Called a "literary miracle" by Entertainment Weekly and included on TIME Magazine's list of "100 most influential people," award-winning author, essayist, and philosopher Marilynne Robinson was awarded a 2012 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama, one of her biggest fans. Her novel Gilead (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004)—set in Iowa about a preacher looking back on his life, his family legacy, and his beliefs—won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. "Robinson has composed a novel as big as a nation, as quiet as thought, and moving as prayer" (Kirkus Reviews, starred). "One feels touched with grace just to read it" (The Washington Post). Writes Mark O'Connell in The New Yorker, "I have read and loved a lot of literature about religion and religious experience—Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Flannery O'Connor, the Bible—but it's only with Robinson that I have actually felt what it must be like to live with a sense of the divine."