|Born||1958 (age 58–59)
Lewiston, Idaho, U.S.A.
She returned with her mother to their logging camp on Orofino Creek in the Clearwater National Forest, where her father worked as a lumberjack. For the next twelve years, she and her family lived in the small communities and cedar camps of northern Idaho—Pierce, Headquarters, and a number of places along the North Fork of the Clearwater River. In 1970, the family moved to Lewiston, Idaho, where Barnes graduated from Lewiston High School in 1976.
Barnes received her BA in English from Lewis-Clark State College in 1983, her MA in English from Washington State University in 1985, and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana in 1995. Barnes teaches creative writing at the University of Idaho, and lives with her husband, Robert Wrigley, a poet, in Idaho. They have three children.
The subject matter of Barnes's creative work includes the American West, religious fundamentalism, women's issues, logging, and the environment. In A Country Called Home, one of her main characters has the condition known as synesthesia and sees color when she hears music.
She is the recipient of two grants from the Idaho Commission on the Arts. In 1995, she was chosen to receive the PEN/Jerard fellowship given to an emerging woman writer of nonfiction. In 1997, she was honored with a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award for In the Wilderness, which was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and the Quality Paperback Book Club's New Visions Award. From 2004-2007, she served as Idaho Writer-in-Residence.
- In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country (Doubleday/Anchor, ISBN 978-0-385-47821-2)
- Hungry for the World (Villard, 2000, ISBN 978-0-375-50228-6
- Finding Caruso, Putnam, 2003, ISBN 978-0-399-14967-2
- A Country Called Home, Alfred A. Knopf, 2008, ISBN 978-0-307-26895-2
- In the Kingdom of Men, Alfred A. Knopf, 2012, ISBN 978-0-307-27339-0
- Kim Barnes, Mary Clearman Blew, eds. (2001). Circle of Women: An Anthology of Contemporary Western Women Writers. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-3367-6.
- Kim Barnes, Claire Davis, (eds) Kiss tomorrow Hello: Notes from the Midlife Underground by Twenty-Five Women Over Forty, Doubleday, 2006