A Conversation With... Andrea Shaw


Where were you born? Describe current family life.     

I was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and I now live in South Florida with my husband, our two children, my mother, and our two dogs.
What do you do for a living? Why did you choose this vocation?

I work at Nova Southeastern University where I serve as assistant director of the Division of Humanities and as associate professor of English. I teach courses in literature, writing and cultural studies. I am also a writer—fiction, essays, and literary and cultural studies scholarship.
Who are your three favorite writers? Why?

Hmmm…Toni Morrison, John Maxwell Coetzee, and Edwidge Danticat. They are all so deft with language and can manipulate it in ways that leave you feeling as if they have done nothing but tell you a story the way they would tell you if you sat beside them on a bus.

What was the first book you fell in love with and how have your reading habits changed over the years?

My first affair with a book was with Morrison’s Beloved. After reading it I thought about the story for weeks: in the middle of lunch, while playing with my kids, while watching a butterfly drift past, it just kept coming back to me.  

This book helped me know that I am interested in myself. Stories that explore the lives of people of color, women, Caribbean people—stories that help me understand and contemplate my own history are what I’m drawn to.

What are you reading now?

The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. I rarely read outside of my area of academic interest –African diaspora studies. I feel that I need to branch out and this book is all the rave now so I am giving it a try.  

What makes you laugh?

Imagining what my dogs must be saying to themselves about us. My family also makes me laugh.  On their own no one is particularly funny, but when we are all together, something happens!

What are your other passions?

Art, interior design, cooking, music.

About Andrea Shaw:

Andrea Shaw is assistant director of the Division of Humanities and an associate professor of English at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale . She is a scholar of Caribbean and African Diaspora studies and author of The Embodiment of Disobedience: Fat Black Women's Unruly Political Bodies. She is also a creative writer. Her creative and scholarly writing have been published in numerous journals, including World Literature Today, MaComére, The Caribbean Writer, Crab Orchard Review, Feminist Media Studies, Social Semiotics, and FEMSPEC.She graduated from the University of Miami with a Ph.D. in English and from Florida International University with an M.F.A in creative writing. She is on the editorial board of Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal and on the board of the Women’s International Film Festival. She and her husband, Dean Nevins, are owners of Irie Isle Jamaican Restaurant.

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