Summer Edward (born 10 March 1986) is a Trinidadian-American writer, children's editor, educator, literary activist and children's literature specialist based in the USA. In 2010, at the age of 24, she founded Anansesem ezine, the first children's literature publication in the English-speaking Caribbean and served as its Editor-in-Chief for 10 years. At 26, she became one of the Caribbean's youngest literary editors. Anansesem has published some of the most distinctive and distinguished voices in Caribbean literature for young people including Floella Benjamin, Gerald Hausman, Ibi Zoboi, Itah Sadu, Lynn Joseph, Margarita Engle, Nadia L. Hohn, Olive Senior and Vashanti Rahaman.
|Nationality||Trinidadian and American|
|Education||Temple University, University of Pennsylvania|
|Occupation||Writer, children's editor|
After teaching writing and communications at the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine for three and a half years, Edward quit her job to focus on writing; she supplements her writing by working as a children's fiction editor at Heinemann and as a readers' advisory specialist for NoveList, a division of EBSCO Information Services.
Personal life and educationEdit
Edward was born in San Fernando, Trinidad, and grew up in Valsayn, Trinidad. She is the second child of her mother, a retired university assistant registrar, and father, a retired engineer. When she was five years old, her father immigrated to Philadelphia, earning his living as a city streets department supervisor. From the age of 10, Edward became a third culture kid, traveling yearly with her older sister to Philadelphia where she spent summers with her father. She attended the St. Joseph's Convent girls' high school in St. Joseph, Trinidad. At the age of 18, Edward moved to Philadelphia to live with her father and attend university. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology at Temple University where she organized the College of Liberal Arts' World Voices Poetry Festival and received the Jane D. Mackler Baccalaureate Award for academic achievement.
In 2011, she earned a Master of Education degree in reading, writing, literacy from the University of Pennsylvania. During that time, she was graduate assistant to Dr. Lawrence Sipe, then North American editor-in-chief of the journal Children’s Literature in Education, and a leading scholar of children's literature. It was while taking Sipe's courses that she became interested in children's publishing as a career path. She remained a straight-A student throughout her university career and is a lifelong Roothbert Fellow and a lifelong Phi Beta Kappa member.
Since her immigration to the US, she has regularly traveled back and forth between Philadelphia and Trinidad. Edward is second cousin to Canadian writer Dionne Brand.
Edward developed her craft at the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia where she participated in Naomi Jackson's Literary Boot Camp for Women Writers. She has "received writing residencies and awards from the Cropper Foundation, the Roothbert Fund, the School of the Free Mind, the Highlights Foundation and the Tengo Sed Costa Rica Writers Retreat". Her writing for adult readers appears in various literary journals internationally. Edward has thrice been shortlisted in the Small Axe Literary Competition, most recently in 2016, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 2015, she was selected for the NGC Bocas Lit Fest's New Talent Showcase, which highlights the best emerging writers from the Caribbean. Her fiction appears in the anthology New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean, edited by Karen Lord (Peekash Press, 2016). She is also a contributor to the 2019 New Daughters of Africa anthology, edited by Margaret Busby. She has been published in Nat. Brut, Matatu: Journal for African Culture and Society, The Missing Slate, tongues of the ocean, St. Somewhere Journal, BIM: Arts for the 21st Century, The Columbia Review, The Caribbean Writer, Philadelphia Stories, Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, Moko, and more.
Her children’s writing and illustration appears in Whaleheart: Journey into the Night with Maya Christina Gonzalez and 23 Courageous ArtistAuthors, on the Children's Writer's Guild website, on the Mirrors Windows Doors website, and on Storybird.com. She is a contributor to the young adult anthology 1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change, edited by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Candlewick Press, 2020).
Books for young readersEdit
- The Wonder of the World Leaf (HarperCollins UK, 2021)
- Renaissance Man: Geoffrey Holder's Life in the Arts (Heinemann USA, 2021)
- Grannie's Coal Pot (Heinemann USA, 2021)
- The Breadfruit Bonanza (Heinemann USA, 2021)
- The Freedom to Learn: How Elizabeth Lange Built a School (Heinemann USA, 2021)
- Zarah and the Zemi (Heinemann USA, 2021)
- Bookmarked: New Caribbean Writing (PREE ink, 2021)
- 1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution and Change (Candlewick Press, 2020)
- New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent (Amistad/HarperCollins, 2019)
- New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean (Peepal Tree Press/Peekash Press, 2016)
- Whaleheart: Journey into the Night with Maya Christina Gonzalez and 23 Courageous ArtistAuthors (Reflection Press, 2015)
Work as a children's editorEdit
Edward worked as an independent freelance children's editor for a number of years and is currently a children's fiction editor at Heinemann. Children's and YA authors whose books Edward has edited include Cave Canem Fellow Samantha Thornhill, CODE Burt Award-winning authors Joanne C. Hillhouse and Elias Mutani, NAACP Image Award-nominated author Amanda Smyth, Casa de las Américas Prize-commended author Mario Picayo, Coretta Scott King Award-winning author-illustrator Colin Bootman, and others.
Edward has worked continuously for diversity within the children's publishing industry and as an advocate for the advancement of Caribbean children's literature. She has been a judge and editor for writing competitions, including the Golden Baobab Prizes for African children's literature, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the CODE Burt Awards, and OpenIDEO's Early Childhood Book Challenge. Her writings on multicultural children's literature appear in The Horn Book Magazine, WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom, sx salon, Charlotte Huck’s Children’s Literature: A Brief Guide, The Millions, NoveList (EBSCOhost) and more. She has been invited to speak at New York University, St. Francis College, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, the U.S. Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair, the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, and the University of Puerto Rico, and has been recruited as a Caribbean children's literature consultant by organizations like the Commonwealth Education Trust, At Summit Educational Services, and Caribbean Cultural Theatre. She was awarded the School of the Free Mind's Way of the Book Honor Award granted to artist-authors demonstrating long and sincere commitment to changing the world through children's books. Edward has conducted numerous interviews with key personalities in children's publishing in the Caribbean and beyond.
- Summer Edward at Poets & Writers.
- Anansesem Caribbean children's literature ezine (inglés)
- "About Summer", Summer Edward website.
- "2016 Small Axe Literary Competition", sx live, 10 November 2016.
- WHO’S NEXT?, NGC Bocas Lit Fest.
- New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean at Peepal Tree Press.
- "Contributors", Moko Magazine.
- Whaleheart: Journey into the Night with Maya Christina Gonzalez and 23 Courageous ArtistAuthors at Reflection Press.
- "Summer Edward" on The Children's Writers Guild.
- "Original Children’s Story: Blue, by Summer Edward", Mirrors Windows Doors, 5 December 2016.
- 1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change at Penguin Random House.
- "2020 National Writing Jurors", Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
- "Early Childhood Book Challenge Editors", OpenIDEO.
- "Foreign Correspondence: An Interview with Deborah Ahenkorah: Torchbearer for African Children's Publishing — The Horn Book". www.hbook.com. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
- Summer Edward official website