Queenie (Carty-Williams) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Birth—1989
Where—South London, England, UK
Education—University of Sussex
Currently—lives in London


Candice Carty-Williams was born in London to a Jamaican-Indian hospital receptionist and a Jamaican taxicab driver. When she was two weeks old, her father came to visit. By his side (surprise!) was his pregnant wife and three children. It was the last she saw him.

Carty-Williams grew up as a lonely and unsure child, moving with her mother from place to place, all in South London, eventually living with her grandmother. It was a "really shitty" childhood, she told Fiona Sturges of the UK Guardian. Often overlooked by her elders—and compared to a more beautiful, older cousin—Carty-Williams she felt that she "would never be able to achieve anything."

But then, like so many shy children, Carty-Williams found refuge books, spending hours and days in the public library. Much later, in her early 20s, she discovered Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah: "I thought, Wow, someone gets it! The hair stuff!"

The idea of writing was a revelation, yet working full-time and in debt, Carty-Williams never believed she would be able to write a book. In recognition of that uphill battle—for untested and underrepresented writers—in 2016 she created and launched the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize to champion and celebrate their talents.

Later the same year, she saw that JoJo Myers (of Me Before You fame) was offering a week-long writing workshop at her home in Suffolk. Carty-Williams applied and was accepted into the program. That week she began writing … and writing … and writing. By the end of the week she had piled up 40,000 words—for what would become her first book. "It felt a bit like an outpouring. I think Queenie had been brewing for a very long time," she told the Guardian.

Three years later, in 2019, her novel Queenie was published, garnering solid reviews. Still, despite all the attention Queenie sent her way, Carty-Williams has kept her day job: working as a senior marketing executive at Vintage.

She has also contributed regularly to i-D, Refinery29, BEAT Magazine, and more, and her pieces, especially those about blackness, sex, and identity, have been shared globally. (Adapted from the publisher and The Guardian.)

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