Photo by MDCarchives, courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Born into poverty in 1949 on the island of Antigua and Barbuda in Saint John’s, a city with no electricity or running water, award-winning author Jamaica Kincaid immigrated to the U.S. when she was 17 to work as a nanny and au pair in New York. She furthered her education, first through night classes at a community college, and later through a full scholarship at Franconia College, in New Hampshire. Returning to New York, she began to write for magazines, becoming a regular contributor to The New Yorker, and eventually began to experiment with fiction, writing highly personal stories inspired by memories of her island home of Saint John’s. She has since written many acclaimed short story collections and novels, including At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, and See Now Then. Her numerous awards and honors include the 1985 Guggenheim Award for Fiction and the 1999 Lannan Literary Award for Fiction.