Born in Sussex, England, "of mixed Indian, African, Scottish, and Amerindian descent", Oonya Kempadoo was brought up in Guyana from the age of five. She has studied art in Amsterdam, and has also lived in Trinidad, St. Lucia, and Tobago. She now lives in St. George's, Grenada.
Her first novel, Buxton Spice, a semi-autobiographical rural coming-of-age story, was published 1998. The New York Times described it as "superb, and superbly written". Her second book, Tide Running (Picador, 2001), set in Plymouth, Tobago, is the story of young brothers Cliff and Ossie. Tide Running won the Casa de las Americas Literary Prize for best English or Creole novel.
Her third novel All Decent Animals (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013) was recommended on Oprah's 2013 Summer Reading List by Karen Russell, who said: "How am I only now finding out about this writer? It's as if she's inventing her own language, which is incantatory, dense, and lush. The authority and blood pulse of it seduced me."
- Buxton Spice (W&N, 1998). new edition, Phoenix House, 1999; ISBN 978-0753807392
- Tide Running. Picador, 2001; ISBN 978-0330482530
- All Decent Animals. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013; ISBN 978-0374534615
- Petamber Persaud, "Peter Kempadoo - Preserving our literary heritage", Kyk-Over-Al, 18 March 2006. (Source: Interview with Peter Kempadoo on Monday 13 March 2006, Guyana Chronicle, Georgetown, Guyana.)
- Author biography, "Was Me Mudda" — Artists in Conversation, BOMB 86, Winter 2004.
- Oonya Kempadoo biography, Macmillan Publishers.
- Patrick Markee (11 July 1999). "The Tree That Knew Too Much". New York Times. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
- Glenville Lovell (18 May 2003). "Body Heat". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
- "Tide Running". International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Dublin City Public Libraries. 2003. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
- "The Casa de Las Americas Literary Prize", Guyana Chronicle, 31 March 2012.
- Karen Russell on "All Decent Animals", O's 2013 Summer Reading List.
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