Nicole Sealey was born in St Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, and raised in Apopka, Florida. She is the author of ordinary beast (Ecco, US, 2017; Bloodaxe Books, UK, 2023), which was a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the ferguson report: an erasure (Alfred A. Knopf, US, & Bloodaxe Books, UK, 2023). Her chapbook, The Animal After Whom Other Animals are Named (Northwestern University Press, 2016), was the winner of the 2016 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize.
Excerpts from the ferguson report: an erasure have appeared in The Paris Review, The Nation and Poetry London, while 'Pages 22-29, an excerpt from the ferguson report: an erasure' won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2021.
Sealey’s honours include the 2021 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, the 2021 Granum Foundation Prize, a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial and Poetry International Prizes, as well as fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, CantoMundo, Cave Canem, The Hermitage Artist Retreat, MacDowell, the National Endowment and New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Poetry Project.
Sealey served as the Executive Director at Cave Canem Foundation from 2017 to 2019. She is a visiting professor at Boston University and teaches in the MFA Writers Workshop in Paris program at New York University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
In 2017, she started The Sealey Challenge, an annual online community challenge to read one book of poetry each day for the month of August.
Author photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths