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COVERT, ALICE LENT (1913-?)

Novelist Alice Lent Covert was born in Winfield, Kansas, in 1913. Because her father was a Methodist minister, the family moved numerous times. When they settled in the Oklahoma Panhandle in 1926, she attended schools at Boise City and Forgan. While studying journalism and psychology at Panhandle A&M College (Oklahoma Panhandle State University), she married in 1930 during her freshman year. The Coverts had one son born in 1932. In 1934 they moved to Lawton where Alice worked as a reporter for Lawton newspapers and helped found the Lawton Writers' Club.

Alice Covert's writing career started at age sixteen when the Wichita Beacon published her first story. During her teens she worked part-time for a weekly newspaper and published a high school newsletter. Her first novel, Return to Dust (1939), portrayed an Oklahoma Panhandle family's struggle to survive the Dust Bowl. Unlike John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath, her book told the story of Oklahomans who stayed rather than those who migrated to California. She wrote from experience, having lived through the Dust Bowl and contracted dust pneumonia. Her second novel, The Months of Rain (1941), presented the plight of farmers following World War I, with the setting in the opposite corner of the state, in the Kiamichi Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma. Covert presented contemporary issues facing farmers, such as soil erosion and federal aid.

In addition to novels, she wrote short stories for detective and popular magazines. Covert also enjoyed playing the piano, composing music, painting, and fishing. The Coverts moved several times, living in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Texas. She faded into obscurity, and the date of her death is unknown.

SEE ALSO: DUST BOWL, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, LITERATURE AND WRITERS, GEORGE MILBURN, REGIONALIST MOVEMENT, THE STRICKLANDS,

BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Alice Lent Covert," Vertical File, Oklahoma Room, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 13 April 1941. Lawton (Oklahoma) Constitution, 20 August 1939. Anne Hodges Morgan, "Oklahoma in Literature," in Oklahoma: New Views of the Forty-Sixth State, ed. Anne Hodges Morgan and H. Wayne Morgan (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982). Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 23 March 1941.

Linda D. Wilson

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