Sue Monk Kidd

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Sue Monk Kidd
Born (1948-08-12) August 12, 1948 (age 67)
Sylvester, Georgia
Occupation Novelist, memoirist, feminist
Nationality United States
Period 1988–present

Sue Monk Kidd (born August 12, 1948) is a writer from the Southern United States, best known for her novel, The Secret Life of Bees.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Kidd was born in Sylvester, Georgia and attended local schools. She graduated from Texas Christian University with a B.S. in nursing in 1970. She worked throughout her life as a Registered Nurse and college nursing instructor at the Medical College of Georgia.[3]

She was influenced in her 20s by the writings of Thomas Merton to explore her inner life.[4] In her 30s, she took writing courses at Emory University and Anderson College in South Carolina, now Anderson University, as well as studying at Sewanee, Bread Loaf, and other writers' conferences.[5]


She got her start in writing when a personal essay she wrote for a writing class was published in Guideposts and reprinted in Reader's Digest. She went on to become a Contributing Editor at Guideposts.

Her first three books were spiritual memoirs describing her experiences in contemplative Christianity, the last telling the story of her journey from evangelical Christianity to feminist theology. God’s Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved (Harper SanFrancisco, 1988) is focused on abandoning a hopeless quest for perfection and accepting one is loved as one is. When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions (Harper SanFrancisco, 1990) tells of her painful midlife crisis. Finally, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine (Harper SanFrancisco, 1996), discussed her abandonment of fundamentalism and her encounter with women's spirituality.

Her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees (2002), is set during the American civil rights movement of 1964,[6] telling the story of a white girl who runs away from home to live with her deceased mother's former black nanny, who now works as an independent bee-keeper and honey-maker with many of her sisters. It has been adapted as a play in New York by The American Place Theater. It was also adapted as a movie of the same name by Fox Searchlight, starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo.

Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair (2005), won the 2005 Quill Award for General Fiction. The story concerns a woman who upon coming home to an island off the coast of South Carolina becomes attracted to a Benedictine monk who is just a few months short of taking his final vows. The title refers to a chair in his monastery carved with mermaids dedicated to a female saint said to be a mermaid before her conversion and who is patroness of the island. It was adapted as a 2006 Lifetime movie of the same name.[4]

In 2006, Firstlight, a collection of Kidd's early writings, was published in hardcover by Guideposts Books; it was published in paperback by Penguin in 2007.

Her recent novel, The Invention of Wings (2014), is set during the antebellum years and based on the life of Sarah Grimké, a 19th-century abolitionist and women's rights pioneer.[6][7] The novel debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list and was later selected for Oprah's Book Club 2.0. In April, Kidd appeared in an interview with Oprah on OWN's Super Soul Sunday episode.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Kidd is married to Sanford “Sandy” Kidd, and the couple have two children, Bob and Ann. She has lived in Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, before Florida, her current residence.[3][4]

Involvement with Sophia Institute[edit]

Kidd's 1996 book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter was a significant source of inspiration to the founder of South Carolina's Sophia Institute, Carolyn Rivers. Since its inception in 2008, Kidd has led workshops there, and is currently a member of the faculty.[9]


  • This is the Day, 1987
  • God's Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved, 1988
  • All Things Are Possible, 1988
  • When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions, 1990
  • Love's Hidden Blessings: God Can Touch Your Life When You Least Expect It, 1990
  • The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine, 1996
  • The Secret Life of Bees , 2002
  • The Mermaid Chair, 2005
  • Firstlight: The Early Inspirational Writings of Sue Monk Kidd, 2006
  • Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Journey to the Sacred Places of Greece, Turkey and France (with Ann Kidd Taylor). Viking, 2009
  • Moonlight on Lineoleum: A Daughter's Memoir (with Terry Helwig), 2011
  • The Invention of Wings, 2014


  1. ^ "Sue Monk Kidd". Penguin Group USA. Retrieved 19 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Kidd, Sue Monk". WorldCat Identities. Retrieved 19 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Sue Monk Kidd Profile". University of South Carolina. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  4. ^ a b c Leejan, Felicia R. (January 6, 2014). "Giving Voice, and Finding Her Own: Sue Monk Kidd Tackles Race in ‘The Invention of Wings’". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  5. ^ "About the Author". Sue Monk Kidd. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  6. ^ a b Sethi, Anita (5 January 2014). "The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – review". The Observer. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  7. ^ Bernejan, Suzanne (January 24, 2014). "SUNDAY BOOK REVIEW: Taking Flight: ‘The Invention of Wings,’ by Sue Monk Kidd". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  8. ^ "Oprah Talks with Sue Monk Kidd About The Invention of Wings". Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  9. ^ Letter from Sue Monk Kidd to Sophia Institute

External links[edit]