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Life and career
Ross was born in Grenada, where he attended the Grenada Boys' Secondary School, later studying at the University of Grenoble, France. Since 1984 he has been residing in Britain. He was formerly an Editor of Artrage, an Intercultural Arts magazine, and is now Associate Fiction Editor at Peepal Tree Press and Associate Editor of SABLE Literary Magazine. He has judged the Scott Moncrieff Prize (for French translation), the V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize (2008) and the Tom-Gallon Trust Award (2009).
Jacob Ross has toured and lectured widely, including in Germany, Korea, the Middle East, and The Caribbean. In 2000 he was specially commissioned by the Peabody Trust to run the Millennium Writers Master class and in November that year became writer in residence for the London Borough of Streatham's Community Zone Literature Development Initiative. He was Writer-in-Residence at St. George's University in Grenada and the Darat Al Funun Arts Academy in Jordan in 2001.
In 1986 his first collection of short stories, Song for Simone, was published and was described as "one of the most powerful crystallisation of Caribbean childhood since George Lamming's In the Castle of My Skin." Song of Simone has been translated into several languages. Of Ross's second collection, A Way to Catch the Dust and Other Stories (1999), Bernardine Evaristo wrote in Wasafiri: "These stories are refined, timeless and startlingly beautiful and if Walcott is the poet laureate of the Caribbean Sea then with this collection, Ross becomes a major contender as its chief prose stylist.... Ross, following in the tradition of Hemingway and Morrison, displays all the brilliance of a great storyteller in action."
His first novel, Pynter Bender, was published in 2008. It was shortlisted for 2009's Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Society of Authors' "Best First Novel" and the Caribbean Review of Books "Book of the Year". Jacob is also the editor of Closure: Contemporary Black British Short Stories published by Peepal Tree Press.
In November 2017, Ross published his collected stories, Tell No-One About This. David Constantine wrote, "Such good writing! A truthful examination of our fraught, unsteady and ambivalent relations with one another and with the world we live in. Jacob Ross writes out of an intense and loving knowledge of particular places. His writing is unsentimental, clear-sighted, urgently insistent on the possibility of more humane dealings. And his lyricism, the making of beautiful sentences, is always an answering back against the fear that we may never do better than we are doing now. "
Awards and recognition
- 2017 Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour for The Bone Readers.
Selected writings and editorial work
- Song for Simone and Other Stories (London: Karia Press, 1986; ISBN 978-0946918294)
- Behind the Masquerade, the Story of Notting Hill Carnival (with Kwesi Owusu) (Arts Media Group, 1988; ISBN 978-0951277003)
- Voice, Memory, Ashes: Lest We Forget (co-edited with Dr Joan Anim-Addo) (London: Mango Publishing, 1998; ISBN 978-1902294049)
- A Way to Catch the Dust and Other Stories (London: Mango Publishing, 1999; ISBN 978-1902294087)
- Ridin' n Risin: Short stories by new black writers (Black Inc) and Turf (co-edited with Andrea Enisuoh)
- Pynter Bender (Harper Perennial, 2008; ISBN 978-0007222988)
- The Bone Readers (Peepal Tree Press, 2016; ISBN 978-1845233358)
- "Ross, Jacob (1956–)", in Carole Boyce Davies (ed.), Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture, ABC-CLIO, 2008, p. 807.
- "Grenadian author wants more encouragement for young writers", DA Vibes, 20 October 2011.
- Official website.
- Featured Writers: Jacob Ross, Caribbean Literary Salon, 13 July 2012.
- Author Biography
- Gayle Sojourn, "Simone", 2000. The Jacob Ross Website.
- "Jacob Ross", Spice Vibes Grenada.
- Bernardine Evaristo, Review of A Way to Catch the Dust and Other Stories, Wasafiri. The Jacob Ross Website.
- "Royal Society of Literature » Current RSL Fellows". rsliterature.org. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
- Natasha Onwuemezi, "Jacob Ross wins inaugural Jhalak Prize", The Bookseller, 17 March 2017.