Born Valenza Pauline Burke to parents who had recently immigrated to New York from Barbados, raised in a close-knit West Indian community. She has taught at Yale, Columbia, Cornell and Oxford Universities, has won numerous prizes and awards, including in 1992 the MacArthur Prize Fellowship. Author of Praisesong for the Widow, Brown Girl, Brownstones, The Chosen Place and The Timeless People.
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