“Good fiction creates empathy. A novel takes you somewhere and asks you to look through the eyes of another person, to live another life.” – Barbara Kingsolver
Since 1993, the year of her first novel The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver has written 14 books and had 14 reach The New York Times Best Seller list – a remarkable run that probably isn’t going to end any time soon.
A native of Appalachia, Kingsolver makes her home in southeast Kentucky once again after living many years in Arizona, where she wrote some of her most memorable works including Pigs in Heaven and others that earned her a reputation as a writer who focused on topics of social justice, biodiversity and the interaction between humans, their communities and environments.
“Every time I write a new novel about something somber and sobering and terrible I think (of my readers) ‘Oh Lord, they’re not going to want to go here.’ But they do. Readers of fiction read, I think, for a deeper embrace of the world, of reality. And that’s brave.”
Kingsolver said her loyal readers seem to like that she puts herself inside her stories. “The very least you can do in your life is to 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.”
That Kingsolver, whose birthday is today, is a writer at all is somewhat remarkable. She intended to be a classical musician and, in fact, had a college scholarship to become one. But, she said she realized that “only about 6 people a year get hired in that world.” So she switched her focus to the study of science, then began writing about science, and on a whim tried her hand at a “creative” piece of short fiction about science. And the rest, as they say…
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