Kimberly Elkins


An Interview with Kimberly Elkins, by Celia Johnson

In 2001, Kimberly Elkins picked up a copy of the New Yorker and became engrossed in an article about Laura Bridgman, a woman few people know, despite world-wide renown in the Nineteenth Century. Laura was deaf and blind and had no sense of taste or smell. As a young girl, she amazed others by learning to communicate. She was a true pioneer (before Helen Keller). Elkins first wrote a story about Laura and then, over many years, produced a novel. What Is Visible was recently released and it is a mesmerizing tale. In a review for the New York Times, Barbara Kingsolver observed, “A novel’s extraordinary power is to allow a reader to take possession of the inner life of another. This one provides entree to a nearly unthinkable life, and while no one would want to live there, it’s a fascinating place to visit.” I spoke with Elkins about her fierce protagonist, the challenges of writing historic fiction, and, as a debut novelist, what advice she’d give to her former self.

what is visible
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