Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Mermaid Chair

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The Mermaid Chair

A Novel

by Sue Monk Kidd

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2006, 368 pages

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Beyond the Book

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Kidd was born and raised in the tiny town of Sylvester, Georgia. Her writing has been deeply influenced by place, and she mined her experiences of growing up in Sylvester when she wrote she mined her experiences of growing up in Sylvester when she wrote teachers, who described her as a 'born writer', she detoured into nursing ('partly due to a failure of courage and partly due to the cultural climate of the South in 1966') during her twenties.  However, in her thirties (now with a husband and two children) she felt the pull to return to writing and enrolled in a writing class.  One of her personal essays written for class was published in Guideposts Magazine and reprinted in Readers Digest, and thus began her career as a writer of personal experience articles with an inspirational bent, publishing several hundred articles, mainly in Guideposts Magazine.

Her first book was a spiritual memoir published in 1988, followed by a book on feminist theology, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter (1996).  In 1997 she began writing her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, which was published in 2002.  It spent 80 weeks on the NY Times bestseller list, has been published in more than 20 languages and has sold more than 3.5 million copies to date. 

She lives beside a salt marsh near Charleston, South Carolina with her husband Sandy and their black lab, Lily.

This article was originally published in April 2005, and has been updated for the March 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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