Spelman College 350 Spelman lane, History Dept.
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Home page: http://www.annecbailey.com
Travel and adventure. A knowledge of history. An understanding of
contemporary issues. An accessible style. Anne Bailey is a
writer who attempts to combines all these elements and more in her work. With works
ranging from adult non-fiction to children's historical fiction, Bailey takes readers on a
journey that spans many countries and several
continents. Born in Jamaica in 1964, her work has been informed by extended stays in
Paris, London and West Africa. After immigrating to New York City where she attended
high school, she studied English and French at Harvard University and later got her
Ph.D. in African History and African Diaspora Studies from the University of
Bailey is committed to a concept of "living history" in which events of
the past are connected to current and contemporary issues. This is best
evidenced in her recent non-fiction manuscript, African Voices of the Atlantic Slave
Trade: Beyond the Silence and the Shame. ( forthcoming, Beacon Press, 2005)This
book attempt to capture African memories of the slave trade – a rich yet largely neglected
source of information on this important era. African chiefs and other elders share stories
that reveal the experience of Africans as victims of the trade as well as traders. At the
same time, African Voices of the Atlantic Slave trade attempts to bridge the gap between
Africa and the African Diaspora in tackling issues from trade operations on the continent
to reparations for African descendants.
This book is an outgrowth of her 1998 Ph.D. thesis in African History from the University
of Pennsylvania as is her historical novel, Anchors in the Sand. Anchors asks readers to
imagine: What if historical characters from the era of the Atlantic slave trade were able to
tell their stories directly to an audience today? How would the African trader explain his
involvement? How would American and European traders and planters account for their
role in slavery? What about those who resisted this terrible institution? What would they
have to tell us now that might help heal the wounds of our collective past? Designed as
a frame tale, Anchors weaves monologues of different characters based on actual oral
histories collected in Southern Ghana in 1993 in the context of a modern day story of
discovery and adventure.
Anne Bailey's previously published material also includes two works of
historical fiction for children: You Can Make A Difference: The Story of
Martin Luther King Jr. (Bantam/Doubleday/Dell) and Return to the Cave of
Time (co-authored with Edward Packard). Other publications include
numerous articles in London newspapers including a front-page story on the
death of Princess Diana in 1997 and a monthly column for UK edition of The Jamaican
Gleaner. Her most recent publication is a contribution to Relocating Postcolonialism,
(Blackwell Pub. 2002) edited by Ato Quayson and David Goldberg. In keeping with the
contemporary feel of many of her works, several of these projects are designed to be
adapted to film, audiobooks and plays.
She has given presentations all over the world including a reading at the
first conference of "Black Writers in Paris" in 1992. There, sharing the
stage with Paule Marshall, Louise Meriweather and Ishmael Reed, she read
from her unpublished short story collection, Beyond Boundaries. More recently, she has
done nine readings of Anchors in the Sand in Boston, New York and in Germany over the
last two years. Finally, in recognition of her writing and research efforts, she recently
received a Fulbright Research grant which enabled her to return to Ghana to complete
her current manuscripts.
Bailey's activities as an educator have also shaped her life and work.
These include her tenure as Executive Director for the Albert G. Oliver
Program, a NY based non-profit that provides scholarships for minority
children, and her work as an Visiting Professor of History at Rutgers
University, Bryn Mawr College, the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.
She now teaches history at Spelman College in Atlanta where she lives with her son,
In terms of press coverage, she was chosen by the editors of Essence Magazine to be on
the cover of their August 1984 issue while she was a sophomore at Harvard. A 1995
front-page story in The New York Daily News also named her one of the 100 people
under 40 to watch. There was also an article on her work on slavery in the Columbus
Dispatch in 2001.
Influenced by writers as diverse as Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Alex
Haley and C.S. Lewis, Bailey's aim is to combine an accessible writing style and a global
perspective with a knowledge of history.
Interests: historical non fiction, historical fiction, children's literature regarding African Diaspora and
general mulitcultural subjects; work on slavery and the slave trade and other African
American/Caribbean and AFrican subjects with a global perspective
Published writer: Yes