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Tiphanie Yanique, photo by Debbie GrossmanTiphanie

Fiction Writer

Jacinda Townsend, photo by Hebbah VidaliJacinda Townsend
Fiction Writer


NYS Writers Institute, October 16, 2014

4:15 p.m. Seminar | Campus Center Room375, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

Two first-time novelists will read from and discuss their work — Jacinda Townsend, author of Saint Monkey (2014), and Tiphanie Yanique, author of Land of Love and Drowning (2014) — on Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. in the Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., the writers will present an informal seminar in Campus Center 375 on the uptown campus. The events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.


Tiphanie Yanique
and Jacinda Townsend have written acclaimed first novels about Black historical experiences.

Yanique is the author of a first novel, Land of Love and Drowning (2014), a family saga set in the Virgin Islands. Spanning sixty years from 1916 to the 1970s, the novel follows the trials and tribulations of three generations of the Bradshaw family as they experience love and death, wealth and ruin, hurricanes, racism, and a rapacious tourist industry. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly said, “Yanique offers an affecting narrative… that pulses with life, vitality, and a haunting evocation of place.” The NPR reviewer said, “Yanique has written the best kind of summer read—lurid, yet layered and literary.” Writing in advance praise, Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat said, “Tiphanie Yanique’s tremendous talents and incredible storytelling will astound you and leave you breathless.”

Born and raised on St. Thomas, Yanique is the author of the story collection, How to Escape from a Leper Colony (2010), winner of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and the children’s book, I Am the Virgin Islands (2012), commissioned as a gift to the children of the Virgin Islands by Cecile de Jongh, the First Lady of that U. S. territory. Yanique’s numerous honors include a Fulbright scholarship, the Academy of American Poets Prize, and being named to the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” in 2011.

Jacinda Townsend is the author of a first novel, Saint Monkey (2014), the tale of two best friends — ambitious African American girls — raised in hardship in rural Kentucky. While Audrey escapes to pursue the challenges of a musical career in “Jazz Age” Harlem, Caroline remains trapped in the daily struggles of small town life. In a starred Booklist review, Donna Seamon said, “This is a breathtakingly insightful, suspenseful, and gorgeously realized novel of cruelty and sorrow, anger and forgiveness, improvisation and survival, and the transcendent beauty of nature and art.” Writing in the New York Times, Carmela Ciuraru said, “What’s impressive about this first novel — apart from the startling music of its language — is Ms. Townsend’s willingness to steep her characters in heartache without relief.” Library Journal said, “Townsend’s descriptive prose, dense with imagery, portrays life in the Jim Crow South and Harlem’s heyday with startling immediacy. This author is one to watch.”

Raised in rural Kentucky, Townsend is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former Fulbright fellow in Côte d’Ivoire. She is currently at work on a second novel Souria, set partially in Morocco about the emotionally complicated world of international adoption.

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