An American novelist and essayist, she is known for such works as Housekeeping, Gilead, and Home (all published between 1980 and 2008). She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005.
She studied at Pembroke College, Brown University, and the University of Washington.
She received the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
She was born Marilynne Summers in Sandpoint, Idaho. She was raised in a Presbyterian family, and she later joined the Congregationalist church.
She received the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, an honor named after Ernest Hemingway.