Patricia Powell

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Patricia Powell (born 1966) is a Jamaican writer, who has won awards for her novels.


Born in Jamaica, she moved to the United States in her late teens. She received her bachelor's degree at Wellesley College, and an MFA in creative writing from Brown University, where she studied with Michael Ondaatje, among others.

She began her teaching career in 1991 in the English Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. In 2001, Powell was the Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard University.[1] In 2003, she was announced as the Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at MIT.[2] Since 2009, she has been on the English faculty at Mills College.[3]

Most of her work is not autobiographical, but explores personal themes of rejection, displacement, and healing through the lives of highly varied characters, ranging from a gay Jamaican man dying of AIDS,[4] to a cross-dressing Chinese woman immigrant to Jamaica,[5] to Nanny, a heroine of Jamaican independence.[6]

Literary awards[edit]


  • Me Dying Trial (1993) ISBN 0-435-98935-9
  • The Pagoda: A Novel (1998) ISBN 0-679-45489-6
  • A Small Gathering of Bones (2003) ISBN 0-8070-8367-4
  • The Fullness of Everything (2009) ISBN 1-84523-113-9


  1. ^ "Conference on Alumnae Achievement and Women's Leadership". Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2009. (accessed 17 January 2009)
  2. ^ "Art Talk: Patricia Powell, author", Massachusetts Institute of Technology News Office (accessed 17 January 2009).
  3. ^ "Mills College - Patricia Powell". Mills College. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  4. ^ Chin, Timothy. "The Novels of Patricia Powell: Negotiating Gender and Sexuality Across the Disjunctures of the Caribbean Diaspora" in Callaloo - Volume 30, Number 2, Spring 2007, pp. 533-45.
  5. ^ "Diasporic Imagination of the Grocery Shop in Patricia Powell's The Pagoda," by Lee Tsui-yu (Jade), National Kaohsiung Normal University. [1] (website accessed 17 January 2009).
  6. ^ Mundo de Mujeres/Women's Worlds 2008, La literatura como fuerza politica/Literature as a political force, video by Universidad Complutense Madrid, recorded 7 July 2008. Powell read her paper on "Writing to Heal Ourselves and Each Other."