Marianne Wiggins

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Marianne Wiggins
Born September 8, 1947
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States
Occupation Author

Marianne Wiggins (born September 8, 1947) is an American author. She is noted for the unusual characters and storylines in her novels.[1] She has won the Whiting Writers' Award, an NEA award and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize.[2]


Wiggins was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her family was of Greek and Scots ancestry.[citation needed] Her father, a farmer, preached in a conservative Christian church founded by her grandfather. She married at 17, just after graduating from Manheim Township High School and promptly gave birth to a daughter, Lara, whom she raised in Martha's Vineyard. Lara is now a professional photographer in Los Angeles.

Wiggins lived in London for 16 years and for brief stints in Paris, Brussels and Rome.

She and Salman Rushdie wed in January 1988. On February 14, 1989, a journalist called Rushdie at their London home and informed him he had just been sentenced to death by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini for blasphemy in his book The Satanic Verses, published the year before.[3] As a result, Wiggins went into protective hiding in Great Britain, along with Rushdie.[4] In 1993, the two divorced.

“I have lived a really interesting life,” she told Pamela J. Johnson in July 2006. “I haven’t lived it so I can excavate material for my writing.” She added, “I’m a novelist. I don’t have those muscles. It’s not about me. It’s about what I’ve imagined. It’s the universal voice that I want to move forward. That’s my natural voice.”[5]

She currently lives in Los Angeles, California, where she has been in the English department of the University of Southern California since fall, 2005.[5]

Wiggins won a Whiting Writer's Award[6] in 1989. Ten authors annually win this award, currently $40,000, not for a specific work, but for exceptional talent and promise. She was a National Book Award Finalist in 2003 for Evidence of Things Unseen.[2]



  • Babe, 1975; the story of a single mother.
  • Went South, 1980.
  • Separate Checks, 1984; a short-story writer recovers from a nervous breakdown.
After this book was published, Wiggins was able to support herself and her daughter from her novels.
  • Herself in Love, 1987.
  • John Dollar, 1989; eight girls, marooned on an island.
Won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for best novel written by an American woman.
  • Eveless Eden, 1995; the romance between a war correspondent and photographer.
Story suggested by then-husband Salman Rushdie.
Shortlisted for 1996 Orange Prize.
  • Almost Heaven, 1998.
  • Evidence of Things Unseen, 2003; the dawn of the atomic age is seen through the eyes of Fos, an amateur chemist in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and Opal, a glassblower's daughter.
Nominated for 2003 National Book Award.
Gold medal for 2004 Commonwealth Club Prize (Fiction).
Finalist for 2004 Pulitzer Prize.
  • The Shadow Catcher, 2007; a dual narrative threading early life of photographer Edward Curtis and current life of "Marianne Wiggins."


  • Bet They'll Miss Us when We're Gone, 1991.


  1. ^ Barnes and Noble Writers
  2. ^ a b National Book Award page
  3. ^ Rushdie, Salman. "The Disappeared". The New Yorker. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Caryn James, "Marianne Wiggins And Life on the Run," New York Times, April 9, 1991
  5. ^ a b "Painting Words on a Canvas," USC Interview July 2006
  6. ^ Whiting Award

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