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Nature's Writers Trail: Kingsolver

Library Guide for the Nature Writer's Trail.

Barbara Kingsolver
April 8, 1955 -

Esteemed author, Barbara Kingsolver was born in rural Kentucky in 1955. Graduating with a degree in biology from DePauw University and the University of Arizona, she went on to become a nature-writer. Throughout her life, she has lived in several different countries such as England, France, Europe, and Africa. While cultivating her writing techniques, Ms. Kingsolver debuted her talents in her first book: The Bean Trees
(1998). Also known for her more famous literature: The Poisonwood Bible (1998) and A Prodigal Summer (2000), she was named as: “One of the most important writers of the 20th Century by Writer’s Digest”.

  • "Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws."

  • "Memory is a complicated thing, relative to truth, but not it's twin."

  • "The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff that the one who stays away."

  • She began her college education studying music on a classical piano scholarship. 
  • Though music ceased to be her vocation, she stayed involved in it and would ultimately help to form the Rock Bottom Remainders, a writerly super-group that has variously featured Dave Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, and James McBride.
  • She has claimed that she “never wanted to be famous..." and still doesn't. She goes on to say that "the universe rewarded [her] with what [she] dreaded most.

  • Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike (1989)
  • The Poisonwood Bible (1998)
  • Prodigal Summer (2000)
  • Small Wonder (2002)
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2007)
  •  The Lacuna (2009)
  •  Flight Behavior: A Novel (2012)
  • Unsheltered (2018)

  • In 2000, she won the Indies Choice Book Award for Adult Fiction  for The Poisonwood Bible.
  • In 2008, she won both the James Beard Award for writing (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) and the Indies Choice Award for Adult Non-Fiction (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle).
  • In 2010, she won the Women's Prize for Fiction for The Lacuna.

Small Wonder

Small Wonder is a collection of 23 essays on environmentalism and social justice by American novelist and biologist Barbara Kingsolver, published in 2002 by Harper Collins.

Prodigal Summer

Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia.

Holding the Line

Holding the Line, Barbara Kingsolver's first non-fiction book, is the story of women's lives transformed by an a signal event. Set in the small mining towns of Arizona, it is part oral history and part social criticism, exploring the process of empowerment which occurs when people work together as a community.

High Tide in Tucson (Franklin County Public Library)

Twenty-six essays explore themes of family, community, and the natural world while considering such specific topics as modern motherhood, paper dolls, and high tide oysters.

Animal Dreams

Animals dream about things they do in the day time, just like people do. If you want sweet dreams, you have to live a sweet life.

Unsheltered (Franklin County Public Library)

Willa Knox always prided herself on being the embolism of responsibility for her family, which is why it's so unnerving that she's arrived at middle age with nothing to show for her hard work and dedication.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Franklin County Public Library)

Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver returns with her first nonfiction narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

Pigs in Heaven (Franklin County Public Library)

A phenomenal bestseller and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for fiction, Pigs in Heaven continues the story of Taylor and Turtle, first introduced in The Bean Trees

Homeland and Other Stories (Franklin County Public Library)

With the same wit and sensitivity that have come to characterize her highly praised and beloved novels Animal Dreams and The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver gives us a rich and emotionally resonant collection of twelve stories.

Flight Behavior (Franklin County Public Library)

The novel is a heady exploration of climate change, along with media exploitation and political opportunism that lie at the root of what may be our most urgent modern dilemma