Adiele, Faith (E.)

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ADIELE, Faith (E.)

(Jane Harvard, a joint pseudonym)

PERSONAL: Born in WA. Education: Harvard College, B.A. (southeast Asian studies); Lesley College, M.A. (creative writing); University of Iowa, M.F.A. (fiction), 2001, M.F.A. (nonfiction), 2002.

ADDRESSES: Home—Pittsburgh, PA. Offıce—Department of English, University of Pittsburgh, CL 501 East Pittsburgh, Pittsburg, PA 15260; fax: 412-624-6639. Agent—Lynn C. Franklin, Lynn C. Franklin Associates, Ltd., 1350 Broadway, Suite 2015, New York, NY 10018. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected].

CAREER: Framingham State College, visiting professor and Christa McAuliffe chair, 1996-98; University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, assistant professor of creative nonfiction. Teacher of travel writing at Iowa Summer Writing Festival and of nonfiction for National University online writing program and Gettysburg College low-residency M.F.A. program.

AWARDS, HONORS: Named emerging writer by PEN New England, 1994; Dorothy and Granville Hicks residency, Yaddo Colony, 1998; Willard R. Espy Literary Foundation award, 1999; Zora Neal Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation Prize, 2000; John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize, Crab Orchard Review, 2001; UNESCO international artists bursary, 2003.


(With others, under joint pseudonym Jane Harvard) The Student Body (novel), Random House (New York, NY), 1998.

Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 2004.

Work represented in anthologies, including Life Notes: Personal Writings by Contemporary Black Women, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 1994; Names We Call Home: Autobiography on Racial Identity, Routledge (New York, NY), 1996; Men We Cherish: African-American Women Praise the Men in Their Lives, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1997; and A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from around the Globe, Seal Press, 2001. Contributor to periodicals, including Ploughshares, Essence, Ms., Transition, and Tricycle.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Twins: Growing up Nigerian/Nordic/American.

SIDELIGHTS: Faith Adiele's first published work was a novel co-written with three of her fellow Harvard University grads—Michael Melcher, Bennett Singer, and Julia Sullivan—under the appropriate joint pseudonym Jane Harvard. The Student Body is a novel about students who work as prostitutes. Toni Isaacs, a black female student reporter for the Harvard Crimson, delves into the seamier side of Boston in investigating a prostitution ring run by a Harvard M.B.A. student. What she discovers is that corruption is not necessarily confined to the bottom rungs of the academic ladder; in fact, a dean, a professor, and a business executive each have plenty to hide. Isaacs uncovers financial fraud, murder, blackmail, and kidnapping in a novel that includes a great quantity of sex and focuses on a group of multiracial scholarship students who sell themselves to help pay for their education. Booklist reviewer Vanessa Bush felt that the collaborative novel "is a seamless, fast-paced work, filled with the topography and culture of Harvard." In his review for the Chicago Tribune, Patrick T. Reardon noted that "the book's central character is really Harvard itself: Harvard, the most famous, the most heavily endowed, and, in the public mind, at least, the best university in the United States. It's Harvard, proving ground for the country's best and brightest, that sets the book apart."

Adiele, the daughter of a Scandinavian mother and Nigerian father, has traveled widely. While researching Buddhist nuns as an exchange student in Thailand, she chose to join their society. She shaved her head and eyebrows and over the Lenten season began a period of silence during which she practiced meditation nineteen hours a day and lived in a forest populated by rats and cobras and threatened by wildfires. She existed on a single daily meal, experienced loneliness, and countered her Western upbringing as she became more deeply encompassed by faith. Adiele's journal entries from this experience are published as Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun, a book that also includes scholarly notes and commentary about Buddhism. "Filled with fluid prose and bracing personal revelation, this book is a wonderful companion to the existing literature," wrote Dina Komuves in Library Journal. Black Issues Book Review contributor Rosemarie Robotham called Adiele "an assured storyteller. Her closely observed details often startle with their exactness, their way of articulating that which you intuitively perceived but never quite understood. . . . The trail Adiele ultimately chooses is one richly worth following." A Publishers Weekly reviewer called Meeting Faith a "funny, observant memoir."

In addition to serving on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh, by 2005 Adiele was busy working on an autobiography in which she explores the relationship between her mother and father, who met as undergraduate students at Washington State University during the 1960s.



Black Issues Book Review, May-July, 2004, Rosemarie Robotham, review of Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun, p. 36.

Booklist, March 15, 1998, Vanessa Bush, review of The Student Body, p. 1206; April 15, 2004, review of Meeting Faith, p. 1407.

Boston Globe, June 23, 1998, Diane White, review of The Student Body, p. E1.

Chicago Tribune, May 15, 1998, Patrick T. Reardon, review of The Student Body, Tempo section, p. 1.

Entertainment Weekly, May 22, 1998, review of TheStudent Body, p. 66.

Library Journal, April 15, 1998, Nancy Pearl, review of The Student Body, p. 112; April 1, 2004, Dina Komuves, review of Meeting Faith, p. 36.

O, review of Meeting Faith, p. 172.

Publishers Weekly, March 23, 1998, review of TheStudent Body, p. 78; March 8, 2004, review of Meeting Faith, p. 70.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), June 28, 1998, Jeremy Smith, review of The Student Body, p. 4.


Faith Adiele Home Page, (December 18, 2004).


My Journey Home (documentary), PBS, 2004.*