St. Thomas — In no particular order, here are ten women from the Virgin Islands with published books.
1. Land of Love and Drowning – Tiphanie Yanique
Award-winning writer Tiphanie Yanique is a St.Thomas born and raised Caribean American fiction writer, poet, and essayist. The Land of Love and Drowning is a major epic family saga set against the magic and the rhythms of the Virgin Islands.
Chronicling three generations of an island family from 1916 to the 1970s, Land of Love and Drowning is a novel of love and magic, set against the emergence of Saint Thomas into the modern world. Uniquely imagined, with echoes of Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, and the author’s own Caribbean family history, the story is told in a language and rhythm that evoke an entire world and way of life and love.
2. Confessions of a Video Vixen – Karrine Steffans
Karrine Steffans is an author, born on the island of St.Thomas most notably of the Vixen series of books. She has worked as an actress and as a video vixen, having appeared in more than 20 music videos, many by multiplatinum-selling hip-hop artists.
Part tell-all, part cautionary tale, this emotionally charged memoir from a former video vixen nicknamed ‘Superhead’ goes beyond the glamour of celebrity to reveal the inner workings of the hip-hop dancer industry—from the physical and emotional abuse that’s rampant in the industry, and which marked her own life—to the excessive use of drugs, sex, and bling.
3. Fix Your Damn Credit: Secrets to Mastering the Credit Game – Iffat Walker
St.Thomas born and raised author Iffat Muhammad Walker delves into the secrets of mastering credit. Fix Your Damn Credit is designed to give you a step-by-step approach in understanding and fixing your credit. You will be able to first understand the credit system itself, then understand the various roles within the credit system, and, finally, you will be able to control your credit problems once and for all. You can have excellent credit and the credit system can be beaten. This book will show you how.
Iffat Walker is the founder of Community Action NOW! — an organization that has set a mission to provide those in underprivileged communities with resources to combat the symptoms of poverty by removing barriers. CAN uses emergency management, education, outreach and advocacy programs to begin providing support and resources so all communities can thrive, even after a natural disaster. Currently, CAN is headquartered in Savan in the Romeo Malone Community Center.
4. Tradesmen of St. Croix U.S. Virgin Islands – Karen Thurland
Karen Thurland is a Virgin Islander with an attention for detail and love of Virgin Islands History — that passion is reflected well in her book. St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, a Caribbean island, had a large number of black tradesmen who operated their own shops in its towns.
These men passed on vital technical skills to their sons and apprentices, so those colonial crafts persisted during the Danish era. A few trades have continued for over a hundred years of American rule.
Two of the tradesmen featured in this book, Peter G. Thurland Sr. and Alphonso Forbes, participated as musicians in the transfer ceremony of the Danish West Indies to the United States in the town of Christiansted, St. Croix, on March 31, 1917, while one tradesman, Carlos H. McGregor, observed the event.
The tradesmen documented in this publication include a blacksmith, mason, shoemaker, tailor, two goldsmiths, and two joiners. They started out as young apprentices and went on to master a trade and operate their own workshop or business.
These native black men contributed to the economic, social, and political life of St. Croix through periods of prosperity and financial hardships. These tradesmen were respected by people in the community and are a vital part of the island’s history and culture.
5. Creative Callaloo: Art, Poems, and Recipes Inspired by the Virgin Islands – Danica M. David
Danica M. David, M. A. A. Ed is a St. Croix-born contemporary artist, educator, author, graphic designer, and the mother of two sons, Alex and Kaylan. She is the owner of Danica Art Studio and the director of Creative Adventure Summer Art Program. Danica teaches art at the St. Croix Educational Complex High School and is an adjunct professor at the University of the Virgin Islands.
Her accolades include the Crucian Cultural Heritage Award and The Teacher of the Year Award. Danica’s artwork has graced the walls of patrons in the Caribbean, Europe, and the mainland. Her artwork has been published in the University of the Virgin Islands’ 15th Anniversary Issue and Volume 19, Carol Mitchell’s book ‘Round My Christmas Tree, Opal Palmer Adisa’s publication Interviewing the Caribbean 2015, Apple Gidley’s novel Fireburn.
She also illustrated Charlene Abramson Joseph’s The Vienna Cake Mystery, a children’s book. Danica’s first book Creative Callaloo: Art, Poems, and Recipes Inspired by the Virgin Islands released in December of 2018.
In this vibrantly illustrated book, St. Croix artist Danica M. David, poet Winifred Oyoko Loving, and chef Mark E. Davis serve us a delicious and nourishing blend of recipes, poetry, art, history, and more. A unique and satisfying Caribbean book with the colors and flavors of the Virgin Islands on every page.
6. The Irma Diaries: Compelling Survivor Stories from the Virgin Islands – Angela Burnett
“The Irma Diaries” takes readers beyond the news headlines and apocalyptic images and captures the harrowing and yet amazing, inspiring, and at times amusing accounts of the ordinary-turned-extraordinary people who battled through Hurricane Irma day by day during the catastrophe of 2017.
“The Irma Diaries” was written to stir global attention and action on climate change and to help the islands and those impacted adapt and rebuild. As such, 25% of the book proceeds will be donated to The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund and another 25% to the contributors of the survivor stories in perpetuity.
7. Shennelle Henry – Loving the Skin I’m In: An Intimate Look at the Relationship Black Women Have with Body Image
St. Croix author Shennelle Henry is a renowned writer, educator, and lover of the arts. Inspired by Maya Angelou, Oprah, and Angela Davis to highlight the beauty of black women as a whole.
The book also stands to create a conversation on how society and the media affect black women’s self-imagery. The book gives insight into how black women can combat these stigmas to achieve self-worth and self-love.
8. Mervelle Sage- Hanging With Uncle Eddy
A Unique Children Book from an intelligent local. Mervelle Sage is a Children Author, Poet, Teacher, Instructor, business owner (Velle’s Poccasions), and an inspiration to many.
Hanging With Uncle Eddie is a fun-filled story that depicts how strong family ties are. Great read and the graphics are awesome! Anybody who wants a taste of how Caribbean life is in a child’s eye should get this book! Highly recommended for anyone who wants to share a story with their children that also happens to reflect their upbringing and culture.
9. Zenzi Hodge – The Never Snowy Christmas
If you asked Zenzi Hodge what she wanted to be when she grew up you would not have heard the word author but that is what she has been doing for most of her life, whether she wants to admit it or not. Zenzi is the daughter of teachers and is highly influenced by the late great Maya Angelou. Zenzi is an alumna of Florida A&M and Clark Atlanta Universities and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She resides in St. Thomas with her husband and son.
The Never Snowy Christmas is a children’s story with a Virgin Islands touch. It tells the tale of a young boy living on the island of St. Thomas and wants it to snow there. While the character in The Never Snowy Christmas is inspired by her son, much of the antics are of her own imagining as she STILL wishes for snow on St. Thomas. Throughout the story, he goes on a series of quests to find or create snow in his island paradise. It is a fun tale that any Virgin Islands child can relate to. A fun read for the whole family!
10. Journey Untold: Twisted Love: My Mother’s Struggle with Mental Illness (Volume 1) – Yassin S. Hall
Yassin Hall, CEO of B.O.S.S. Class LLC, author, and influencer has been successfully selling on Amazon for thirteen years and currently operates four six-figure stores as well as two other successful business ventures.
Additionally, she has a growing class of students, having risen to 1200+ (and counting) how to build a profitable business online that creates unlimited freedom that allows them to relax and enjoy many diverse experiences. Born and raised on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Yassin resides with her beautiful teenage daughter Yamisha who is successfully living with autism in Atlanta, Georgia.
Yassin advocated fearlessly for change in the Virgin Islands, which resulted in the passage of Legislative Bill No. 31-0134 and 31-0279 that at least begins to train all public-school counselors in grief and stress counseling, and increased funding for mental health, making it a priority, and providing needed services to affected citizens.
Featured image provided by the publicist of published author and entrepreneur from St. Thomas, Yassin S. Hall.