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Caryl Phillips

Biography

Kittitian Authors & Artists

Date of Birth (DOB): 3/13/58
From: Saint Kitts and Nevis
Best Known for: Author / Educator / Playright

Bio: Phillips was born in St. Kitts, West Indies on March 13 1958, his parents left for Leeds England when he was 4. He attending King's Norton Boys School, set his sights on Oxford. His headmaster was not as hopeful of his prospects and said that if Phillips worked hard he might be able to go to college, but he was better off getting a job. Phillips responded, "I am going to Oxford." The headmaster's reply was that nobody in the school's 85-year history had ever been accepted to Oxford. His English teacher offered to work with him to achieve his goal. Phillips became the first student from his school to attend Oxford.

At Oxford, Phillips first studied to be a theatre director and after only three years, he graduated with honors in 1979, with a degree in English literature and language. Upon leaving Oxford, Phillips gave himself a year to write. He wrote a play, which was bought by the BBC and was also later turned into a theater play that became a big success. With his first paycheck, Phillips bought two tickets to his birthplace for his mother and himself.

He eventually entered academia, teaching at the University of Stockholm, the National Institute of Teaching in Singapore, Amherst College and in 1998 joining Barnard College as Professor of English and Henry R. Luce Professor of Migration and Social Order.

Phillips has written numerous scripts for film, theatre, radio, and television. He is the author of several novels including; The Final Passage, A State of Independence, Higher Ground, Cambridge, The Nature of Blood, and one previous book of non-fiction, The European Tribe. The New York Times Book Review said that Phillips has taken "a firm step toward joining the company of the literary giants of our time." Phillips was short-listed for the 1993 Booker Prize and his awards include the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize among others.

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