Kaye Gibbons

(Biography as published in Commencement Program, 5/99)

Kaye Gibbons is an internationally acclaimed author, best known for her novels about self-reliant Southern women and the challenges they have faced in their lives. Since 1988 she has been the author-in-residence of the Friends of the Library of North Carolina State University.

A native of Nash County, Gibbons attended NC State University from 1978 to 1980, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she pursued a degree in English from 1980 to 1984.

In 1987, she published her first novel, Ellen Foster, a haunting tale of a young girl’s escape from an abusive home life and her search for a new identity and family. For the book, which was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie production in 1997, Gibbons won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Other critically acclaimed novels by Gibbons are A Virtuous Woman, A Cure for Dreams, Charms for the Easy Life, Sights Unseen and her latest novel, On the Occasion of Her Last Afternoon. In 1997, Ellen Foster and A Virtuous Woman were chosen as selections for the “Oprah Book Club,” and promoted nationally on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

In addition to the Kaufman Prize, Gibbons has received numerous honors for her fiction, including being named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres -- a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters -- in France. She has been awarded the prestigious North Carolina Award in Literature; a Special Citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation; a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship; the Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Award from UNC-CH; and the Nelson Algren Heartland Award for Fiction from the Chicago Tribune.

Her nonfiction essays and stories have appeared in Southern Living, Kenyon Review, The New York Times Supplement and other national publications.

Aside from her work as an author, Gibbons is active in the Raleigh community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Library of NC State and volunteering for the American Red Cross Ball, SPCA Benefit and the Books for Children Project. She lives in Raleigh with her husband and their five children.