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Transcript of Barbara Kingsolver
She critiqued and was influenced by writers like Henry David Thoreau, Stephen Gould, and Charles Darwin.
Influenced by the keyboard player in the band Rock Bottom Remainders, which also featured novelists Stephen King and Amy Tan.
Her father's profession as a physician influenced her scientific culture
Her parents, Wendell Roy and Virginia Lee Henry Kingsolver, instilled in Barbara and her siblings, Rob and Ann, a love for reading and a respect for the natural world.
Kingsolver counts Southern writers such as Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, and William Faulkner among her earliest literary influences as well
Individuality and Identity
Kingsolver's Influence: Childhood
Kingsolver's Education and Career
Pursued a career as a classical pianist and then majored in biology due to the scarce jobs.
She earned her living by being a copy editor, typesetter, biological researcher, and translator.
She has her master's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona.
In school she studied nearly everything except writing, with degrees in science.
She found herself in demand as a freelance writer because editors knew they could send her into a biotech lab or an epidemiology office.
From there, she was able to do the job that she always thought of as a dream
Barbara Kingsolver states, "“it never crossed my mind that I'd be a writer when I grew up because I really didn't think of writing as a profession.”
Animal Dreams: Quick Plot
Animal Dreams, a novel that follows the growth of Codi Noline, an insecure woman who returns to her agricultural hometown of Grace, Arizona, after a fourteen-year absence.
The Bean Trees: Quick Plot
The novel focuses on the relationships among a group of women and is narrated by Taylor Greer, a young, strong-willed Kentucky woman who leaves her homeland in search of a better life.
Her childhood exposed her to storytelling, community and social responsibility
Her childhood was also influenced by her love and respect for the natural world, social activism, and scientific background.
When she was in second grade, she moved to Africa.
In Africa, she began her lifelong habit of keeping a journal. “What I feel."
She told interviewer L. Elisabeth Beattie, “ writing is the thing that makes my experience real to me.”
Kingsolver's Influence: Social Activism
Her background as a social activist directly influences her fiction, poems, and essays.
Kingsolver states, "Literature is one of the few kinds of writing in the world that does not tell you what to buy, want, see, be, or believe. It’s more like conversation, raising new questions and inspiring you to answer them for yourself."
People label her work as political because it is about the world and makes others either uncomfortable or inspired.
It is as though her work is inclined to change people’s mind which is what great literature like hers will always do.
When she was child, she wrote her first essay on why the community should provide a new school
Barbara Kingsolver deserves the honor of receiving the Nobel Prize award in literature because of her talent in exposing international themes that promote change, in order to benefit mankind through many different types of writings. Through her risk-taking books, poetry, and essays, Kingsolver demonstrates a dominant sense of community and relationships while eliciting idealistic tendency as well.
Her universal themes talk about controversial ideas in graphic detail and tries to help improve on the way things are. She is a social activist whose work embodies feminist and environmentalist concerns.
In 2000 she was awarded the highest honor for service through the arts, the National Humanities Medal.
She writes about social injustices and highlights important issues. Kingsolver tries to make society better by elevating the individual's identity
She became active in ecological and humanitarian causes, including the Sanctuary movement to assist Central American refugees
Born on April 8, 1955, in Annapolis, Maryland
Kingsolver is the daughter of a county physician and her youth was spent immersed in both the storytelling culture of Appalachia and the scientific culture of her father's profession.
In her early twenties, Kingsolver married a chemist, Joseph Hoffmann from 1985 until 1992. They had one child, Camille.
Kingsolver sought a PhD in evolutionary biology but left academia in favor of a scientific writing position with the Office of Arid Lands Studies at the University of Arizona.
She later married Stephen Hopp, a professor of environmental sciences, with whom she had another daughter, Lily
Remember the moon survives,
draws herself out crescent-thin,
a curved woman. Untouchable,
she bends around the shadow
that pushes himself against her, and she
waits. Remember how you waited
when the nights bled their darkness out
like ink, to blacken the days beyond,
to blind morning’s one eye.
This is how you learned to draw
your life out like the moon,
curled like a fetus around the
shadow. Curled in your bed,
the little hopeful flowers of your knees
pressed against the wall,
its mockery of paint,
always the little-girl colors
on the stones of the ordinary prison:
the house where you are someone’s
daughter, sister, someone’s flesh, someone’s
blood. The Lamb and Mary
have left you to float in this darkness
like a soup bone. You watch
the cannibal feast from a hidden place
and pray to be rid of your offering.
The sun is all you wait for,
the light, guardian saint of all the children
who lie like death on the wake
of the household crime. You stop
your heart like a clock: these hours
are not your own. You hide
your life away, the lucky coin
tucked quickly in the shoe
from the burglar, when he comes.
Because he will, as sure
as shoes. This is the one
with all the keys to where you live,
the one you can’t escape, and while
your heart is stopped, he takes things.
It will take you years
to learn: why you held back sleep
from the mouth that opened in the dark;
why you would not feed it with
the dreams you sealed up tight
in a cave of tears; why
the black widow still visits you,
squeezes her venom out in droplets,
stringing them like garnets
down your abdomen,
the terrifying jewelry of a woman
you wore inside, a child robbed
in the dark. Finally you know this.
You have sliced your numbness open
with the blades of your own eyes.
From your years of watching
you have grown the pupils of a cat, to see
in the dark. And these eyes are
your blessing. They will always know the poison
from the jewels that are both embedded
in your flesh.
They will always know the darkness
that is one of your names by now,
but not the one you answer to.
You are the one who knows, behind
the rising, falling tide
of shadow, the moon is always
whole. You take in silver
through your eyes, and hammer it
as taut as poems in steel
into the fine bright crescent of your life:
the surviving moon.
Remember the Moon Survives
Awards and Honors
National Humanities Medal
Awarded by Bill Clinton
Orange Prize for Fiction
Dayton Literary Peace Prize
Pulitzer Prize finalist
American Booksellers Book of the Year
Audiofile Best Audiobook
American Library Association Award
PEN / Faulkner Award
Poets & Writers “Writers for Writers” Award
100 Best Writers of the 20th Century, Writers Digest
Oprah’s Book Club selection
Oprah’s one of “the ten books that have mattered the most to her in the past decade”
United Nations National Council of Women citation of accomplishment
National Book Prize of South Africa
Edward Abbey EcoFiction Award
James Beard Award
Patterson Fiction Prize, The Poetry Center
Los Angeles Times Book Prize
John P. McGovern Award for the Family
Physicians for Social Responsibility National Award
Frank Waters Award
National Writers Union, Andrea Egan Award
Arizona Civil Liberties Union Award
Time Magazine Top 10 commencement speaker
Washington Post A List
Book Sense 2007 bestseller
Connects writing to family, religious beliefs, and strong female characters
Her characters and plot are the most superior
Writing flows easily and is poetic
Kingsolver recalls her fictions as a "dance between truth and fiction"
"About Writing." Barbara Kingsolver. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2014.
Astor, Dave. "An Appreciation of Barbara Kingsolver." The Huffington Post.
TheHuffingtonPost.com, 02 Nov. 2012. Web. 01 Jan. 2014.
Carchidi, Victoria. "Barbara Kingsolver: Overview." Contemporary Popular
Writers. Ed. Dave Mote. Detroit: St. James Press, 1997. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 29 Dec. 2013.Document URL http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CH1420004608&v=2.1&u=s0940&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w&asid=bceddffecb1b134f63b40cb9e6d520e3
"Kingsolver, Barbara." Gale Contextual Encyclopedia of American Literature. Vol.
2. Detroit: Gale, 2009. 898-901. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 7 Jan. 2014.
"Overview of Barbara Kingsolver." DISCovering Authors. Online ed. Detroit:
Gale, 2003. Discovering Collection. Gale. Newington School District. 29 Dec. 2013 <http://find.galegroup.com/srcx/infomark.do?&source=gale&srcprod=DISC&userGroupName=s0940&prodId=DC&tabID=T001&docId=EJ2101200288&type=retrieve&contentSet=GSRC&version=1.0>.
Post Reading Questions
1. What is your interpretation of Barbara Kingsolver's poem?
2.What does the moon symbolize?
3. What are some universal themes apparent in this novel?
4. What are some aspects of the poem that demonstrate that Barbara Kingsolver is worthy of the Nobel Prize?
By: Riya Abraham and Alicia Greenalch
Barbara Kingsolver Interview
1. What things did Barbara Kingsolver experience that made her the writer that she is today?
2. What are some major themes in her writing that help change people's mind and benefit mankind?
3.What is unique about her style?
4. How does her literature influence social change?
5. What are some striking attributes that you found made her worthy of the Nobel Prize.