Caryl Phillips

Caryl Phillips, photo by Center for Creative Arts
Caryl Phillips, photo by Center for Creative Arts

Caryl Phillips was born in St. Kitts and raised in England. The author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, much of his work focuses on belonging, identity, and the African diaspora. In an essay about Phillips, J.M. Coetzee identified the aim of his fiction as “remembering what the West would like to forget.” Phillips has also written for the stage, television, and film and is a contributor to newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. He is “seen by many as the father of Afro-British fiction,” writes Jeffery Renard Allen for the New York Times.

Phillips’s novel Dancing in the Dark, described as “cerebral, tender, masterful in its scope and vision” by the Miami Herald, won the 2006 PEN Open Book Award. A Distant Shore, which probes the relationship between an African man and English woman in contemporary England, won the 2004 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.

His other awards include the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Prize, a Lannan Literary Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the James Tait Black Prize for fiction for Crossing the River, which was also short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. His latest novel, The Lost Child, was published in 2015.

Phillips is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and holds honorary doctorate degrees from a number of universities. He has taught in Singapore, Ghana, Sweden, and Barbados and is currently professor of English at Yale University.


selected bibliography

The Lost Child (2015)
Color Me English: Reflections on Migration and Belonging (2011)

Conversations with Caryl Phillips (2009)
A Distant Shore (2005)

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