Alecia McKenzie is a Jamaican writer and journalist currently based in Paris. She attended Alpha Academy in Kingston, where she started writing, with her poems being published in the local newspapers, The Gleaner and The Star. She holds a B.A. degree in journalism and literature from Troy (State) University in Alabama (1983) and an M.Sc. in journalism from Columbia University in New York (1985). She has done postgraduate research on the political role of the media at City University, London (1998-2000).
Her first book, the short-story collection Satellite City (Longman, 1992), which was translated into Dutch, and her novel, Sweetheart (Peepal Tree Press, 2011), both won Commonwealth literary awards and she was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2015. Sweetheart, a novel about an artist, was translated into French and published as Trésor and was awarded the 2017 Prix Carbet des lycéens. Her other books are: When the Rain Stopped in Natland (Longman, 1995), a novella for children; Stories From Yard (Peepal Tree Press, 2005), which was first published in Italy as Racconti Giamaicani, (Ferrara, 2001); and Doctor’s Orders (Heinemann, 2005), a novella for teens.
Her work has appeared in literary magazines and a range of international anthologies such as Stories from Blue Latitudes, Global Tales, Light Transports, The Penguin Book of Caribbean Short Stories, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories, and the first Girls’ Night In, among others. In addition, Alecia’s stories have been translated into Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Icelandic and Chinese. In 2017, she launched the Caribbean Translation Project to promote the translation of creative and scholarly writing from and about the Caribbean.
Alecia’s journalistic articles have appeared in various international publications including The Wall Street Journal/Europe and the former International Herald Tribune, and she has written for news agencies and magazines such as New African.
She is also an accomplished artist whose artwork has been exhibited internationally in group and solo art shows in New York, Brussels, Kingston, Paris, London and Singapore. In 2011, she was invited by France Télévisions in Paris to present a solo exhibition in honour of Bob Marley on the 30th anniversary of his death. She is the founder of Southern World Arts News (SWAN), a culture site about artists whose work contributes to improving lives globally.
She currently teaches creative writing in Paris and is working on a play.