nys writers logo

Jamaica Kincaid


Air Date:
WMHT, Channel 17, Saturday, May 29, 1999, 6:00 p.m.

Air Date: WMHQ, Channel 45, Wednesday, June 2, 1999, 9:30 p.m

Jamaica Kincaid's most recent work is the novel The Autobiography of My Mother, which was released in January 1996. Her first three books--At the Bottom of the River (1984), Annie John (1985), and A Small Place (1988)--focus on life in her birthplace, Antigua, West Indies. In these books, Kincaid employs a highly poetic literary style celebrated for its rhythms, imagery, and characterization.

With the publication of At the Bottom of the River, Kincaid was hailed as an important new voice in American fiction. Milton wrote in the New York Times Book Review, that Kincaid's tales "have all the force of illuminating, and even prophetic power," and David Leavitt noted in the Village Voice that her stories move "with grace and ease from the mundane to the enormous."

Henry Louis Gates Jr., a distinguished critic and black studies scholar compared Kincaid's work to that of Toni Morrison and Wole Soyinka: "There is a self-contained world which they explore with great detail. Not to chart the existence of the world, but to show that human emotions manifest themselves everywhere."

Kincaid has received numerous awards and honors, including the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters for At the Bottom of the River, and a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund writer's award. Her new book, a memoir, My Brother, will appear next year.

Jamaica Kincaid was a visiting guest at the New York State Writers Institute on February 15, 1996 and read at the New York State Summer Writers Institute, Skidmore College, on July 21, 1997.

kincaid2.gif 5.4 K kincaid3.gif 16.8 Kkincaid4.gif 5.3 Kkincaid5.gif 12.4 Kkincaid7.gif 8.0 K

". . .we are rewarded with that most sublime of pleasures, an ambitious, profound and courageous work by an author at the top of her form... Kincaid has created something wonderful and shed a great deal of light indeed. "
- Margaria Fichtner on The Autobiography of My Mother

"Kincaid employs a highly poetic literary style, one celebrated for its rhythms and imagery, and shows herself a master of characterization and elliptic narration."
- Contemporary Authors

"Kincaid's imagery is so neo-bright that the traditional story of a young girl’s passage into adolescence takes on a shimmering strangeness, the familia routlines continually forming surprising patterns."
- Elaine Kendall, Los Angeles Times on Annie John

"Kincaid's particular skill lies in her ability to articulate the internal workings of a potent imagination without sacrificing the rich details of the external world on which that imagination thrives."
- David Leavitt, Village Voice on At the Bottom of the River

William Kennedy with Jamaica Kincaid

Previous Articles:
Albany Times Union Articles (2)
Writers Online Magazine Article
Introduction at the NYS Summer Institute

Hear Jamaica Kincaid talk about her writing

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at