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I'm a former environmental science professor who studied water, wildfire, and climate change. My articles about the environment, science, women in science, and literature have appeared or are forthcoming in Longreads, The LA Review of Books, Hakai Magazine, Terrain.org, Science, Nature, and other outlets (see my clips here: http://snowhydro1.wordpress.com/freelance-work/). I am a co-founder and sit on the Board of Directors of Science Borealis (http://scienceborealis.ca), Canada’s science blog aggregator. I am also a member of the Federation of BC Writers, the Council of Science Editors, the Editors’ Association of Canada, and the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada.

‘I’ve Always Been Either Praised or Accused of Ambition’: An Interview with Barbara Kingsolver

Getty Images / HarperCollins Publishers

 

Sarah Boon | Longreads | October 2018 | 14 minutes (3,686 words)

 

Barbara Kingsolver’s first novel, The Bean Trees, was published in 1988, on the same day that her first daughter was born. Since then, Kingsolver has published eight more novels, two books of essays, a book of poetry, and three nonfiction books — including the popular Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, about growing all of her family’s food on their farm. Her eighth and latest novel, Unsheltered, follows the parallel lives of characters in both 2016 and 1871 as they live and love in the same house at the corner of Sixth and Plum in Vineland, New Jersey.

Kingsolver has received numerous writing awards, including the James Beard Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has also been shortlisted for a Pulitzer Prize and a PEN/Faulkner Award. Kingsolver has also established The Bellwether Prize for Fiction, an award to support writers who cover topics around social change.

I spoke with Kingsolver three days after Hurricane Florence made landfall on the east coast of the US, and the same day Florence was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, though it continued to bombard the region with strong winds and heavy rain. Kingsolver noted that she lives in the mountainous region of Virginia, farther from the storm. She wasn’t too worried about the rain, but was concerned about her downstream neighbors who were likely to be inundated. It was a perfect play on the title of Unsheltered. Read more…