Barbara Kingsolver is an American poet, essayist, and novelist. She was born in Maryland on April 8, 1955, and has traveled extensively. She has lived in Kentucky, the Republic of Congo, Indiana, France, Arizona, the Canary Islands, and is currently settled in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia with her family.
Kingsolver is best known for a novel called The Poisonwood Bible, a story about a missionary family who moves from Georgia to Kilanga in the Belgian Congo during the nation’s expansion from Colonial control. She hearkens back to her experience as a child in that country to weave the tale, told through the narratives of the women of the Price family. The Poisonwood Bible won the national book award of South Africa, and was named an Oprah Book Club selection.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a non-fiction account of the efforts of the Kingsolver family to live off of their land and their local community for a year. They grew their own vegetables, maintained livestock, preserved excess food, and even made their own cheese. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle won numerous prizes including the James Beard award and the 2008 Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Adult Nonfiction.
Each of Barbara Kingsolver’s works published since 1993 has been on The New York Times Best Seller list. She has received numerous awards, including the National Humanities Medal and the UK Orange Prize for Fiction 2010 for The Lacuna, and has been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
Her work tends to focus on social justice, the benefits of biodiversity, and the impact and interactions of humanity, our larger communities, and our environment. In 1999, Barbara Kingsolver established the Bellwether Prize. This literary award is given out every other year, and it was created to support unpublished writers whose works encourage positive social change. The Prize includes guaranteed publication, as well as a cash prize of $25,000, and is the largest monetary prize for an unpublished work of fiction in North America.
“Listen. To live is to be marked. To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know. In perfect stillness, frankly, I’ve only found sorrow.”
— Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible)