Nicole Dennis-Benn

People and Place

“Create a world for your characters to move around in; if not you cannot fully conjure them.” – Toni Morrison

Characters are essential to the story; so is setting. Setting provides a world for the story to take place. But more than that, setting reveals a lot about the characters—who they are; their culture and the social circumstances that shape them and affect the decisions they make. Through reading, writing, and discussion, we will explore methods to use the physical environment as a characterization tool, which will undoubtedly make the story richer and more memorable. 


Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of the acclaimed novel, Patsy, (Norton/Liveright, June 2019), which Time Magazine called “stunning,” and the debut novel, Here Comes the Sun (Norton/Liveright, July 2016). She is s a Lambda Literary Award winner and a recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Grant. Time Out Magazine has described Dennis-Benn as an immigrant putting her stamp on New York City and Vice named her among immigrant authors “who are making American Literature great again.” 

Patsy has received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist and has been lauded by the New York Times, NPR, Washington Post, Time Magazine, The Atlantic, Publisher’s Weekly, Newsday, PEOPLE Magazine, Elle, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, Harper’s Bazaar, Bustle, among others. “Patsy fills a literary void with compassion, complexity and tenderness,” raves Time Magazine; and according to NPR, “Dennis-Benn is quickly becoming an indispensable novelist, and Patsy is a brave, brilliant triumph of a book.”

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