Sallie Bingham is a writer, teacher, feminist activist, and a philanthropist. She founded the Kentucky Foundation for Women in 1985 to promote positive social change by supporting varied feminist expression in the arts. In her “Statement of a Vision for the Kentucky Foundation for Women,” Bingham writes: “I believe the shortest—possibly the only—route to any form of social change is through the work of the artist: shapes, colors, sounds, and words may upset prejudices, illumine what we share, and risk effrontery by calling every form of inequality into question.”
Her first book, a novel titled After Such Knowledge, was published in 1960. Since then, she has published short story collections, poetry, novels, and memoir. Her work has been published in many literary magazines and has been widely anthologized. In addition, she has had multiple plays produced in both her native Kentucky and in New York. She has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Bingham was the director of the National Book Critics Circle from 1988-1990. Her most recent book, The Silver Swan: In Search of Doris Duke, a biography, was published in April 2020 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. In August 2020, Louisville’s Sarabande Books will be publishing Treason: A Sallie Bingham Reader which includes a novella, a play, and a selection of Bingham’s stories.
In 1988, Bingham founded the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University which “acquires and preserves published and unpublished materials that reflect the public and private lives of women throughout history.” Their holdings include selections from a large range of topics including: domestic culture, girl culture, history of feminist theory and activism, lay and ordained church women, southern women, women artists, women authors and publishers, women of color, and women’s sexuality and gender expression. Sallie Bingham also designated Duke University to archive all Kentucky Foundation for Women records. KFW forwards all paper and digital files concerning the grant programs to the Rare Book Manuscripts and Special Collections Library at Duke University. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Bingham now calls Santa Fe, New Mexico home.
Visit her website for more information on Sallie Bingham. On that site, she is an active blogger on such topics as philanthropy, writing, women, politics, Kentucky, New Mexico, and more.