Monday, July 26, 2010

AUTHORS FOR SUMMER: Barbara Kingsolver and Julie Zickefoose

PVNWG is reading Barbara Kingsolver's collection of essays Small Wonder and Julie Zickefoose's Letters from Eden over the summer months. We reunite in September to savor, debate, compare and contrast our responses to these two highly likeable and down-to-earth nature writers.

Kingsolver (at left) was born in Annapolis MD, moving with her family at age two to Kentucky where she grew up. She has lived in various places in the US and in Europe as an adult. After two decades living in Tucson, AZ, she, her husband and two daughters moved to a farm in southeastern Virginia in 2004, where they still reside.

Her writing has received numerous awards. In 2000, Kingsolver received the National Humanities Medal for service through the arts. In 1998, Kingsolver herself established the Bellwether Prize for Fiction. For more information about the author, go to her authorized website here.

Kingsolver began writing the essays that appear in Small Wonder on September 12, 2001, the day after the World Trade Center attack. She writes in the foreword that working on the book was a way to "take heart," survive and be useful to others after that tragic day. She shares her usual keen perceptions while finding wonder and hope in the intimate details of living life on earth. For more about Small Wonder, click here.

Julie Zickefoose is known to many folks as the commentator who brings an Appalachian perspective to All Things Considered on National Public Radio. She is also a widely published natural history writer and highly accomplished illustrator. She studied biology and art at Harvard, later working for a number of years as a field biologist for the Nature Conservancy. She and husband Bill Thompson, III, who is editor of Bird Watcher's Digest, live on an 80 acre wildlife sanctuary in southeast Ohio. See her visually stunning website here.

The essays in Letters From Eden: A Year At Home, In the Woods are just that--deeply felt experiences in nature, accompanied by gorgeous illustrations, that move us through the year alongside the author as she walks and watches in her own personal natural paradise. To read an excerpt from Letters click here. Zickafoose also writes an even more personal, and often humorous, nature-oriented blog (click here) that includes photos of herself, kids and pets.

We should have a lively meeting in September with these two vibrant and thought-provoking authors in [virtual] attendance! Date for September meeting to be confirmed soon for either the 11th or the 18th. Watch this spot or email for details.