Olive Senior is the prizewinning author of 17 books of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and children’s literature. Born and brought up in Jamaica, she now lives in Canada. The Caribbean nevertheless remains the focus of her work.
Her 2015 collection of stories, The Pain Tree, won the English Le Grand Prix Litteraire de l’Association de ecrivains de la Caraibe 2017 (Association of Caribbean Writers Grand Literary Prize 2017) and the 2016 Bocas Lit Fest Prize for Caribbean Literature. In 2015, she won the Bocas non-fiction prize for Dying to Better Themselves: West Indians and the Building of the Panama Canal, a retelling of one of the greatest feats of engineering from a largely unknown perspective.
Her many other awards include the first Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1987 for her book Summer Lightning, and the 2004 Musgrave gold medal of the Institute of Jamaica for her contribution to Jamaican heritage. Her poetry book, Over the Roofs of the World, was a finalist for Canada’s Governor-General’s Award in 2005.
Ms. Senior’s work is taught internationally. Her poetry book, Gardening in the Tropics, is currently on the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination syllabus for Caribbean schools, and her children’s book, Anna Carries Water, is among the 20 books recommended by New York City Reads 365 for grade 1.
She can be heard reading her poetry on the Poetry Archive. She is the subject of the book, Olive Senior, by Denise deCaires Narain in the Writers and their Work series, UK: Northcote Publishers 2011.
Olive lectures and conducts writing workshops internationally and is on the faculty of the Humber School for Writers, Humber College, Toronto.
She will be featured at Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta on Saturday, May 27 and lead the workshop for writers on Sunday, May 28, at Two Seasons Guest House.