Marilynne Robinson, UI Faculty

Prize Work: Gilead Pulitzer Prize: 2005 Fiction

Marilynne Robinson (born 1947) is an American author.

Marilynne Robinson, UI  Faculty

Marilynne Robinson (born 1947) is an American author.

Author Biography - 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 Harper’s, 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 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the US in November 2004, won universal acclaim from critics, as well as the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

She has been writer-in-residence or visiting professor at numerous universities, including the University of KentAmherst, and the University of Massachusetts. She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop.

Learn More About Robinson's Prize Winning Work: Gilead

Gilead : A Novel by Marilynne Robinson

Gilead by Marilynne RobinsonBook Description
Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson's beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows "even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order" (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.

Browse The Book
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
(Taken from

Editorial Reviews
View editorial reviews from Publishers Weekly, The New Yorker, The Washington Post's Book World, and Read the reviews >>

Listen to interviews and readings

To listen, click on the "Listen" button to open the audio files in a new window.

  • From National Public Radio, Fresh Air from WHYY, February 8, 2005.
    (Length 25.29 minutes)

  • From Live From Prairie Lights, Broadcast in 2004 on WSUI AM 910 from the main library on the University of Iowa campus. Robinson, professor at the Iowa Writer's Workshop and author of the revered novel Housekeeping, reads from her new novel Gilead. A deeply felt and immaculately written story of three generations of Iowa ministers.
    (MP3 Audio Stream, Length 58.28 minutes)

Read an interview

Taken from, Meet the Writers, in the fall of 2004. Marilynne Robinson took some time out to answer a few questions about what Iowa has to do with what she writes.
Read or hear the exclusive interview >>

Bibliography - Marilynne Robinson

Gilead (2004)

Puritans and Prigs (1999)

The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought (1998)

Mother Country: Britain, the Welfare State, and Nuclear Pollution (1988)

Housekeeping (1980)

External Links On Marilynne Robinson