Sculptor, painter, novelist, and poet Barbara Chase-Riboud has explored and illuminated the secrets of African-American history with her acclaimed, controversial novels, including Sally Hemings and The President's Daughter. With Hottentot Venus, she turns her attention to the true story of Sarah Baartman, a South African herdswoman shown off as a “scientific curiosity” in the capitals of 19th-century Europe.
Barbara Chase-Riboud is a Carl Sandburg Prize–winning poet and the prizewinning author of four acclaimed, widely translated historical novels, the bestselling Sally Hemings, Valide: A Novel of a Harem, Echo of Lions (about the Amistad mutiny), and The President's Daughter, a prequel to ,Sally Hemings. She is a winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and received a knighthood in arts and letters from the French government in 1996. Chase-Riboud is also a renowned sculptor whose award-winning monuments grace Lower Manhattan. She is the rare living artist honored with a personal exhibition, "The Monument Drawings," in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Born and raised in Philadelphia of Canadian American descent, she was educated at Yale University and is the recipient of numerous fellowships and honorary degrees. She divides her time between Paris, Rome, and the United States.
Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.
Good To Know
Barbara Chase-Riboud v. DreamWorks Inc.: Chase-Riboud filed suit against DreamWorks SKG in 1988, claiming that "but for [her novel] Echo of Lions, there would be no Amistad movie." The lawsuit alleged copyright infringement, breach of implied contract and unfair competition, and sought $10 million in damages.
However, the judge ruled that while Chase-Riboud's case posed valid arguments for a civil trial, its success wasn't certain enough to justify holding a $75 million film from release. The suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum reported in the press as in excess of one million dollars on the eve of the Oscar nominations.
However, Chase-Ribound successfully proved that the play Dusky Sally by Granville Burgess infringed the copyrights to her historical novel Sally Hemings. The Sally Hemmings suit was won in court and resulted in a landmark copyright law protecting historical fiction and writers of historical fiction.