Kidd, who was born in Sylvester, Georgia, graduated from Texas Christian University with a B.S. in nursing in 1970 and worked throughout her twenties as a Registered Nurse and college nursing instructor.
She got her start in writing when a personal essay she wrote for a writing class was published in Guideposts and reprinted in Reader's Digest. She went on to become a Contributing Editor at Guideposts.
Her first books, God’s Joyful Surprise (Harper SanFrancisco, 1988) and When the Heart Waits (Harper SanFrancisco, 1990), were spiritual memoirs describing her experiences in contemplative Christianity. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter (Harper SanFrancisco, 1996) introduced themes from feminist theology.
Her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees (Viking, 2002), was written over three and a half years. It has been produced on stage in New York by The American Place Theater and been adapted into a movie by Fox Searchlight, starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo. Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, was published in 2005, and made into a Lifetime movie of the same name.
In 2006, Firstlight, a collection of Kidd's early writings was released in hardcover by Guideposts Books and in paperback by Penguin in 2007. This compilation of inspirational stories, spiritual essays, and meditations has been translated into several languages and has over 200,000 copies in print.
Kidd's new book, Traveling with Pomegranates, co-authored with her daughter Ann, is a mother daughter travel memoir due out in 2009.
Kidd has acknowledged Henry David Thoreau, Kate Chopin, Thomas Merton, Martha Burke, and Carl Jung as influences.
Kidd is currently Writer in Residence at Phoebe Pember House in Charleston, where she lives with her husband, Sanford (Sandy) Kidd, two children, Bob and Ann, and a black lab, Lily.