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Marilynne Robinson
Marilynne Robinson, a faculty member in the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, sits in her home after winning the Pulitzer prize for fiction April 4, 2005, in Iowa City, Iowa. Robinson was honored for GILEAD, a novel about the experiences and thoughts of a small-town Iowa minister.

AP/Brian Ray
Marilynne Robinson was born in 1947 in Sandpoint, Idaho. After attending high school in Sandpoint she went to Brown University, graduating in 1966; she then enrolled in the graduate program in English at the University of Washington, where she started writing her first novel, HOUSEKEEPING (1981), which tells the story of two girls growing up in rural Idaho in the mid-1900s and is regarded by many as an American classic; it received the PEN/Hemingway award for best first novel and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

After the publication of HOUSEKEEPING, Robinson began writing essays and book reviews for HARPERÕS, PARIS REVIEW, and THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW. She also served as writer-in-residence and visiting professor at numerous colleges and universities, including the University of Kent in England, Amherst College, and the University of Massachusetts.

Her second book, MOTHER COUNTRY: BRITAIN, THE WELFARE STATE AND NUCLEAR POLLUTION (1988), revealed the extensive environmental damage caused by the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield, in the north of England; the book evolved from an essay that she wrote for HARPER'S REVIEW and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

A decade later, Robinson published a collection of essays entitled THE DEATH OF ADAM: ESSAYS ON MODERN THOUGHT. GILEAD, her second novel, was published in November 2004.

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