Geoffrey Philp was educated at Seaward Primary, Mona Primary, and Jamaica College, where he played on the Manning Cup team and was the literary editor for the school’s yearbook. While he was at Jamaica College, he founded a school newsletter, “YouthTalk,” and in sixth form, studied literature under the tutelage of Dennis Scott taught literature, who became his mentor. Geoffrey published his first poem, “Eve, For E.M.” in the Sunday Gleaner, and his first short story, “Caution,” in the Creative Arts journal edited by John Hearne.
Geoffrey left Jamaica in 1979 and attended Miami Dade College and the University of Miami, where he earned his Master of Arts at the University of Miami. During his tenure at the University of Miami, he worked with Dr. O.R. Dathorne, Director of Caribbean, African, and African American Studies. He studied fiction with Isaac Bashevis Singer and Lester Goran, who nominated him for a James Michener fellowship. After graduating from the University of Miami, Geoffrey taught for six years with Dade County Public Schools and twenty-six years with Miami Dade College as a professor and chair of the College Prep Department.
Geoffrey Philp is the author of five books of poetry, two collections of short stories, three children’s books, and two novels, including Garvey’s Ghost. His poems and short stories have been published in The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse, sx salon, World Literature Today, The Johannesburg Review of Books, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories, Bearden’s Odyssey Poets Respond to the Art of Romare Bearden, Rattle: Poets Respond, and Crab Orchard Review.
A recipient of the Luminary Award from the Consulate of Jamaica (2015) and a former chair for the 2019 OCM Bocas Prize for Poetry, Philp’s work is featured on The Poetry Rail at The Betsy–an homage to 12 writers who shaped Miami culture. He is currently working on a collection of poems, “Letter from Marcus Garvey,” and a graphic novel for children, “My Name is Marcus.”
Geoffrey’s books deal with different aspects of Caribbean culture and Blackness, including what it’s like to grow up fatherless, Caribbean religions like Rastafarianism, Christianity, and African folklore. He’s earned many awards for his writing, including an Individual Artist Grant from the state of Florida, a James Michener fellowship from the University of Miami, and an artist in residency at the Seaside Institute.