V.L. (Ginny) Purvis-Smith grew up on a Colorado farm replete with coal stove, outhouse, milk cows, and aunts who cautioned that, because women were likely to be widows at a young age with children to support, education and a profession might guarantee survival. Ginny earned a PhD in English and Education from the University of Michigan and an MDiv from McCormick Theological Seminary. In her dissertation, she explored the experiences of women preachers entering the profession in the 1980s when the pulpit was an overwhelmingly male-defined rhetorical space. She completed her undergraduate studies in history at Boston University.
Ginny served churches in the Midwest and on the East Coast, worked as a hospital and university chaplain, directed an English language program in Sénégal, West Africa, and taught English composition in Michigan and The Bahamas. Prior to her graduate education, she was a special education teacher and administered employee insurance programs.
Upon her return to Colorado in 2009, she started research for her historical novel, Greenwood Riven. It depicts the racial hostility, political incivility, and economic inequality that shaped relationships between indigenous, Mexican, Japanese/Japanese American, and white communities on Colorado’s High Plains at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Immediately on publication of Greenwood Riven, Ginny began Dr. Allen Maruyama's biography. He is one of the primary sources for Greenwood Riven and experienced acute trauma as a teenager during World War II because many in his community turned on him immediately following the Pearl Harbor attack. He internalized the hatred directed at persons of Japanese ancestry. His biography traces how he overcame his "hatred of everything Japanese," including himself, to become the first Asian American to run for the position of Moderator of the General Assembly, the national expression of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, the PC(USA). The title of the biography is Nisei Resistance and Resilience: A Japanese-American Life (2021, Wipf and Stock Publishers).
Ginny lives with her husband near Denver, and they spend as much time with their daughter’s and son’s families as everyone’s patience allows.
"I have enjoyed Ginny's historical novel twice! I finished the last page and immediately turned to page one and read it again."
- Arno Book Club, April 6, 2018, Centennial, CO
- American Association of University Women, "Hostile Territory," February 15, 2018, Lubbock,
- Tattered Cover Book Store Author Event, August 13, 2017, Denver, CO
- Bookbar, Local Author Happy Hour, August 12, 2017, Denver, CO
- John W. Rawlings Heritage Center, May 27, 2017, Las Animas, CO
- Big Timbers Museum, May 25, 2017, Lamar, CO
- BIG TIMBERS MUSEUM, MAY 25, 2017, LAMAR, CO
- Book Launch, January 30, 2017, Stapleton, CO