Kimberly Elkins was a finalist for the National Magazine Award and has published fiction and nonfiction in the Atlantic, Best New American Voices, Iowa Review, Chicago Tribune, Glamour, and Village Voice, among others.
She has a B.A. from Duke University, an M.A. in Creative Writing from Florida State, and an MFA in Fiction from Boston University. Elkins grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, and currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
What Is Visible is her first novel.
From Elkins's Q & A with Caroline Leavitt:
I always want to know what sparked a particular book and why it haunts the author. Why Laura Bridgman? How did the subject matter personally speak to you?Visit Kimberly Elkins's website.
I first read about Laura Bridgman in the New Yorker in 2001, and was astounded that I’d never heard of her. The mid-nineteenth century’s second most famous woman and Helen Keller’s predecessor, and yet she’d seemingly vanished from history! But it was the photograph of Laura that really got me: an ethereal, almost emaciated, and yet somehow fierce-looking young woman with a ribboned shade tied round her eyes, balancing an enormous, raised-letter book on her lap. She sat absolutely erect with a stubborn dignity and vulnerability that both opened and broke my heart, posing for a photographer she couldn’t see, for a photograph she’d never see, and with a face and body that she’d never know except through touch. That very night, I stayed up until dawn writing a story about her that would appear shortly thereafter in The Atlantic. That’s how quickly and completely I got into her head and heart, and she in mine.
And yet for many years, even while writing the novel, I had no plausible idea why I had been so irrevocably drawn to this woman who’d lost four of her five senses--what could I possibly have in common with her, and how could I possibly know her voice so well? Finally, it hit me, just shy of the book’s publication, that I had immediately and subconsciously identified with her sense of profound isolation, her inability to communicate her deepest thoughts and desires to anyone she thought would truly understand her. These feelings I knew from a lifetime of battling severe depression, and though our disabilities were far from the same, it was a terrible bridge that we shared across the centuries. Four years ago, I finally found...[read on]
My Book, The Movie: What Is Visible.
The Page 69 Test: What Is Visible.
Writers Read: Kimberly Elkins.