Barbara Kingsolver was born on April 8, 1955 and grew up in rural Kentucky. She left to attend DePauw University in Indiana in 1973, where she majored in biology. In the early eighties, she pursued graduate studies in biology and ecology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she received a Masters of Science degree.
During her years in school and two years spent living in Greece and France, Kingsolver supported herself in a variety of jobs: as an archeologist, copy editor, X-ray technician, housecleaner, biological researcher and translator of medical documents. After graduate school, a position as a science writer for the University of Arizona soon led her into feature writing for journals and newspapers. Her many articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including The Nation, The New York Times, and Smithsonian. In 1986, she won an Arizona Press Club award for outstanding feature writing.
From 1985 through 1987, Kingsolver was a freelance journalist by day but was writing fiction by night. Her first novel, The Bean Trees, was published in 1988. It was followed by a collection of short stories, Homeland and Other Stories, and one year later by Animal Dreams. She has also written a nonfiction book, Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983 (Cornell University Press) and a collection of poetry, Another America (Seal Press). Kingsolver's third novel, Pigs in heaven, was published in 1993, and her collection of essays, High Tide in Tucson, in 1995.
Kingsolver's works have garnered numerous awards including the Edward Abbey Award for Ecofiction, the PEN Center USA West Literary Award for Fiction, the American Library Association Best Books of the Year Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for fiction. She is the only author whose work has been nominated three times for the ABBY Award (the book booksellers most enjoy handling.)
Barbara Kingsolver lives with her husband and daughters in southern Arizona and in the mountains of southern Appalachia.