The writer who can raise the dead

Barbara Kingsolver’s Pulitzer Prize is probably one of the least interesting things about her. The novelist, who won the 2023 award for fiction, is a trained biologist, an environmental activist, and a spokesperson of sorts for the region of Appalachia, which she sees as maligned by opportunistic authors like J. D. Vance. Oh, and she says she met the ghost of Charles Dickens.

Dickens Has Entered the Chat

This story could be a novel itself: when she was traveling in England promoting another book, Kingsolver stayed in a bed and breakfast where Dickens had written most of David Copperfield. Up late in Dickens’ former study one night, Kingsolver pondered the problem of how to write about the opioid crisis. That’s when the ghost of Dickens offered his opinion: her narrator should be a child. Her protagonist became Damon Fields, nickname Demon Copperhead. 

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