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New Novel by Award-Winning Barbara Kingsolver '77 Set for October Release

New Novel by Award-Winning Barbara Kingsolver '77 Set for October Release

February 22, 2018

"When I discovered I could make a living as a novelist that was a jackpot because the novelist has to know about everything," Barbara Kingsolver says. "You have to be as smart as every character in your novel. That's the beautiful secret of being a novelist. You get to be everything."

The award-winning author and 1977 graduate of DePauw University is profiled in Australia's Sydney Morning Herald, which notes that Kingsolver's new novel, Unsheltered, will be published in October.

"The story follows two protagonists who live in the same crumbling house in New Jersey during two troubled periods of history -- 2016 and 1871," writes Melanie Kembrey writes. "Moments in time, she says, when the rules seemed no longer to apply. When Kingsolver began writing the novel more than two years ago, an editor remarked, after seeing some early chapters, that she did not think the world was so dark. Now, Kingsolver says, the novel seems alarmingly relevant."

"It's funny that I have this crazy habit of publishing right at the moment before a new movement kind of crashes, or breaks open," the author states. "I think of myself as a surfer. I'm not making the wave, I'm just riding it." (at left: Kingsolver speaking at DePauw in April 1991)

Kembrey writes, "Kingsolver's childhood and early career were as eclectic as her novels have been in subject ... A talented pianist, Kingsolver received a scholarship to study music at college. But she felt stifled by the narrowness of what she was learning, and changed courses to study science at DePauw University in Indiana. Kingsolver continued graduate studies in evolutionary biology and ecology at the University of Arizona in Tuscon, notching up academic publications with titles such as 'Kin Selection among Heterotermes Aureus'. She left university life to work as a freelance science writer, learning to live off $US6000 in her first year. She published short stories and poems on the side, and wrote her first novel, The Bean Trees, during the sleepless nights that came when she was pregnant with her first daughter. The manuscript was nearly banished to the rubbish bin, but instead Kingsolver sent it to an agent and the book was published in 1988."

A zoology (biological science) major at DePauw, Barbara Kingsolver received the National Humanities Medal in 2000 and the 2010 Orange Prize and has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Her thirteen books of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction include the novels The Poisonwood Bible, Flight Behavior, and The Lacuna. She'll travel to Australia next month to attend the All About Women Festival and the Adelaide Writers' Week.Barbara Kingsolver 2009 s

According to Kingsolver, "I like to set impossible challenges for myself, it keeps me interested, it keeps me coming back. I feel like I do my best work when I'm scared half out of my mind. When I think, 'oh god how am I going to do this', I know I'm not going to be bored, I'm going to push myself."

Read the feature -- headlined "Kingsolver: Her life is quiet, her fiction is loud" -- at the newspaper's website.

Kingsolver delivered the 1994 commencement address at her alma mater, "As Little Advice as Possible." You can see and hear the speech below.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald