co-winner in that same competition in 2012. His acclaimed first novel, “Leaving Maggie Hope,” won the Novello Award in 2003.

Abbott’s first volume of poems, “The Girl in the Yellow Raincoat,” was published by St. Andrews Press in 1989 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Born in San Francisco and educated at the Fay School in Southborough, Mass., and Kent School in Kent, Conn., Abbott received his A.B. from Princeton University, magna cum laude, in 1957. With the support of a Danforth Fellowship, he received his A.M. from Harvard University in 1960 and his Ph.D. in 1962.

The events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or contact Dr. Shannon Harris at, 423-652-4836, or 423-747-3524.


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.