How might literature change the world? American author Barbara Kingsolver has been asking this question through her best-selling novels and essays for years. After a self-described ‘curious childhood’ split between rural Appalachia and remote global locations where her doctor father was posted, she developed an independent spirit and an unshakeable love for the natural world. This passion manifested as activism during her biology degree, but despite becoming a scientist, it was literature than ultimately won out. Although she wrote several award-winning essays and novels through the late 90s and into the 2000s, it wasn’t until her novel The Poisonwood Bible was featured on Oprah Winfrey’s book club that Barbara skyrocketed to international fame. Barbara used her royalties to establish the Bellwether literary prize for socially engaged fiction, and she remains an activist at heart, with a body of work that is a testament to a belief in the power of the written word.
“ I just want the world to persist in the way that it can.”
As a middle-class girl from a happy family, Kate Bolick’s life was on track: go to college, get a job, and then, become a wife. But after losing her mother, Kate began to question this predictable trajectory.