American writer Barbara Kingsolver was born on this day near Annapolis, Maryland.
Kingsolver grew up in rural Kentucky. After high school, she left Kentucky to attend DePauw University in Indiana. After graduating in 1977, Kingsolver worked in Europe, then returned to the U.S., where she worked as a biologist and freelance journalist. Her first novel, The Bean Trees, was published in 1988, followed by Animal Dreams (1990) and Pigs in Heaven (1993). All three explore such social and political issues as feminism, environmentalism, and Indian tribal rights through stories about struggling women in the American Southwest.
In 1998 Kingsolver released what would become her best-selling and most acclaimed novel, The Poisonwood Bible. A selection of Oprah’s Book Club, The Poisonwood Bible would go on to become a finalist for the Pulitzer and PEN/Faulkner awards. Subsequent novels include Prodigal Summer (2000) and The Lacuna (2009).
In 2000, Kingsolver was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Clinton. The award honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.
Kingsolver, a mother of two, lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her husband, an ornithologist, and has also published volumes of poetry and essays.