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Barbara Kingsolver

Author of The Poisonwood Bible

42+ Works 87,891 Members 2,153 Reviews 549 Favorited
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About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver was born on April 8, 1955 in Annapolis, Maryland and grew up in Eastern Kentucky. As a child, Kingsolver used to beg her mother to tell her bedtime stories. She soon started to write stories and essays of her own, and at the age of nine, she began to keep a journal. After show more graduating with a degree in biology form De Pauw University in Indiana in 1977, Kingsolver pursued graduate studies in biology and ecology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She earned her Master of Science degree in the early 1980s. A position as a science writer for the University of Arizona soon led Kingsolver into feature writing for journals and newspapers. Her articles have appeared in a number of publications, including The Nation, The New York Times, and Smithsonian magazines. In 1985, she married a chemist, becoming pregnant the following year. During her pregnancy, Kingsolver suffered from insomnia. To ease her boredom when she couldn't sleep, she began writing fiction Barbara Kingsolver's first fiction novel, The Bean Trees, published in 1988, is about a young woman who leaves rural Kentucky and finds herself living in urban Tucson. Since then, Kingsolver has written other novels, including Holding the Line, Homeland, and Pigs in Heaven. In 1995, after the publication of her essay collection High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never, Kingsolver was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from her alma mater, De Pauw University. Her latest works include The Lacuna and Flight Behavior. Barbara's nonfiction book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was written with her family. This is the true story of the family's adventures as they move to a farm in rural Virginia and vow to eat locally for one year. They grow their own vegetables, raise their own poultry and buy the rest of their food directly from farmers markets and other local sources. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible (1998) 26,540 copies, 503 reviews
The Bean Trees (1988) 9,945 copies, 183 reviews
Prodigal Summer (2000) 9,051 copies, 197 reviews
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2007) 7,720 copies, 258 reviews
Pigs in Heaven (1993) 6,152 copies, 82 reviews
Animal Dreams (1990) 5,630 copies, 77 reviews
The Lacuna (2009) 5,375 copies, 257 reviews
Flight Behavior (2012) 4,023 copies, 234 reviews
Demon Copperhead (2022) 3,566 copies, 151 reviews
Small Wonder: Essays (2002) 2,292 copies, 34 reviews
High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never (1995) 2,266 copies, 33 reviews
Unsheltered (2018) 2,213 copies, 117 reviews
Homeland and Other Stories (1989) 1,704 copies, 13 reviews
The Best American Short Stories 2001 (2001) — Editor — 548 copies
How to Fly in Ten Thousand Easy Lessons: Poems (2020) — Author — 148 copies, 3 reviews
Barbara Kingsolver: Complete Fiction I (2001) 31 copies, 4 reviews
Coyote's Wild Home (2023) 13 copies, 2 reviews
Loveroot * 1 copy
Flight Behavior 1 copy, 1 review
Water Is Life {essay} (2010) 1 copy

Associated Works

King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa (1998) — Foreword, some editions — 4,831 copies, 126 reviews
A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There (1949) — Introduction, some editions — 4,481 copies, 60 reviews
Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from the New York Times (2001) — Contributor — 450 copies, 4 reviews
American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau (2008) — Contributor — 418 copies, 1 review
Sisters of the Earth: Women's Prose and Poetry About Nature (1991) — Contributor — 402 copies, 4 reviews
Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting (2013) — Contributor — 273 copies, 14 reviews
Teaching with Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach (2003) — Contributor — 202 copies, 1 review
I Should Have Stayed Home: The Worst Trips of the Great Writers (1994) — Contributor — 181 copies, 5 reviews
My Favorite Fantasy Story (2000) — Contributor — 168 copies
This Is My Best: Great Writers Share Their Favorite Work (2004) — Contributor — 163 copies, 3 reviews
Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals (1998) — Contributor — 123 copies
Best Food Writing 2007 (2007) — Contributor — 112 copies, 1 review
Heart of the Land: Essays on Last Great Places (1995) — Contributor — 107 copies
War No More: Three Centuries of American Antiwar and Peace Writing (2016) — Contributor — 87 copies, 1 review
The Seasons of Women: An Anthology (1995) — Contributor — 46 copies
The Best American Magazine Writing 2011 (2011) — Contributor — 36 copies, 1 review
Spring: A Spiritual Biography of the Season (2006) — Contributor — 34 copies, 1 review
Birds in the Hand: Fiction and Poetry about Birds (2004) — Contributor — 33 copies, 1 review
Atomic Ghost: Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age (1995) — Contributor — 32 copies
The Caedmon Short Story Collection (2001) — Contributor — 7 copies
New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 1988 (1988) — Contributor — 6 copies
Race Traitor 10 (1999) — Contributor — 4 copies
To Eat with Grace (2014) — Contributor — 2 copies
Journeys (1996) — Contributor — 1 copy


20th century (282) adoption (345) Africa (1,410) American (441) American literature (451) anthology (253) Appalachia (482) Arizona (437) Barbara Kingsolver (452) book club (274) Congo (588) contemporary fiction (340) ecology (531) environment (808) essays (1,175) family (926) farming (314) fiction (9,175) food (855) gardening (281) historical fiction (872) literary fiction (299) literature (532) memoir (539) Mexico (376) missionaries (667) Native American (295) Native Americans (273) nature (1,039) non-fiction (1,693) novel (1,129) own (520) read (964) religion (541) short stories (465) Southwest (248) to-read (3,337) unread (454) USA (284) women (356)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Kingsolver, Barbara
Legal name
Kingsolver, Barbara Ellen
Annapolis, Maryland, USA
Places of residence
Carlisle, Kentucky, USA
Léopoldville, Congo (now Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Greencastle, Indiana, USA
Tucson, Arizona, USA
Washington County, Virginia, USA
England, UK (show all 8)
Canary Islands, Spain
DePauw University (BS|1977|biology)
University of Arizona (MS|ecology and evolutionary biology)
short-story writer
Kingsolver, Camille (daughter)
Hopp, Steven (husband)
Hopp, Lily (daughter)
Rock Bottom Remainders (band)
Awards and honors
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2023)
James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction (2022)
National Humanities Medal (2000)
Best American Science and Nature Writing (2001)
Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award (2011)
Arizona Press Club Award for Outstanding Feature Writing (1986) (show all 14)
Women's Prize for Fiction (2010, 2023)
Orange Prize for Fiction (2010)
James Beard Foundation Award (2008)
Los Angeles Times Book Prize (1993)
Library of Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award (2014)
Virginia Women in History (2018)
Honorary Doctorate of Letters, DePauw University (1994)
Phi Beta Kappa (DePauw University, 1977)
Frances Goldin (Frances Goldin Literary Agency)
Short biography
Barbara Kingsolver is an American novelist, essayist and poet. She was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in the Congo in her early childhood. Kingsolver earned degrees in biology at DePauw University and the University of Arizona and worked as a freelance writer before she began writing novels. Her widely known works include The Poisonwood Bible, the tale of a missionary family in the Congo, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a non-fiction account of her family's attempts to eat locally. Her work often focuses on topics such as social justice, biodiversity and the interaction between humans and their communities and environments.



"Demon Copperhead" by Barbara Kingsolver in 75 Books Challenge for 2023 (March 29)
August 2019: Barbara Kingsolver in Monthly Author Reads (December 2020)
Barbara Kingsolver: American Author Challenge in 75 Books Challenge for 2015 (December 2015)
[The Lacuna] by [[Barbara Kingsolver]] in Orange January/July (July 2011)


Knowing this book was based on David Copperfield, an all-time favorite of mine, made this a definite read. Kingsolver’s use of the same names or clearly-related variations (e.g. Emma for Emily, Peggott for Peggotty; Stoner for Murdstone; U-Haul for Uriah Heep and on and on) really tied the story to David Copperfield. It addressed the opioid crisis in a less emotionally raw way than perhaps some other opioid crisis fiction does, but you finish with a strong picture of what it looks like from a life lived inside it.


A happy ending for Demon tracks with David Copperfield. Demon and Angus (Agnes) are heading for the ocean and will likely end up married (just like David and Agnes got married in David Copperfield). It would have been interesting to see the happy ending played out a bit more as it was in David Copperfield rather than leaving it at their drive to the ocean.

My Rating System:
Characters (Strength, Likability) 4.75/5
Story/Plot: 4.5/5
Enjoyability/Ease of Reading: 4.75/5
Reading Pace: 5/5
Quality of Writing: 5/5
TOTAL: 24 1.5 (will read everything by this author): 25.5/25
… (more)
ClimateBabs | 150 other reviews | Jul 15, 2024 |
Phenomenal. Characters that I hope to never forget. It’s books like this one that remind you why you read
cg2020 | 150 other reviews | Jul 14, 2024 |
This was a fantastic book told by one of the best narrators I have read in a long time. The story itself is very compelling, but the narrator makes it really shine. Highly recommend.
sbenne3 | 150 other reviews | Jul 7, 2024 |


hopes (1)
Africa (1)
AP Lit (1)
1990s (2)


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Steven L. Hopp Photographer
Katrina Kenison Series Editor
Paul Mirocha Illustrator
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Roy Parvin Contributor
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Dorothy West Contributor
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Rick Bass Contributor
Peter Orner Contributor
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Claire Davis Contributor
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Alice Munro Contributor
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Annette Sanford Contributor
Guillemette Belleteste Traduction, Translator
Maaike Post Translator
Arjen Mulder Translator
Martine Aubert Translator, Traduction
Claire Buchbinder Traduction, Translator
C. J. Critt Narrator
Juha Ahokas Translator
Damián Alou Traductor
Aurora Ballester Translator
Bente Klinge Translator
Han Meyer Translator
Geoff Spear Cover photo
Julie Metz Cover designer
Elliott Beard Designer
Lisa Desimini Cover artist
Suzanne Noli Cover designer
Susan Pearce Author photo
Anne-Marie Augustyniak Collaboratrice pour la traduction française
Martine Béquié Translator
Mercè Diago Translator
Abel Debritto Translator
Lourdes Sette Translator
Richard A. Houser Illustrator
Hank Daniel Photographer
Fritz Metsch Designer
Noelia Jiménez Translator
Margara Averbach Translator
Lars Krumlinde Translator
Claudia Conde Translator
Sylvia Spatz Übersetzer
Julie Sibony Traduction
Valérie Morlot Traduction
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Paula Parker Narrator
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