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NYS Writers Institute, April 19, 2001
4:00 p.m. Seminar | Humanities 354
7:00 p.m. Reading |
Campus Center 375

Opal Palmer Adisa is a Jamaica-born novelist, poet, essayist, children's book author, visual artist, story-teller and teacher. Though she has lived in the United States since age 16, Adisa's work is rooted in Caribbean landscapes. Her language is redolent of Jamaica--the rhythms, expressions, and earthy poetry of the Jamaican people. Even the titles of her books are scented and flavored with tropical fruits: Tamarind and the Mango Women (1992), Bake-Face and Other Guava Stories (1986), and Pina, The Many-Eyed Fruit (1985).

It Begins with Tears (1997, Heinemann Educational Publishers, ISBN 0-435-98946-4) Adisa's first novel, appeared in 1997. The novel's action unfolds on two planes: a mythical world of gods, devils and duppies (ghosts); and a human world centered on the village of Kristoff, Jamaica. Though Adisa's characters often squabble and fight, they always repair their relationships, and reaffirm the importance of community in the African diaspora.

Her poetry, stories and articles have been anthologized widely, and she is also the author of Traveling Women (1989), Leaf-Of-Life (2000, Jukebox Press, ISBN 0932693075) and a forthcoming novel, No Regrets.

It Begins with TearsOpal Palmer Adisa has received numerous awards for her work, including a 1987 Pushcart Prize for the short story, "Duppy Get Her"; a California Legislative Certificate and the Distinguished Bay Area Woman Writer Award for her cumulative work through 1991; and the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award for Tamarind and Mango Women in 1992. She was also named a "Distinguished Writer" by the Middle Atlantic Writers Association in 1998. She is the co-founder of Watoto Wa Kuumba, a children's theatre group that she directed from 1979-1991. Since 1993, Opal Palmer Adisa has taught literature and served as Chair of the Ethnic Studies/Cultural Diversity Program at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

". . .a vibrant slice of Jamaican life shaped by old legends and timeless passions." - Kirkus Reviews

"Adisa's beautiful first novel will bring tears to your eyes and joy to your heart. . .a remarkable book." - Americas Magazine

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.