Barbara Kingsolver grew up in rural Kentucky in a family that encouraged reading and nature study, but strongly discouraged TV-watching. She studied biology at DePauw University, then spent a few years working in Europe. Curious about the American Southwest, she came home to settle in Tucson, where she eventually pursued graduate studies in ecology at the University of Arizona. After graduate school she worked as a scientific writer and a freelance journalist and, eventually, became a full-time writer. Her first novel, THE BEAN TREES, was published in 1988 to much critical acclaim, and won awards from the American Library Association, PEN, and the American Booksellers Association, among others. In addition to fiction, Kingsolver has written articles on social and environmental topics.