Sybil Baker’s latest novel is While You Were Gone, which won an IPPY Silver Medal. Her book of nonfiction Immigration Essays was the 2018-2019 Read2Achieve selection for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is also the author of The Life Plan, Talismans, and Into This World (Foreword Book of the Year finalist, and Eric Hoffer Award Honorable Mention). She was awarded two MakeWork Artist Grants and a 2017 Individual Artist’s Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission. She lives and teaches in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and is on faculty at the Yale Writers’ Workshop and VCFA’s low residency International MFA.
The longer story:
Sybil Baker’s latest novel is While You Were Gone. Author Kevin Wilson says, “While You Were Gone is an open-hearted and complex story of an amazing family, told with such confidence that I could not put it down.” Chapter 16 says, “With echoes of Shakespeare’s King Lear and Chekhov’s Three Sisters, Baker’s novel deftly mines the personal histories of Claire, the eldest, followed by Shannon and then Paige, as they grow from gangly adolescents in 1995 to morally conflicted women in 2011, spinning away from and back to the city that both buoys them and sucks them down into its vortex of social and racial tensions.”
Sybil Baker’s Immigration Essays (C&R Press, 2017) was the 2018-2019 Read2Achieve selection for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and is being hailed as “an amazing and essential odyssey for our times.” Named one of “today’s strongest emerging talents in literary fiction and poetry” by Anis Shivani from The Huffington Post, Sybil is also the author of three books of fiction, Into This World, Talismans, and The Life Plan.
She is a 2012 and 2014 MakeWork grantee and received a Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist’s Fellowship for 2017. Her work has appeared in many publications including Guernica, Electric Literature, Glimmer Train, The Critical Flame, The Writer’s Chronicle, The Collagist, and The Nervous Breakdown.
Sybil received her MFA in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She spent twelve years teaching in South Korea before returning to the States in 2007. During her extensive travels throughout Asia, she became increasingly interested in the allure and alienation of American travelers and expatriates, and this has heavily influenced her writing. Her family live in South Africa and Turkey, and she is working on a book about how governments affect families. A UC Foundation Professor of English at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Sybil lives in Chattanooga with her husband. In 2015 she was a Visiting Professor at Middle Eastern Technical University in North Cyprus. She is on faculty at the Yale Writers’ Workshop and at VCFA’s international low residency MFA.