Nicole Dennis-Benn

I believe that writing can change the world. The world will be a better one when we can come to the table without judging each other or dismissing each other based on perceived differences. We are inclined to think that if someone doesn’t look like us or is of another culture and religion, then they’re different from us. At the end of the day, we all desire to be seen, heard, and loved as human beings.

new york foundation for the arts fiction fellow

Lambda literary award

national book critics circle john leonard award finalist

New York Public Library Young Lions Prize Finalist




Patsy is a stunningly powerful inter-generational novel.
— Alexander Chee
Patsy is beautiful, shattering, and deeply affecting.
— Chigozie Obioma
Admirers of Here Comes the Sun have waited three years for Dennis-Benn’s followup, and anyone who was enchanted by her gorgeous writing are in for a happy surprise: Patsy isn’t just as good as its predecessor, it’s somehow even better.... Dennis-Benn isn’t just a compassionate writer, she’s also a courageous one, unafraid to address topics that too often go ignored. And in Patsy and Tru, she’s managed to create two unforgettable characters who function as real people and not literary archetypes. Dennis-Benn is quickly becoming an indispensable novelist, and Patsy is a brave, brilliant triumph of a book.

Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of the acclaimed novel, Patsy, (Norton/Liveright, June 2019), which Time Magazine called “stunning,” and the debut novel, Here Comes the Sun (Norton/Liveright, July 2016). She is s a Lambda Literary Award winner and a recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Grant. Time Out Magazine has described Dennis-Benn as an immigrant putting her stamp on New York City and Vice named her among immigrant authors "who are making American Literature great again." 

Patsy has received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist and has been lauded by the New York Times, NPR, Washington Post, Time Magazine, The Atlantic, Publisher's Weekly, Newsday, PEOPLE Magazine, Elle, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, Harper's Bazaar, Bustle, among others. "Patsy fills a literary void with compassion, complexity and tenderness," raves Time Magazine; and according to NPR, "Dennis-Benn is quickly becoming an indispensable novelist, and Patsy is a brave, brilliant triumph of a book."

Her debut novel, Here Comes the Sun, received much acclaim including a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a NPR Best Books of 2016, an Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Entertainment Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2016, a BuzzFeed Best Literary Debuts of 2016, among others. It also received a starred Kirkus Review and was named one of the best books to read this past summer and beyond by New York Times, NPR, BBC, BuzzFeed, Book Riot, Bookish, Miami Herald, Elle, O Magazine, Marie Claire, Entertainment Weekly, Flavorwire, After Ellen, BookPage, Cosmopolitan, Brooklyn Magazine, among others. The New York Times Book Review called Here Comes the Sun a “lithe, artfully-plotted debut”; Pulitzer Prize finalist, Laila Lalami, as well as Booklist have deemed it a "fantastic debut.” Dennis-Benn was shortlisted for the Texas Library Association 2017 Lariat. She has been a named a finalist for Princeton Arts Fellowship, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award , and The New York Public Library Young Lions Award. 

Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, ELLE Magazine, Electric Literature, Lenny Letter, Catapult, Red Rock Review, Kweli Literary Journal, Mosaic, Ebony, and the Feminist Wire. Her writing has been awarded a Richard and Julie Logsdon Fiction Prize; and two of her stories have been nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize in Fiction. 

Dennis-Benn is a Kowald Visiting Faculty in City College's MFA Program and Lecturer in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University. She has previously taught in the writing programs at the University of Pennsylvania and NYU; and has been awarded fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Lambda, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Hurston/Wright, and Sewanee Writers' Conference. 

Dennis-Benn was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. She is a graduate of St. Andrew High School for Girls and Cornell University; and holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives with her wife in Brooklyn, New York. 



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