Essayist, poet to be awarded Thomas Robinson Prize for Southern Literature

Barbara Kingsolver

Mercer University’s Spencer B. King Jr. Center for Southern Studies will award the 2021 Thomas Robinson Prize for Southern Literature to novelist, essayist and poet Barbara Kingsolver.

The prize will be presented April 17 at 1 p.m. in a livestreamed ceremony at

“I’m honored to join some of my great writing heroes as a recipient of this prize and to carry on the tradition of Southern literature, the language of my heart,” said Kingsolver.

Kingsolver was born in 1955 and grew up in rural Kentucky. She earned degrees in biology from DePauw University and the University of Arizona. She has lived in England, France and the Canary Islands and has worked in Europe, Africa, Asia, Mexico and South America. She spent two decades in Tucson, Arizona, before moving to southwestern Virginia where she currently resides.

“Barbara Kingsolver’s works illustrate the complexity and fragility of connections between humans and the environment,” said Dr. David A. Davis, chair of the Robinson Prize Committee and associate professor of English at Mercer. “She finds points of intersection that cross time and space and explores the relationships that extend outward from these points, revealing that isolation is an illusion, even in remote, rural parts of the world.”

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