Kim Barnes

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Kim Barnes
Born1958 (age 64–65)
Lewiston, Idaho, U.S.
OccupationNovelist, essayist
SpouseRobert Wrigley

Kim Barnes (born 1958 Lewiston, Idaho) is a contemporary American author of fiction, memoir, and personal essays.[1] She served as Poet Laureate of Idaho.


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 small communities and cedar camps in northern IdahoPierce, Headquarters, and a number of places along the North Fork of the Clearwater River. In 1970, her family moved to Lewiston, Idaho, where Barnes graduated from Lewiston High School in 1976.[2]

Barnes received her B.A. in English from Lewis-Clark State College in 1983, her M.A. in English from Washington State University in 1985, and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Montana in 1995. Barnes teaches creative writing at the University of Idaho,[3] and lives with her husband, Robert Wrigley, a poet, in Idaho. They have three children.[4]

Barnes's creative works addresses subjects including the American West, religious fundamentalism, women's issues, logging, and the environment, and reflects her interest in feminist interpretations of mythology and Jungian archetypes.[5] In A Country Called Home, one of her main characters has the condition known as synesthesia and sees color when she hears music.

Her work has appeared widely in anthologies and journals, including The Georgia Review, Shenandoah, MORE Magazine, and the Pushcart Prize anthology.

Barnes will appear on the new Lit Hub/Podglomerate Storybound (podcast), accompanied by an original score from Americana duo Pretty Gritty.[6][7]


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.[8] 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.[9] From 2004 to 2007, she served as Idaho Writer-in-Residence.[10]

Published work[edit]


  • Barnes, Kim (1996). In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country. Doubleday Books, Anchor. ISBN 978-0-385-47821-2.
  • Barnes, Kim (2000). Hungry for the World: A Memoir. Villard. ISBN 978-0-375-50228-6.




  1. ^ "Northwest Schools of Literature: Commentary 14. Kim Barnes, 1958–". Center for the study of the Pacific Northwest. Archived from the original on 1 Jun 2018. Retrieved 20 Jan 2019.
  2. ^ "Writer in residence 2005 - 2008 Kim Barnes". Idaho Commission on the Arts. Archived from the original on 12 Mar 2016.
  3. ^ "Kim Barnes". University of Idaho. Archived from the original on 8 May 2017. Retrieved 20 Jan 2019.
  4. ^ "Kim barnes". Red Room. Archived from the original on 19 Nov 2011.
  5. ^ Cordo, Emily. ""Sleep With Your Rifle": The Power of Writing from Trauma and Myth An Interview with Kim Barnes". Porter House Review. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  6. ^ "The Return Of Radio Theater". Radio Ink. October 22, 2019. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  7. ^ "Introducing the Storybound Podcast". Literary Hub. October 22, 2019. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  8. ^ "Kim Barnes Wins Prestigious PEN USA Award". University of Idaho. Archived from the original on 2 Mar 2012.
  9. ^ "Kim Barnes". Poets & Writers. 28 September 2008. Archived from the original on 11 Oct 2017. Retrieved 20 Jan 2019.
  10. ^ "Loyal to the Land. Idaho's writer-in-residence Kim Barnes". 1 Jun 2005. Archived from the original on 16 Mar 2013. Retrieved 20 Jan 2019.

External links[edit]