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Humanities Institute to host Caryl Phillips

TAMPA, Fla. -- The University of South Florida Humanities Institute welcomes our Fall Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence - novelist, essayist and playwright Caryl Phillips. Often described as one of the premier “Black Atlantic” writers, he will be in residency for the week of Oct. 14.

Professor of English at Yale University, Phillips is a prolific and award-winning writer, much of whose work explores the experiences of peoples of the African diaspora in England, the Caribbean and the United States, raising universal questions of culture and identity.

Born in St. Kitts, he was raised in England, graduating from Oxford University and moving on to make a mark in several literary fields. 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, including the Merchant/Ivory adaptation of V.S. Naipaul's “The Mystic Masseur“ (2001), which won the Silver Ombu for best screenplay at the Mar Del Plata film festival in Argentina. A regular contributor to The Guardian and The New Republic, his most recent essay collection was “Colour Me English“ (2011).

Phillips’s awards include 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.

While in residence, Phillips will visit several undergraduate and graduate classes in English, Africana Studies and Theatre. At 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 16, in TAR 120, 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. At 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, in CWY 206, he will offer a 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.” A reception and book signing will follow.

Both are free and open to the public. Meet Caryl Phillips’ at: For a short video biography, visit:

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Bird; 813-974-0802,
Or: Liz Kicak; 813-974-3657,


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Humanities Institute Events   
Author: Staff Report