Barbara Kingsolver’s work demonstrates that peace is not simply a matter of reconciliation and resolution;
peace is a delicate self-sustaining condition contingent on mutual dependence among people, nations, cultures,
and other living beings. Peace, she tells us, is a fragile web of interconnectedness easily harmed. Her
books provide counsel on what happens when even a single filament of that web is damaged.
Kingsolver is not only a prolific writer of fiction, she is also a biologist who has addressed the natural
world with the same personal commitment and literary excellence that she has given her narrative work. She
has published 14 books and hundreds of articles and contributions to anthologies, including several
scientific works; she began her writing career in 1977.
A significant voice in arts and letters as well as ecology, Kingsolver’s work has earned her 25 national
and international awards, including the National Humanities Medal. The Poisonwood Bible was a finalist for
both the Orange Prize for Fiction, and The Pulitzer Prize. Other work has earned the American Booksellers
Book of the Year, the PEN / Faulkner Award, The James Beard Award, The National Book Prize of South Africa,
the Edward Abbey EcoFiction Award, The Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the United National National Council
of Women citation of accomplishment.
This year, her work earned the Duke Leaf Award for lifetime environmental achievement in the fine arts.
From The Bean Trees, and Homeland, published in 1988 and 1989, through her most recent novel, The Lacuna,
Kingsolver has been writing about the complex relationships we develop, live with, and daily negotiate,
transforming them into experiences that are simultaneously ordinary and significant.
A native of Kentucky, she has explored the hope, balance, and intricacy of human and environmental interactions
that extend from Appalachia to The Congo, from the simplest ways to grow, gather, and prepare food to the
complex biosocial outcomes of contemporary life today
In 1998, Ms. Kingsolver established the Bellweather Prize for fiction, a $25,000 award for an unpublished
work of fiction.
- Winona Wendth
DLPP Board Member
Writer; Associate Professor
Atlantic Union College, Massachusetts
2011 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award
(Click photo to see acceptance speech at awards dinner.)
"I'm very moved by both the legacy and the aspirations of this prize. It will be an honor to
stand in the heart of the country and celebrate peace."
Barbara Kingsolver was born in 1955, and grew up in rural Kentucky. She earned degrees in biology from DePauw
University and the University of Arizona, and has worked as a freelance writer and author since 1985. At various
times in her adult life she has lived in England, France, and the Canary Islands, and has worked in Europe,
Africa, Asia, Mexico, and South America. She spent two decades in Tucson, Arizona, before moving to southwestern
Virginia where she currently resides.
Her books, in order of publication, are: The Bean Trees (1988), Homeland (1989), Holding the Line: Women in
the Great Arizona Mine Strike (1989), Animal Dreams (1990), Another America (1992), Pigs in Heaven (1993),
High Tide in Tucson (1995), The Poisonwood Bible (1998), Prodigal Summer (2000), Small Wonder (2002), Last
Stand: America’s Virgin Lands, with photographer Annie Griffiths Belt (2002), Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:
A Year of Food Life (2007), The Lacuna (2009) and Flight Behavior (2012).
She served as editor for Best American Short Stories 2001.
Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages, and have been adopted into the core
literature curriculum in high schools and colleges throughout the nation. She has contributed to more than
fifty literary anthologies, and her reviews and articles have appeared in most major U.S. newspapers and
magazines. (Click here to view complete
Kingsolver was named one the most important writers of the 20th Century by Writers Digest. In 2000 she received
the National Humanities Medal, our country’s highest honor for service through the arts. Critical acclaim for
her books includes multiple awards from the American Booksellers Association and the American Library Association,
among many others. The Poisonwood Bible was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Orange Prize, and won the
national book award of South Africa, before being named an Oprah Book Club selection. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
won numerous prizes including the James Beard award. The Lacuna won The Orange Prize for Fiction, 2010.
She has two daughters, Camille (born in 1987) and Lily (1996). Her husband, Steven Hopp, teaches environmental
studies. Since June 2004, Barbara and her family have lived on a farm in southern Appalachia. Barbara believes
her best work is accomplished through writing, raising her children, and being an active citizen of her own
community. She is grateful for the good will and support of her readers.