At a glance: Barbara Kingsolver

  • Updated: October 24, 2009 - 5:50 PM

Age: 54.

Born/raised: Kentucky, with a brief stint in the African Congo.

Family: Husband Steven L. Hopp, an environmental science professor, and daughters Camille and Lily.

Education: Degree in biology from DePauw University, plus master's in evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona.

Early career: Worked as a biologist, journalist and science writer.

Books: Seven novels, two essay collections, a poetry volume and three nonfiction titles.

Awards: National Humanities Medal in 2000, several book awards.

She thanks heaven for: "The delete key."

The trouble with history books: "They measure our history in wars and bloodshed, when they could be doing it by progress."

Origin of Kingsolver name: "I think it's a corruption of a common Portuguese name, nothing to do with kings, alas."

As a pregnant insomniac: Wrote first novel "The Bean Trees" at night in a tiny closet outfitted with a small table and a lamp. She signed with HarperCollins the day after giving birth to Camille.

On Facebook friends: "I hear I have three fake pages and 3,000 fake friends. I prefer the smaller circle of real friends, the kind you can count on to bring casserole after a death in the family."

Hobby: Plays keyboards and hand drums in a band called Rock Bottom Remainders with Stephen King, Amy Tan, Matt Groening and Dave Barry.

Activism: Founded the Bellwether Prize for literature for social change, now in its 10th cycle. Writing an introductory essay for a special issue of National Geographic on water, and working in her own community to get people to commit to consuming fewer natural resources.

KRISTIN TILLOTSON

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