Barbara Chase-Riboud, (born Barbara Chase, June 26, 1939) is an internationally acclaimed visual artist, bestselling novelist and award-winning poet.
Established as a sculptor, Chase-Riboud attained international recognition with the publication of her first novel, Sally Hemings (1979). The novel has been described as the "first full blown imagining" of Hemings and her life as a slave, including her rumored relationship with President Thomas Jefferson. In addition to stimulating considerable controversy, as mainline historians continued to deny this relationship, the book earned Chase-Riboud the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best novel written by an American woman. It sold more than one million copies in hardcover and it was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. It was reissued in 1994, and in paperback in 2009, together with her novel, President's Daughter (1994), about Harriet Hemings.
Chase-Riboud has received numerous honors for her literary work, including the Carl Sandburg Prize for poetry and the Women's Caucus for Art's lifetime achievement award. In 1965, she became the first American woman to visit the People's Republic of China after the revolution. In 1996, she was knighted by the French Government and received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
In 1996 Chase-Riboud was among artists commissioned for artwork at the preserved African Burial Ground National Monument, at the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan. Her memorial, Africa Rising, was installed in 1998. From September 2013 to January 2014, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presented Barbara Chase-Riboud: The Malcolm X Steles, a survey of work created between 1969-2008. This traveled to the Berkeley Museum in 12 February - 28 April 2014. Her anthology of poetry from 1974 - 2008 is under press, as well as her collected letters.