Phillips, Caryl 1958–
Phillips, Caryl 1958–
PERSONAL: Born March 13, 1958, in St. Kitts, West Indies; immigrated to England, 1958. Education: Queen's College, Oxford, B.A. (honours), 1979.
ADDRESSES: Home—New York, NY. Office—Department of English, Barnard College, New York, NY 10027-6598. Agent—(literary) Georgia Garrett, A.P. Watt Ltd., 20 John St., London WC1N 2DR, England; (dramatic) Judy Daish, Judy Daish Associates, 2 St. Charles Place, London W10 6EQ, England.
CAREER: Writer. Observer Festival of Theatre, Oxford, founding chairman, 1978, artistic director, 1979; writer-in-residence, Factory Arts Center (Arts Council of Great Britain), London, England, 1980–82, University of Mysore, Mysore, India, 1987, University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden, 1989, and National Institute of Education, Singapore, summer, 1994; Arvon Foundation, England, writing instructor, summers, 1983–; visiting lecturer, University of Ghana, 1990, and University of Poznan, Poland, 1991; Amherst College, Amherst, MA, visiting writer, 1990–92, co-director of Creative Writing Center, 1992–97, writer-in-residence, 1992–97, professor of English, 1997–98; Humber College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, visiting writer, August 1992 and 1993; New York University, visiting professor of English, fall, 1993; Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, NY, professor of English, Henry R. Luce Professor of Migration and Social Order, 1998–, director of Initiatives in the Humanities, 2003–, director of Barnard Forum on Migration. Heartland Productions, director, 1994–2000; University of West Indies, Barbados, visiting professor of humanities, summer 1999–2000. Faber & Faber, Boston, MA, consultant editor, 1992–94, London, England, series editor, 1996–2000. British Council, senior advisor for literature, 2002–; visiting writer at schools, including Yale University, 2004. Coordinator, speaker, and participant of international conferences, seminars and festivals, 1986–. Member, Arts Council of Great Britain drama panel, 1982–85; British Film Institute Production Board, 1985–88; Bush Theater board, 1985–89; and "The Caribbean Writer" board, United States Virgin Islands, 1989–; University of Kent, honorary senior member, beginning 1988; World Literature Written in English, member of advisory board, beginning 1998; British Council, member of arts advisory committee; Belgian Journal of English Language and Literatures, member of advisory board, 2003–.
AWARDS, HONORS: British Arts Council bursary, 1984; fiftieth anniversary fellowship, British Council, 1984; Giles Cooper Award, British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC), 1984, for The Wasted Years; Malcolm X Prize for Literature, 1985, for The Final Passage; Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, 1987, for The European Tribe; Young Writer of the Year Award, London Sunday Times, 1992; Guggenheim fellowship, 1992; Booker Prize nomination, 1993, and James Tait Black Memorial Prize, 1994, both for Crossing the River; included on Granta list of Best Young British Writers, 1993; Lannan Literary Award for fiction, 1994, for oeuvre; Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residency, 1994; A.M. Hon., Amherst College, 1995; Hon. D., Leeds Metropolitan University, 1997; University of West Indies Humanities Scholar of the Year, 1999; fellow, Royal Society of Literature, 2000; Silver Ombu award for best screenplay, Mar del Plata Film Festival (Argentina), 2002, for The Mystic Masseur; Mel and Lois Tukman Fellow, New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, 2002–03; Hon.D., University of York, 2003; Hon.D. Letters, University of Leeds, 2003; National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for fiction, 2003, and PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction nomination, and Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, both 2004, all for A Distant Shore.
The Final Passage, Penguin (New York, NY), 1985.
A State of Independence, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1986.
Higher Ground, Viking (London, England), 1989, Viking (New York, NY), 1990.
Cambridge, Bloomsbury (London, England), 1991, Knopf (New York, NY), 1992.
Crossing the River, Bloomsbury (London, England), 1993, Knopf (New York, NY), 1994.
The Nature of Blood, Knopf (New York, NY), 1997.
A Distant Shore, Knopf (New York, NY), 2003.
Strange Fruit (first produced at Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, England, 1980), Amber Lane Press, 1981.
Where There Is Darkness (produced at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London, England, 1982), Amber Lane Press, 1982.
The Shelter (first produced at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, 1983), Amber Lane Press, 1984.
Also author of The Hotel Cristobel.
Welcome to Birmingham (documentary), Central TV, 1983.
"The Hope and Glory," aired on Play for Today, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), 1984.
"Lost in Music," aired on Global Report, BBC, 1984.
The Record, Channel 4, 1985.
Playing Away (aired on Film on 4, Channel 4, 1986), Faber & Faber (London, England), 1987.
(And coproducer) The Final Passage, Channel 4, 1996.
The Mystic Masseur, Merchant Ivory Productions, 2001.
The Wasted Years (produced for BBC Radio 4, 1984), Methuen (London, England), 1985.
Crossing the River, BBC Radio 3, 1985.
The Prince of Africa, BBC Radio 3, 1987.
Writing Fiction, BBC Radio 4, 1991.
A Kind of Home: James Baldwin in Paris, BBC Radio 4, 2004.
St. Kitts Independence (Pride of Place), BBC Radio 4, 1983.
Sport and the Black Community, BBC Radio 4, 1984.
No Complaints: James Baldwin at Sixty, BBC Radio 4, 1985.
The Spirit of America, BBC Radio 4, 1995.
These Islands Now: Transformations in British Culture, BBC Radio 3, 1995.
(Editor) Extravagant Strangers: The "Other" Voice in English Literature (produced for BBC Radio 3, 1997), published as Extravagant Strangers: A Literature of Belonging, Vintage (New York, NY), 1997.
"I Too Am America," aired on Archive Hour, BBC Radio 4, 2004.
The European Tribe (nonfiction), Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1987.
(Editor) The Right Set: A Tennis Anthology, Vintage (New York, NY), 1999.
The Atlantic Sound (nonfiction), Knopf (New York, NY), 2000.
A New World Order, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 2001, Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor of articles to periodicals, including London Times and Sunday Times, Caribbean Review of Books, Guardian, Financial Times, New York Times, New Re-public, New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, Daily Telegraph, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Race Today Review, and Bomb. Contributor of articles to anthologies, including Lost Classics, edited by Michael Ondaatje and others, Knopf Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000; and How Novelists Work, edited by Maura Dooley, Seren Press, 2000. Bomb magazine, New York, NY, contributing editor, 1993–; Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, MN, consulting editor, 1994–; Wasifiri magazine, London, England, advisory editor, 1995–.
Some of the author's works have been translated into French, Swedish, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Polish, Greek, Finnish, Japanese, and Turkish.
SIDELIGHTS: The compromised identity of the black West Indian, their African roots, and their displacement to other reaches is the common thread that links the writings of author and educator Caryl Phillips. A prolific writer of novels, television and movie scripts, radio dramas, and nonfiction pieces, Phillips focuses on "migration, belonging, discovery and hope," as quoted in a Barnard College Web site summary. As Phillips added on the online site, "It is the same story rewritten in many ways. I feel it is my duty to tell the story and I can't stop telling it. As long as I feel I have something to say I have the obligation of saying it and I will keep on writing."
Phillips's work is a reflection of his own roots and multinational existence in three cultures: Caribbean, British, and American. He was born in the West Indies, on the Island of St. Kitts, although his family migrated to Leeds, England, when he was only a few months old. He was raised in a working-class neighborhood where his parents instilled in him the importance of education. Teaching by example, both parents eventually earned college degrees. Although participating in sports gave him self-confidence, Phillips took academics to heart and was the first person from his school to be accepted into Oxford University. First studying theater and directing a number of plays, Phillips switched to studying English literature and language and graduated after three years with honors.
In addition to writing, Phillips has traveled the globe teaching and participating in seminars. Since graduating from college in 1979, Phillips has been a visiting professor, lecturer, and writer-in-residence at a dozen universities on almost every continent and has participated in over sixty seminars in over twenty countries, serving as the keynote speaker at many events. In the introduction to his book of essays, The European Tribe, Phillips acknowledges that early in his career he "felt like a transplanted tree that had failed to take root in foreign soil." The European Tribe is the result of Phillips's journeys throughout the world to examine racism and define his own place in a white-dominated society. This book won the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize.
In novels such as The Final Passage and A State of Independence, Phillips's main characters wander without firm roots between their native West Indies and England. Higher Ground, a trilogy of stories that encompasses a period of 200 years, examines, through multiple points of view, the lingering consequences of being uprooted from one's homeland. Each story concerns the survival of individuals adrift in a hostile culture, but the author extends his outlook to include the perspective of a white European female. Phillips again uses contrasting points of view in his historical novels Cambridge and Crossing the River.
In The Final Passage, Phillips's first novel and winner of the Malcom X Prize for Literature, protagonist Leila Preston intends to emigrate with her baby from their Caribbean island home to England. Although Leila is fleeing from the emotional pain of a bad marriage to Michael, a lazy and unfaithful drunk, she ends up traveling with him after a last-minute reconciliation. Not surprisingly, "the new start proves to be a resumption of the old pain," wrote David Montrose in the Times Literary Supplement. Despite Michael's promise to reform, he backslides into his old habits. Also, Leila's mother, who had already immigrated to England, is dying in a hospital. "England itself administers further hurts," Montrose pointed out. "Walls carry racist slogans, landlords' signs stipulate 'no coloureds.'" After five months, Leila leaves Michael for good and returns home to the West Indies. "Her prospects of serenity remain uncertain, but the outlook at least seems promising," Montrose commented in the Times Literary Supplement, adding later that Phillips's writing "sustains an atmosphere of emotional adversity." Calvin Forbes, a critic for the Washington Post Book World, noticed that Phillips "is one of the few black writers considering the cross-Atlantic relationship."
John Sutherland summed up Phillips's second novel, A State of Independence, in the London Review of Books as a work that thematically "deals with the contradic-tions inherent in being a 'British West Indian.'" The narrative takes place on an island modeled closely after St. Kitts; Bertram Francis, the main character, arrives home after twenty years spent in England as a scholarship student who failed to reach many of his goals. The island is about to become an independent nation, and, like his homeland, Bertram would like to cast off the last vestiges of his Britishness. However, he soon discovers that his brother has died, his mother bitterly resents his long absence, and an old friend who has risen to the position of deputy prime minister of the new regime thinks little of his scheme to start up a local business. This highly placed friend reminds Bertram that this "is no longer the island he left," observed a reviewer in Best Sellers, who commented further that "Bertram's own independence has estranged him from the people and the island he once knew." Perceiving the book as a discussion on "the national tensions of post-imperialism," Sutherland stated in the London Review of Books that A State of Independence "is both a promising and an accomplished work."
The opening story of Phillips's novella trilogy, Higher Ground, is titled "Heartland" and is, in the words of Charles Johnson of the Los Angeles Times Book Review, "a chilling, Kafkaesque parable about the slave trade." The narrator, a shepherd on the West African coast, is taken captive by British traders and sold to one of their associates, who teaches him English as well as the fundamentals of slave trading. Eventually, this nameless narrator cooperates with the British, betraying his fellow Africans. "He is half-slave and half-free, poised in a nightmarish limbo between two cultures," Johnson remarked. When the narrator does finally defy his captors—unable to tolerate the abuse of a black teenage girl he himself helped to enslave—his dubious freedom is ended for good and he is sold on the auction block. Critic Adam Lively, in a review for the Times Literary Supplement, singled out "Heartland" as being "a particularly impressive single sweep of narrative," and commented that it "owes its immediacy to [the] strength of visual imagination."
The second story in Higher Ground is "The Cargo Rap," which is told by convict Rudi Williams in letters he writes from prison during the late 1960s. A self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist and an adherent of the Black Power movement, Rudi sends home letters full of politics and polemic. "Ironically, Rudi's black nationalist tirades to his family against 'race-mixing' and integration are at odds with his uncritical acceptance of (white) Marx and Lenin," Johnson remarked in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, complimenting Phillips for "a fine job of showing the contradictions in Rudi's character."
Higher Ground closes with the title novella, a story about Irina, a Jewish refugee from Poland, who encounters England in much the same way as do Phillips's black Caribbean characters. The story is set in the 1950s when, according to Penelope Lively in the Times Literary Supplement, "the backlash against postwar immigration is beginning to be felt." Irina marries, but attempts to commit suicide after the marriage deteriorates, and is sent to a hospital, where she develops an aversion to further emotional attachments. Upon her release from the hospital, Irina meets a West Indian named Louis, and they share a sexual encounter, although "their friendship across the gulf of cultures falters," according to Johnson in the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Johnson appreciated that the author's "ever growing skill … does allow us to know Irina and the suffering of the dispossessed, the forgotten."
In Cambridge, Phillips not only employs another white woman as a major character, he also writes from her perspective. The diary of Emily Cartwright, the British daughter of a West Indies plantation owner, comprises the bulk of the novel and provides a feminine perspective on the institution of slavery. Although she might be considered as liberal for her era because she is revolted by conditions on the plantation, Emily nonetheless believes that Africans—an inferior race in her opinion—were intended by God to work for whites. "Unable to comprehend the negative effects of slavery on both slave and slaveholder, she is convinced it is [the slaveholder's] contact with the slaves that causes the otherwise good Christian white man to behave in repulsive ways," summed up Clarence Major in the Washington Post Book World.
Emily's commentary is countered by the journal of an elderly slave known as Cambridge, who has been thrown in jail for defying his captors. As a teenager, he had been Olumide, an African kidnapped by slave traders and intended for sale in America. The captain, however, "renames him Tom, like a pet, and keeps him," according to Major in the Washington Post Book World. Tom becomes an educated Christian, renames himself David Henderson, and marries. When his wife dies, he decides to embark on a journey to Africa as a Christian proselytizer, but is kidnapped by the ship's captain and again enslaved, at a plantation in the West Indies. Olumide ultimately receives the name Cambridge—a reference to his fluency in English—from the slave overseer at the plantation. Cambridge has spent many years in hard servitude by the time Emily makes her visit. When she encounters Cambridge, she resents his attitude and is "offended by his speaking the King's English with much flourish, his arrogance in addressing her without permission in terms that suggest an equal standing," stated Calvin Forbes in the Chicago Tribune Books.
In his devotion to Christianity, Cambridge resembles other characters from Phillips's fiction—for example, the shepherd in "Heartland," and Bertram in A State of Independence—whose identities are split between two irreconcilable worlds. He "is enslaved twice—first in England … and secondly upon his return as a 'free man of color' to Africa," Forbes commented. The author's deft handling of his characters elicited praise from reviewers, including Forbes, who remarked that "One of the marvels of … Cambridge is how artfully [Phillips] manages to convey in a relatively few pages the frailties of many of the people caught in slavery's web." Major, writing in the Washington Post Book World, was particularly impressed with the character of Emily, declaring that "her nineteenth-century white racist mentality becomes a black author's allegorical and ironic means of making one of the subtlest, but most insistent, statements ever about the troubled and urgent relationships between a particular past and the present, Africa and Europe, justice and injustice."
"Crossing the River consists of four separate stories bound together by a central theme—slavery and its legacy," commented Lucasta Miller in a review of the novel for the New Statesman & Society. In "The Pagan Coast," Phillips offers the story of a freed slave, Nash, and his liberal, well-meaning former owner, Edward. Nash travels to Africa as a missionary, but when his correspondence home to Edward abruptly ceases, Edward himself travels to Africa in search of Nash. Once in Liberia, Edward discovers that Nash has died. "West" features Martha Randolph, an elderly black woman longing to reach California in the late nineteenth century, as well as other black pioneers who ventured west during this period. "Crossing the River" features journal entries by a slave-ship owner in the mid-1700s. The final piece, "Somewhere in England," is set in Yorkshire during World War II and concerns a white English woman's affair with a black soldier. The four narrative pieces are framed by the words of an anonymous African father who despairs at having sold his children into slavery after his crops failed. "Gradually, as the stories in the main text unfold, we realize that this father has taken on the mythic proportions of the continent of Africa, that his abandonment represents the irreversible history of entire peoples," noted Janet Burroway in the New York Times Book Review.
Critics responded enthusiastically to Crossing the River, and the book was awarded several prizes. Commenting on the author's use of myriad historical sources in fashioning the novel, Times Literary Supplement reviewer Oliver Reynolds averred, "One of Phillips's gifts is his ability to transform his sources into the felt life of fiction." In her review of the work, Miller also praised Phillips's use of historical elements: "His deep awareness of the historical process is combined with an exceptionally intelligent prose style—clear, unencumbered, and compassionate." Nicholas Lezard, writing in the London Review of Books, commended the author's ability to evoke the language and tone of previous eras and places. Lezard contended, "Phillips's talent has developed along the lines of accomplished ventriloquism." Burroway concluded in her review of the work that it "presents a brilliantly coherent vision of two and half centuries of the African diaspora." The novel was a finalist for Britain's prestigious Booker Prize for literature.
The dichotomies Major mentioned in reviewing Cambridge—"Africa and Europe, justice and injustice"—are discussed by Phillips as present-day concerns in The European Tribe. As Ashok Bery explained in a review of the work for the Times Literary Supplement, Phillips "travelled around Europe for nearly a year in an attempt to understand the forces that had helped to shape him; [The European Tribe] comes out of that period." Phillips attempts to reconcile "his divided Afro-British self by examining the Europeans as a Pan-Africanist anthropologist might, treating the French, British, Soviets, and Spanish as a single white tribe determined to keep people of color … down," Charles R. Johnson remarked in the Los Angeles Times Book Review. From visits to countries around the world, Phillips records incidents of racism and intolerance, including the actions of France's National Front party to put a halt on African immigration. In Oslo he was detained by suspicious customs officials; in Detroit he was harassed by police. The European Tribe, Johnson concluded, "comprised partly of personal odyssey, partly of political indictment, is too important a book to be ignored."
Phillips examines the slave trade again in The Atlantic Sound, a narrative tracing the busy slave trading route from Liverpool, England, to Accra, Ghana, to Charleston, South Carolina. In three stories featuring historical characters, Phillips contrasts his own observations of the three cities with a character whose life was bound up in the slave trade. He writes of John Ocansey, a nineteenth-century trader based in Liverpool, Philip Quaque, an African priest of the eighteenth century who lived in Ghana, and J. Waites Waring, a Charleston judge of the 1940s. "The book's central theme," Edward G. McCormack remarked in Library Journal, "is the exploitation of blacks by the Western world since 1553." A critic for Publishers Weekly praised Phillips for his "keen intelligence, careful research and well-expressed truths," while Victoria Bond and Kelly Ellis, wrote in the Black Issues Book Review that the author possesses "penetrating, proactive insight and a historian's careful and acute eye."
Phillips's seventh novel, the widely acclaimed A Distant Shore, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book of 2004, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Like other novels by the author, A Distant Shore brings to life the struggles of two displaced people of conflicting races and cultures. Unlike Phillips's other works, however, this book takes place in the present. One main character is Dorothy, a white teacher in her fifties who, amidst scandal, was forced to retire early and then relocated to the town where her family has roots. The other main character is Gabrial, a black African who fled the violence of his country and the pain of his lost life there, starting a new one in the same British town as Dorothy. The story tells, sometimes in reverse chronology, of an anxious relationship between the two that is scrutinized by the local, somewhat mistrustful townspeople. Discussing his decision to address the present in his fiction, Phillips told Morrison: "It seems odd that it's taken me until now to set a novel in the present. The rest have been historical. I had to describe my own roots before I could deal with contemporary events."
Many reviews of A Distant Shore were positive. As a Publishers Weekly review noted, Phillips depicts his protagonists "with a faithful eye that reveals their inner beauty as clearly as their defects. A true master of form, he manipulates narrative time … and perspective to create a disjointed sense of place that mirrors the tortured, fractured inner lives of his characters." In the Black Issues Book Review, Denolyn Carroll remarked, "The author's clever pacing of the novel, through sudden shifts in thought and time sequences, keeps the story intriguing. His use of descriptive detail and subtle symbolism is achingly on point." And Morrison commented that A Distant Shore "neatly dissects what [Dorothy] … sees as a decline in civility and standards in modern Britain—a situation her less punctilious neighbors blame on immigration." Writing in Library Journal, Kellie Gillespie added that "Phillips has created a poignant and quietly powerful portrait of contemporary alienation," while in Entertainment Weekly Lori L. Tharps summarized A Distant Shore as a "Greek tragedy set in modern England" that, "while critiquing Britain's current racial climate, offers storytelling both raw and heartbreaking."
Although he has found success as a novelist, Phillips was initially known as a playwright. In plays such as Strange Fruit and A Kind of Home: James Baldwin in Paris, his characters struggle with the same doubts over identity and rootlessness that define the protagonists in his novels. The two brothers in Strange Fruit, living in England, typify this crisis—one "rejects all non-black values," the other is "torn between 'white' and 'black' values," according to Diana Devlin in Drama. However, as the novelist/playwright remains aware, a simple rejection of "white values" will not resolve the conflict of identity that concerns his protagonist. In the radio play A Kind of Home Phillips tells the story of a man he knew personally and views as another displaced soul, creating a work that follows Baldwin from Harlem to exile in Paris and his development as a major twentieth-century writer.
Phillips noted of his work, as quoted in the Africa News Service: "Why do I write? Because it is a way of organizing my feelings about myself and the world around me…. Writing provides a means by which I can sit in judgement upon myself and reach conclusions (however temporary) that enable me to shuffle towards the next day and another crisis. And then, of course, there is the technical challenge of writing. To say what I have to say, and to hope to say it in the most incisive manner. To strive towards this goal, and fail honestly, yet continue to strive. To aspire to purify the language; to desire to sharpen the blade of narrative clarity, and then strike quick unseen blows. For me, writing is all of this."
Capturing the essence of Phillips's contribution to contemporary literature, Ledent remarked that the writer's "compassionate engagement with lonely, marginalized characters helps us to transgress such artificial boundaries as race, gender, and nation, and calls into question the myths of homogeneity that all too often underlie conquistadorial impulses, both personal and collective. This is why Phillips's work affords an uncompromising, yet eminently humane, reflection on the composite societies in which we live." And Morrison summarized, "Not only is [Phillips] one of the most accomplished black novelists writing in English, but he is fast becoming known as one of the most productive all-around men of letters anywhere."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Dramatists, 6th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Contemporary Novelists, 7th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 157: Twentieth-Century Caribbean and Black African Writers, Third Series, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1995.
Phillips, Caryl, The European Tribe (nonfiction), Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1987.
Africa News Service, January 22, 2004, "Caryl Phillips 'Crossing Borders' at British Council."
Best Sellers, October, 1986, p. 252.
Black Issues Book Review, November, 2000, Victoria Bond and Kelly Ellis, review of The Atlantic Sound, p. 49; March-April, 2004, Donolyn Carroll, review of A Distant Shore, p. 51.
Booklist, February 15, 1998, Brad Hooper, reviews of Crossing the River and Cambridge, p. 979; December 15, 1998, Vanessa Bush, review of Extravagant Strangers: A Literature of Belonging, p. 721; September 1, 2003, Donna Seaman, review of A Distant Shore, p. 7.
Drama, summer, 1982, p. 52.
Economist, June 17, 2000, "Ethnic Identity: A Novel Eye," p. 12.
Entertainment Weekly, October 24, 2003, Lori L. Tharps, review of A Distant Shore, p. 112.
Essence, December, 1987, p. 26; November, 1989, p. 32.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2003, review of A Distant Shore, p. 1041.
Library Journal, December, 1998, Mary Paumier Jones, review of Extravagant Strangers, p. 105; October 1, 2000, Edward G. McCormack, review of The Atlantic Sound, p. 122; October 15, 2003, Kellie Gillespie, review of A Distant Shore, p. 99.
London Review of Books, April 3, 1986, p. 5; September 23, 1993, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, July 19, 1987, pp. 3, 11; October 1, 1989, pp. 2, 11.
M2 Best Books, May 18, 2004, "2004 Commonwealth Writers Prize Winners Announced."
New Republic, June 13, 1994, p. 40; October 24, 1994, p. 34.
New Statesman & Society, May 23, 1993, p. 34; March 17, 2003, Benjamin Markovits, review of A Distant Shore, p. 54.
Newsweek International, May 10, 1999, Rana Dogar, "A Citizen of the World," p. 63.
New Yorker, August 10, 1992, p. 76.
New York Review of Books, April 26, 2001, Pankaj Mishra, review of The Atlantic Sound, p. 49.
New York Times Book Review, August 9, 1987, p. 7; September 24, 1989, p. 27; April 29, 1990, p. 38; February 16, 1992, p. 1; January 30, 1994, p. 10; October 29, 2000, Geoffrey Moorhouse, "African Connection," p. 12.
Publishers Weekly, May 22, 1987, p. 62; June 23, 1989, p. 50; January 19, 1990, p. 103; December 13, 1991, p. 44; November 22, 1993, p. 49; November 16, 1998, review of Extravagant Strangers, p. 55; September 18, 2000, review of The Atlantic Sound, p. 95; September 29, 2003, review of A Distant Shore, p. 44.
Time International, May 19, 2003, Donald Morrison, "A Writer of Wrongs: British Novelist Caryl Phillips Takes on History's Worst Injustices, and Still Has Time for Golf," p. 62.
Times Literary Supplement, March 8, 1985, p. 266; April 10, 1987, p. 396; June 2, 1989, p. 619; May 14, 1993, p. 22.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), March 1, 1992, section 14, p. 6.
Washington Post Book World, March 4, 1990, p. 8; February 9, 1992, pp. 4, 10.
Caryl Phillips Web site, http://www.carylphillips.com/ (August 6, 2004).
Contemporary Writers in the UK Web site, http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/ (August 6, 2004).
Guardian Online, http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (May 15, 2004), "The Silenced Minority"; (July 17, 2004) "Kingdom of the Blind."
University of Liège English Department Web site, http://www.ulg.ac.be/facphl/ (August 6, 2004) "Caryl Phillips."
Yale Daily News Online, http://www.yaledailynews.com/ (February 10, 2004), Dan Adler, "Novelist Emphasizes Human Aspect of Books."