Naima Coster


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I was raised in Brooklyn, where I grew up surrounded by family, the cultures of the Caribbean, the mess and vitality of New York City, and music. My early life in New York has left a profound mark upon my identity as a writer of fiction and nonfiction and as a teacher of writing. As an author, my interests include race and racism, urbanism and gentrification, family dynamics and history, intergenerational trauma, subjectivity and interior life, and narratives of self-discovery and self-determination. I have a special interest in literature by and about women of color. I am able to offer craft talks and lectures on writing mental health, writing about race, writing about the self, the management and manipulation of time in narrative fiction, the intersections of life writing and fiction, and the creative uses of memory, among other topics.


A quiet gut-punch of a debut…Absorbing and alive, the kind of novel that swallows you whole. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

This is the story of a family—which means it’s the story of imperfect and vulnerable creatures—failing at love no matter their efforts. In Halsey Street, Naima Coster shows us one young woman’s tangled efforts to return home and repair the intimacies we can hardly live without. It’s a poignant, moving book, written with deep empathy and sophistication. Ben Marcus, author of Leaving the Sea and The Flame Alphabet

In this lovely novel, Naima Coster captures, with depth and nuance, the yearnings, ambivalence, and insecurities of a woman on the brink of adulthood. In the process of healing old wounds, Penelope Grand must mend complex fractures in relationships with her estranged mother in the Dominican Republic and her father in Brooklyn. An exceptional debut that explores how to find meaning within the shifting emotions and tangled webs of connection. —Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and Piece of the World


Naima Coster is the author of Halsey Street, a story of family, loss, and renewal, set in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn (January 2018, Little A). She is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Arts & Letters, Kweli, The Rumpus, Aster(ix), and Guernica, among other places. She studied creative writing at Yale, Fordham University, and Columbia University, where she earned her MFA. Naima is the winner of numerous awards, including the Elmore A. Willets Prize for Fiction and the Margaret Lamb/Writing to the Right-Hand Margin Prize for Fiction. In 2016, Naima became a Pushcart Prize nominee. In 2017, she won the Cosmonauts Avenue Non Fiction Prize, judged by Roxane Gay. Naima is also a teacher of writing and has worked with students in a range of settings from prison to youth programs and universities. Naima tweets about literature, culture, and justice as @zafatista.