Place of birth
Place of residence
National identity
United States of America

Opal Palmer Adisa

Short biography
Opal Palmer Adisa is a Jamaica-born, award-winning poet, educator and storyteller. A performance poet and writer, she is the author of twelve books including: I Name Me Name, Until Judgement Comes & Caribbean Passion. Her poetry, essays and stories have been anthologized in over two hundred journals; she travels and shares her work internationally.

Diverse and multi-genre, Opal Palmer Adisa, is an exceptional talent, nurtured on cane-sap and the oceanic breeze of Jamaica. Writer of both poetry and prose, photographer, curator, professor, educator and cultural activist, Adisa has lectured and read her work throughout the United States, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Germany, England and Prague, and has performed in Italy and Bosnia. An award-winning poet and prose writer Adisa has fourteen titles to her credit, including the novel, It Begins With Tears (1997), which Rick Ayers proclaimed as one of the most motivational works for young adults. She has been a resident artist in internationally acclaimed residencies such as El Gounda (Egypt), Sacatar Institute (Brazil) and McColl Center, (North Carolina) and Headlines Center for the Arts (California, USA). Opal Palmer Adisa’s work has been reviewed by Ishmael Reed, Al Young, and Alice Walker, who described her work as “solid, visceral, important stories written with integrity and love.”

Following in the tradition of the African “griot” Opal Palmer Adisa, an accomplished storyteller, commands the mastery and extraordinary talent of storytelling, exemplary of her predecessors. Through her imaginative characterizations of people, places and things, she is able to transport her listeners to the very wonderlands she creates.

Curator and photographer, her photographs have been published and exhibited in the US, Egypt, North Carolina and Brazil.

A gifted diversity trainer, literary critic, and proud mother of three accomplished children, Opal is the former parenting editor and host of KPFA Radio Parenting show in Berkley, California.  She currently writes The Graduate Parent for the “Healthy You,” website and writes a bi-monthly poetry column for The Daily News, STT. Adisa has published hundreds of articles on different aspects of parenting, writing and poetry and is currently writing a book on effective parenting.

Currently, Adisa is the University Director at The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, for the Institute for Gender and Development Studies. Before this, she was a full professor of creative writing and literature in the MFA program at California College of the Arts. She has also been a visiting professor at several universities including, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and University of the Virgin Islands. Her poetry, stories, essays and articles on a wide range of subjects have been collected in over 400 journals, anthologies and other publications, including Essence Magazine. She has also conducted workshops in elementary through high school, museums, churches and community centers, as well as in prison and juvenile centers.

Opal Palmer Adisa is a vivacious, motivational speaker who will enthrall and mesmerize you with her words. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica.