Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say.

Barbara Kingsolver

Novelist and poet Barbara Kingsolver has published 16 books over the course of her career, but the last months of the 20th century marked a turning point. Not only did she publish “The Poisonwood Bible” in 1998, a novel that sold more than 4 million copies, but the following year she founded what’s now called the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, North America’s largest monetary award for an unpublished work of fiction. In a 2015 interview, Kingsolver emphasized her passion for helping individuals find their voices. Through listening and processing what’s going on around us — and in other communities — we'll encounter and come up with new ideas, allowing us to advance the conversation.