Writer, novelist, and professor Jamaica Kincaid skillfully and elegantly tempers the boundary between poetry and prose. Through her books and novels including Annie John, Lucy, At the Bottom of the River and A Small Place, she has carved out a unique and cherished place in the American literary landscape.
Known for her candid and emotionally honest writing, Kincaid’s work attracted the attention of The New Yorker, where she became a staff writer and featured columnist for nine years. Her short stories also appeared in The Paris Review. Fans of Kincaid recognize her distinctive, melodic style with appeal across generations and ethnic boundaries.
Kincaid’s literary “voice” is deeply rooted in her experiences as a child in her native Antigua. Growing up under the colonial rule of England instilled in her a tragic, yet often-ignored perspective. Says Kincaid, “I never give up thinking about the way I came into the world, how my ancestors came from Africa to the West Indies as slaves. I just never forget it. It’s like a big wave that’s still pulsing.”
Her first book, At the Bottom of the River, won the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Her award-winning book, A Small Place, inspired the 2001 documentary, Life and Debt, about the impact globalization can have on a developing country. Her 2005 book, Among Flowers: A Walk In The Himalayas chronicles her adventure into the mountains of Nepal with a group of botanists. Kincaid’s new novel, See Now Then, will be published on February 5, 2013.
The Josephine Olp Weeks Chair and Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College, Kincaid was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. Kincaid began her academic career in 1991 at Harvard University holding joint appointments in the English and African-American Studies departments. She has won the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, Prix Femina Étranger, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the Clifton Fadiman Medal.
“Jamaica Kincaid was wonderful...and our students were just delighted to have her here. She got a huge ovation as she went up on stage.”