Distinguished Novelist, Essayist and Playwright on Campus
Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence Caryl Phillips will visit classes and appear at two public events the week of Oct 14.
The public is invited to hear him speak Oct. 16, when the School of Theatre and Dance presents “An Evening with Caryl Phillips,” including a staged reading of scenes from his play, The Shelter, directed by Theatre Professor Fanni Green (TAR 120, 6:30 p.m.).
The following day, Oct. 17, he will offer another public talk, “The Burdensome Expectations of the Colonial Migrant,” in which, through the lens of his own and others’ literary writing, he explores the special tensions and difficulties of being a colonial migrant arriving in the “mother country.” This will be in CWY 206 (Military Science Building) at 6 p.m., followed by a reception and book signing. Both events are free of charge.
A true global citizen, Phillips was born on the West Indian Island of St. Kitts, raised in London, now divides his time between Chapel Hill, NC and Manhattan in New York City, and commutes to his current teaching post at Yale University, in New Haven, CT, He has taught at universities in Ghana, Sweden, Singapore, Barbados, India and the UK and previously served as the Henry R. Luce Professor of Migration and Social Order at Columbia University. Phillips is a graduate of The Queen's College, Oxford University, where he also holds the distinction of being an Honorary Fellow.
At Yale, Phillips teaches courses on contemporary literature, fiction writing with a focus on colonial and post-colonial British and Caribbean themes and he teaches creative writing. While in residence here at USF, he will visit several undergraduate and graduate classes in the Departments of English and Africana Studies as well as the Theatre program, following in the footsteps of the first two scholars-in-residence, Princeton Professor Nell Painter and Harvard Professor Jorie Graham.
Known as one of the leading Black Atlantic Writers, Phillips’ writing takes cues from his journeys between the Caribbean, Europe and the United States, a triangular route that takes in part of the Atlantic slave trade.
A regular contributor to The Guardian and The New Republic, Phillips’ his latest book, Colour Me English - Selected Essays, was published in July 2011 which is among his best known novels including In the Falling Snow (2009), Cambridge (1991) and Crossing the River (1993). So far, he has published nine novels, five collections of essays, and four stage plays, as well as many radio plays, and has written screenplays for two films.
Phillips began his career writing for the theatre. His plays include Strange Fruit (1980), Where There is Darkness (1982) and The Shelter (1983). He won the BBC Giles Cooper Award for Best Radio Play of the year with The Wasted Years (1984). He has written many dramas and documentaries for radio and television, including, in 1996, the three-hour film of his own novel The Final Passage. He wrote the screenplay for the film Playing Away (1986) and his screenplay for the Merchant Ivory adaptation of V.S.Naipaul's The Mystic Masseur (2001) won the Silver Ombu for best screenplay at the Mar Del Plata film festival in Argentina.
His full list of awards and honors is an impressive one. It includes the 1987 Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (Britain’s oldest literary award), and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2000 and of the Royal Society of Arts in 2011. Most recently, he was the 2013 Arts winner of the Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence (ANSCAFE), regarded as the English-speaking Caribbean's leading recognition program.
Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563