Kim Barnes, born in Lewiston in 1958, currently resides in Moscow. She grew up in lumber camps near Pierce, Idaho, and earned her B.A. in English at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston. She then received an M.A. in English at Washington State University and, ten years later, an M.F.A. at the University of Montana.
Barnes' memoir, In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country, was a finalist in 1997 for the Pulitzer Prize in biography/autobiography and received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association award that year.
Her sequel, Hungry for the World, was published in 2001 by Villard/Random House, and Putnam published her novel, Finding Caruso, in 2003.
Barnes teaches at the University of Idaho as an associate professor of English in the M.F.A program.
Below is an excerpt of her writing from The Clearwater.
Each hour I spend with my feet near water, I feel more deeply rooted; the farther I get away, the less sure I am of my place in the world. For each of us, there must be this one thing, and for me it is the river. Not just the river, but the composition that begins as the North Fork of the Clearwater and flows into the Main. I have known this river from its feeding waters to its mouth where it meets and becomes one with the Snake. I have known it before the dams, and after. I have known it as a child knows water, have known it as a lover knows water, and now as a mother knows and recognizes water as she watches her own children who are bent at the waist, leaning forward to bring up the sandy shells they call angel wings.