Marilynne Robinson Biography
Robinson was born on November 26, 1943* in Sandpoint, Idaho. After attending high school
in Sandpoint she went to Brown University, graduating in 1966; she then enrolled
in the graduate program in English at the University of Washington, where she
started writing her first novel, Housekeeping (1981), which tells the story of two girls growing up in rural Idaho in the mid-1900s and is
regarded by many as an American classic; it received the PEN/Hemingway award for
best first novel and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
After the publication of Housekeeping, Robinson began writing essays and
book reviews for Harpers, Paris Review, and The New York Times Book
Review. She also served as writer-in-residence and visiting professor at
numerous colleges and universities, including the University of Kent in England,
Amherst College, and the University of Massachusetts.
Her second book, Mother Country: Britain, The Welfare State and Nuclear Pollution (1988),
revealed the extensive environmental damage caused by the nuclear reprocessing
plant at Sellafield, in the north of England; the book evolved from an essay that
she wrote for Harper's Review and was a
finalist for the National Book Award.
A decade later,
Robinson published a collection of essays entitled The Death of Adam: Essays
on Modern Thought.
her second novel, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the US in
November 2004, it is also available in the UK and Canada.
*Some online sources state that Marilynne was born in 1947 - we checked with her publisher who confirms that 1943 is correct.
This biography was last updated on 11/12/2009.
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