Christiansë, Yvette

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Christiansë, Yvette


Born in South Africa; emigrated to Australia, then the United States. Education: B.A., M.A., Ph.D.


Office—Department of English, Fordham University, Rose Hill Campus Main Office, Room 541, Dealy Hall, 441 E. Fordham Rd., Bronx, NY 10458.


Fordham University, Bronx, NY, associate professor.


Castaway (poetry), Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1999.

Unconfessed (novel), Other Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals.


Yvette Christiansë was born in South Africa and grew up there during apartheid, until she immigrated to Australia at the age of eighteen. As a result, much of her writings focus on colonialism, apartheid, and its present-day repercussions. In her first volume of poetry, Castaway, Christiansë writes about her grandmother on St. Helena Island, near Africa, and the eventual colonization of the island by the British. The poems' various forms include monologues by family members and famous figures from the past, as well as travelers' tales and diary excerpts. Ellen Kaufman, writing in the Library Journal, called Castaway "an ambitious and often moving study of those held against their will."

In her debut novel, Unconfessed, the author focuses on slavery in South Africa based on the real life of a slave named Sila van den Kaap, who was sentenced to hard labor for murdering her son. In a narration addressed to her dead son, Sila recalls her past life, caring for her other children, various hardships, and her eventual hope for freedom. Hazel Rochman, writing in Booklist, called the novel a "story of a mother driven to save her children at any cost." A Publishers Weekly critic appreciated the author's "absorbing, lyrical narrative," while Eleanor J. Bader commented in Library Journal that the narrator's "stream-of-consciousness style gives readers an intimate if disturbing peek into the mind of a fierce nineteenth-century slave woman."



Booklist, September 15, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Unconfessed, p. 26.

Library Journal, November 15, 1999, Ellen Kaufman, review of Castaway, p. 73; September 1, 2006, Eleanor J. Bader, review of Unconfessed, p. 134.

Publishers Weekly, August 7, 2006, review of Unconfessed, p. 26.


Fordham University Department of English Web site, (December 20, 2006), faculty profile of Yvette Christiansë.

PEN American Center, December 20, 2006), brief profile of Yvette Christiansë.

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Christiansë, Yvette