Marianne Wiggins, born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1947, is the author of ten works of fiction and has been nominated for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
Wiggins’s father was a farmer and a preacher in a church that her grandfather started. She is mostly self-educated, having not attended college. When she was seventeen, she married and gave birth to her only child, a daughter named Lara, who is now a professional photographer. Wiggins might have influenced her daughter in a choice of career because Wiggins lists photography as one of her favorite hobbies; this also happens to be a major theme in her novel The Shadow Catcher.
Wiggins traveled for several years, living in Brussels, Paris, and Rome for short periods of time. Then she moved to England, where she lived for sixteen years. While there, in 1988, Wiggins married again—this time to a fellow writer, the prize-winning author Salman Rushdie. Shortly after they were married, Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses was published and the couple had to go into hiding because of death threats against Rushdie. They lived underground, moving several times and assuming false identities. The couple divorced five years later.
Wiggins wrote her first novel, Babe (1975), when she was twenty-eight years old. The story is about a woman who raises her daughter as a single mom. Wiggins wrote four novels in the 1980s, with her 1989 novel John Dollar winning the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for best novel written by a woman. But it was in 2003 that Wiggins received the most critical attention. Her novel Evidence of Things Unseen was placed on the finalist list for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize, and it was also nominated for the 2003 National Book Award.