Nicole  Dennis-Benn-Patsy

Nicole Dennis-Benn


Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of Here Comes the Sun, a New York Times Notable Book and winner of the Lambda Literary Award. Her bestselling, sophomore novel, PATSY, has received much acclaim from the New York Times, O Magazine, TIME, NPR, Vogue, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and others. PATSY has been selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a Financial Times Critics’ Choice, a Today Show Read With Jenna Book Club pick, and has also been deemed by Apple Books as one of the Best Books of the Year so far. As a Jamaican-born and raised author, Time Out New York has described Dennis-Benn as one of the “few immigrants and first-generation Americans who are putting their stamps on NYC,” and Vice has lauded Dennis-Benn for “making American literature great again.” Dennis-Benn is the founder of the Stuyvesant Writing Workshop and lives with her wife in Brooklyn.


Sacrifice in the Name of Love, PEN America Immigration Track

In his novel, On This Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, Ocean Vuong writes about people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. Nicole Dennis-Benn's Patsy is a prismatic depiction of immigration and womanhood, and the lasting threads of love stretching across years and oceans. Both novels follow characters who struggling to find their place, and the sacrifices they make in the name of love.

Moderator: Bria Felecian

Bria Felicien is an audience specialist with The Atlanta Journal Constitution and produces the weekly Politically Georgia podcast. Felicien is also a self-published author of two romance novellas and short story collections.

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When Patsy gets her long-coveted visa to America, it comes after years of yearning to leave Pennyfield, the beautiful but impoverished Jamaican town where she was raised. More than anything, Patsy wishes to be reunited with her oldest friend, Cicely, whose letters arrive from New York steeped in the promise of a happier life and the possible rekindling of their young love. But Patsy’s plans don’t include her overzealous, evangelical mother—or even her five-year-old daughter, Tru. Patsy leaves Tru behind in a defiant act of self-preservation, hoping for a new start where she can be, and love, whomever she wants. But when Patsy arrives in Brooklyn, America is not as Cicely’s treasured letters described; to survive as an undocumented immigrant, she is forced to work as a bathroom attendant and nanny. Meanwhile, Tru builds a faltering relationship with her father back in Jamaica, grappling with her own questions of identity and sexuality, and trying desperately to empathize with her mother’s decision.

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