Marianne Wiggins

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Marianne Wiggins
Born (1947-11-08) November 8, 1947 (age 72)
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States
Notable worksSeparate Checks (1984)
John Dollar (1989)
Evidence of Things Unseen (2003)
Notable awardsWhiting Award
NEA Award
Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize
Salman Rushdie
(m. 1988; div. 1993)

Marianne Wiggins (born September 8, 1947) is an American author. The characters and storylines in her novels have been described as unusual.[1] According to The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English, Wiggins writes with "a bold intelligence and an ear for hidden comedy."[2] She has won a Whiting Award, an National Endowment for the Arts award and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize.[3] She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2004 for her novel Evidence of Things Unseen

Early life[edit]

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 gave birth to a daughter, Lara, whom she raised in Martha's Vineyard. Lara is now a photographer in Los Angeles.[citation needed]


"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."[4]

Personal life[edit]

Wiggins lived in London for 16 years, and for brief periods in Paris, Brussels and Rome. In January 1988, she married novelist Salman Rushdie in London. On February 14, 1989 the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a Fatwa ordering Rushdie's assassination for alleged blasphemy in his book, The Satanic Verses.[5] Although Wiggins had told Rushdie only five days prior that she wished to end their marriage, she nevertheless went into hiding along with him.[6] In 1993, the two divorced.

Wiggins currently lives in Los Angeles, California, where she has been in the English department of the University of Southern California since 2005.[4]

Awards and honors[edit]



  • 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.
  • 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 a 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."


  • Herself in Love and Other Stories, 1987.
    • "Herself in Love," Originally published in Granta 17: While Waiting for a War, August 1985[7]
  • Bet They'll Miss Us When We're Gone, 1991.


  1. ^ Barnes and Noble Writers Archived 2006-08-25 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English,
  3. ^ a b National Book Award page
  4. ^ a b "Painting Words on a Canvas," USC Interview Archived 2006-09-30 at the Wayback Machine July 2006
  5. ^ Rushdie, Salman. "The Disappeared". The New Yorker (September 17, 2012), p. 50. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  6. ^ Caryn James, "Marianne Wiggins And Life on the Run," New York Times, April 9, 1991
  7. ^ "Herself in Love". Granta. 1 September 1985. Retrieved 10 September 2019.

The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English

External links[edit]