Tiphanie Yanique is a novelist, poet, and short story writer originally from the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is author of the poetry collection, Wife, which won the 2016 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature in poetry and the United Kingdom’s 2016 Forward/Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection. Her novel, Land of Love and Drowning, “brings the natural world of the Virgin Islands into high relief, with similes that seem to erupt effortlessly from the lushness of her prose,” writes the New Yorker. The novel was listed by NPR as one of the Best Books of 2014 and has been awarded the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Award from the Center for Fiction, and the Phillis Wheatley Book Award for Pan-African literature. Her collection of stories, How to Escape from a Leper Colony, earned her a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honor in 2010.
She learned from her librarian, poetry-reciting grandmother “how linguistically subversive poems could be,” she says in a conversation with the Forward Arts Foundation. The mix of “West Indian-ized grammar” and “standard” English she absorbed as a child in St. Thomas, USVI, continues to influence her work.
Yanique’s writing appears in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Best African American Fiction. She is a Fulbright Scholar and has been awarded the Pushcart Prize, Academy of American Poets Prize, OCM Bocas Prize in fiction, Boston Review prize in fiction, and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. An associate professor at Wesleyan University, she lives in New Rochelle, New York, with her husband, teacher and photographer Moses Djeli, and their three children.
Land of Love and Drowning (2014)
I Am the Virgin Islands (2012)
How to Escape from a Leper Colony (2010)
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Video: Yanique at the 2014 Library of Congress National Book Festival