My introduction to the work of Barbara Kingsolver was The Poisonwood Bible, which, although recommended to me by many friends, I only picked up because it was $0.50 at the library’s used book sale (religion is not really my thing). I specifically recall gasping in delight at the opening paragraph; I was in love with her words.
Soon after, another friend and I were talking about food and about farming, about an ideal way of eating and living in harmony with the earth, and she mentioned Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I was enthralled. An author I already appreciated for the quality of her fiction, writing about a subject near and dear to my heart? How could I resist? (I couldn’t, and I didn’t, and I wouldn’t even want to.)
In her writing, both fiction and non-fiction, Kingsolver is devoted to larger issues, of equality, of injustice, of politics, of ecology, and of other social ideals. She has devoted not only her writing but her life to exploring social injustices, and encouraging others to do the same, through such means as founding the Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction to “encourage writers, publishers, and readers to consider how fiction engages visions of social change and human justice” and protesting mountain-top removal with Kathy Mattea (another issue close to my own heart, as a West Virginia native).
Kingsolver has been honored with many awards for her writing, and while the quality of her writing is such that I would likely read her work no matter what she wrote, I admire her tenacity in asking the hard questions, and for bringing social issues to the forefront.