Nicole Dennis-Benn

I believe that writing can change the world. The world will be a better one when we can come to the table without judging each other or dismissing each other based on perceived differences. We are inclined to think that if someone doesn’t look like us or is of another culture and religion, then they’re different from us. At the end of the day, we all desire to be seen, heard, and loved as human beings.
 
 

Lambda literary award

national book critics circle john leonard award finalist

New York Public Library Young Lions Prize Finalist

 
Nicole Dennis-Benn © Jason Berger_300dpi (1).jpg
 

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Here Comes the Sun, like its main character Margot, stuns at every turn, especially when you think you have it figured out. It’s about women pushed to the edge, Jamaica in all its beauty and fury and more than anything else, a story that was just waiting to be told.
— Marlon James
...there’s no character in Dennis-Benn’s novel that’s anything less than complex, multifaceted, and breathtakingly real. That’s part of what makes Here Comes the Sun one of the most stunningly beautiful novels in recent years
— NPR

Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel, Here Comes the Sun (Norton/Liveright, 2016), which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a NPR Best Books of 2016, an Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Entertainment Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2016, a BuzzFeed Best Literary Debuts of 2016, and  received a starred review from Kirkus. It was also named a great summer read and beyond by the New York Times, NPR, BBC, BuzzFeed, Miami Herald, Elle, O Magazine, Marie Claire, Entertainment Weekly, Flavorwire, After Ellen, Cosmopolitan, Brooklyn Magazine, and others. Dennis-Benn is a Lambda Literary Award winner, named by Time Out Magazine as an immigrant making a stamp on New York City, and has been a named a finalist for the Princeton Arts Fellowship, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award, and The New York Public Library Young Lions Award.

Set in Jamaica, the book deals with a side of the island tourists rarely see or think about: the impact of tourism and development on the people who live and work in towns transformed by luxury resorts. It also takes on sexuality, homophobia and misogyny on the island. Dennis- Benn notes, “I find that if we’re writing human beings, it’s important to write them as sexual beings as well. Black women have always been looked at as matriarchs and/or maternal figures in fiction and in reality. There is danger in that which feeds into the strong black woman myth. I think it’s important to write against that myth by daring to show us as human beings.”

Dennis-Benn’s writing has also appeared in The New York Times, ELLE Magazine, Electric Literature, Lenny Letter, Catapult, Kweli Literary Journal, Mosaic, Ebony, and the Feminist Wire, and has been awarded a Richard and Julie Logsdon Fiction Prize; and two of her stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Fiction. Vice named Dennis-Benn an immigrant author "who is making American Literature great again."

Dennis-Benn teaches in City College's MFA Program and in the Creative Writing Program at NYU; and has been awarded fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Lambda, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Hurston/Wright, and Sewanee Writers' Conference.

Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, she is a graduate of St. Andrew High School for Girls and Cornell University; and holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives with her wife in Brooklyn, New York.

 

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