Prize-Winning Author Caryl Phillips to Speak at Yale

Celebrated writer Caryl Phillips, whose novels and non-fiction work relate to the long-lasting legacy of the African slave trade, will speak at Yale on February 9 and 10.

A native of the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, brought up in Leeds, England, educated at Oxford and now dividing his time between London and New York, Phillips is a major voice of the African Diaspora. He has written seven novels, one of which, “Crossing the River” won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was short-listed for the 1993 Booker Prize.

Phillips is the editor of two anthologies, has written for television, radio, theater and film and is the author of three works of non-fiction. His non-fiction includes a travel narrative, “The European Tribe”(1987), winner of the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, and “The Atlantic Sound” (2000), an account of his journey to three hubs of the Atlantic slave trade: Liverpool, Elmina on the west coast of Ghana and Charleston, South Carolina. “A New World Order: Selected Essays” was published in 2001. His most recent novel is “A Distant Shore.”

Phillips is also the editor of “Extravagant Strangers” (1997), an ambitious anthology of work by British writers born outside Britain; among them, Ignatius Sancho, Rudyard Kipling, Samuel Selvon and Salman Rushdie. Phillips wrote the film adaptation of V. S. Naipaul’s novel “The Mystic Masseur,” first screened in 2001.

The author has taught at universities in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the United States. He was a professor of English at Amherst College, 1994-98, and since 1998 he has been professor of English and the Henry R. Luce Professor of Migration and Social Order at Barnard College. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2000.

On February 9 at 7 p.m., Phillips will give a reading from his work in Room 208 of the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St. The reading is sponsored by the Schlesinger Visiting Writer Fund. On February 10 at 4 p.m., he will deliver a lecture “England, Half English.” Sponsored by the English department, the lecture takes place in Room 101 of Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High St. Both events are free and open to the public.

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Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345