Barbara Kingsolver, a remarkable American poet, was born on the 8th of April in 1995. Her father, Wendell R. Kingsolver, was a physician, and her mother, Virginia Henry, was a housewife. Following her birth, the family shifted to Kentucky, a poverty-stricken area, where her father used to render social services. At seven, she moved to Léopoldville, Congo, with her parents, where the family had to go through trying times. These initial difficulties caused a lot of difficulties for the family. On the other hand, these experiences provided Barbra with inspiration and settings for her literary pursuits.
Barbara Kingsolver shared an instinctive talent of telling stories from an early age. She shared her ideas and feelings with her parents, who always encouraged those little efforts, leading her to get further insight into the arts of reading and writing. At eight, she started transcribing her ideas on paper in the form of stories, essays, and journals. She started her formal education from a local high school, and after graduating from school in 1973, attended DePauw University where she studied instrumental music. Later, she changed her major to biology and earned a Bachelor of Science in 1977. She completed her master’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona in 1982.
Barbra married twice. First, she married Joe Hoffman, a professor, in 1985, and they had one daughter in 1987. Unfortunately, they failed to develop a lasting union and divorced in 1993. The following year, she married Steven Hopp, an ornithologist, and the couple was blessed with a daughter in 1996.
Awards and Honors
Barbara’s considerable services for the literary world not only won praises for her but also led her to win many awards from various institutions. For example, she received the National Book Prize of South Africa for her work, The Poisonwood Bible. In 2000, the US President awarded her with the National Humanities Medal. Later, in 2010, she won the Orange Prize for Fiction for her novel The Lacuna followed by Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. Her other notable achievements include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Virginia, Physicians for Social Responsibility National Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, James Beard Award, and Arizona Civil Liberties Union Award.
Some Important Facts about Her
- She established the Bellwether Prize for Fiction to recognize the splendid services of extraordinary literary figures whose unpublished work brought a positive change in society.
- She received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from her alma mater, DePauw University.
Although Barbara started expressing her thoughts and ideas on paper at a very young age, she formally began her writing career as a science writer in 1980, which eventually led her to freelance writing. However, she stepped into the fictional writing world after winning a short story contest in a local Phoenix newspaper. Her first literary piece “The Bean Trees” appeared in 1988, followed by another great publication, Homeland, and Other Stories. Her next two novels, Animal’s Dream and Pigs in Heaven, were published in 1990 and 1993. Her other remarkable publications include High Tide in Tucson, Flight Behavior, and The Poisonwood Bible.
Barbara Kingsolver earned widespread popularity because of the distinct literary ideas. Her writing approach is primarily poetic in which she artistically blends lyricism with realism to produce what critics have termed “southern novel taken west.” Most of her works revolve around the depiction of common, everyday people. She used imagery, symbolism, and metaphors, alongside other literary elements to provoke feelings, moods, and thoughts. Some of the major themes in her writings are self-obsession, devotion, religion and faith, women and sexism, and racial issues.
Some Important Works of Barbara Kingsolver
- Best Novels: Barbara produced various splendid novels; some include The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, Pigs in Heaven, The Poisonwood Bible, Prodigal Summer, The Lacuna, and
- Other Works: Besides writing novels, she tried her hands in other areas too. Some of them include Homeland and Other Stories, High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never, Small Wonder: Essays, Another America, Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life 2007.
Barbara Kingsolver’s Impact on Literature
Barbara is one of the leading figures of the contemporary age whose ideas about balancing individuality with an urge to live peacefully in a community have won her specific readers. Although she has invited criticism for her opinion pieces following the ruthless US bombing in the wake of the 9/11 incident, she did not back away and continue preaching pacifism with her pen. Despite facing severe criticism, she has not retreated. She expresses her thoughts in her pieces so well that now writing students often turn to her website to see guidance from her remarkable writing efforts.
- “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” (Animal Dreams)
- “As long as I kept moving, my grief streamed out behind me like a swimmer’s long hair in water. I knew the weight was there but it didn’t touch me. Only when I stopped did the slick, dark stuff of it come floating around my face, catching my arms and throat till I began to drown. So I just didn’t stop.” (The Poisonwood Bible)
- “What keeps you going isn’t some fine destination but just the road you’re on, and the fact that you know how to drive. You keep your eyes open, you see this damned-to-hell world you got born into, and you ask yourself, ‘What life can I live that will let me breathe in & out and love somebody or something and not run off screaming into the woods?” (Animal Dreams)