Barbara Kingsolver says that she’s “drawn to characters who don’t feel they have a place at the table. They’ve heard too many conversations that begin: You poor backward soul, living in the middle of nowhere.” It’s that impulse that animates her 2022 episodic novel “Demon Copperhead,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year. It’s the story of Demon, an orphan in Appalachia who’s beset by crushing poverty and neglect but whose hardships are structural, introduced to his community by the mining and pain pill industries and made worse by urban prejudice and disdain. We talk to Kingsolver about how she brought “Demon Copperhead” to life and the power of art – both her protagonist’s and her own – to give voice and change minds.
Barbara Kingsolver on Her Great Appalachian Novel, ‘Demon Copperhead’
We talk to Kingsolver about how she brought “Demon Copperhead” to life and the power of art – both her protagonist’s and her own – to give voice and change minds. (Photos courtesy of Barbara Kingsolver)
Barbara Kingsolver, author, "Demon Copperhead," which won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Her other books include "Unsheltered," "The Poisonwood Bible," and "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle."