Christine Bell

Remarkably gifted..." "... refuses to play it safe…” “ ...she has the magic touch." Just a few of the phrases used by critics to describe the work of Christine Bell, they could well have been uttered by her professors at Mercy College, who encouraged her writing with "honesty, patience and enthusiasm." Graduating in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in English, Bell, who dreamed of being a writer, held numerous jobs to support herself. While living in Miami, she worked as part of the cardiac emergency team in a Miami hospital. It was there that she was exposed to the results of the Mariel boatlift, inspiring the characters for her second novel, The Perez Family.


Her first novel, Saint, which she finished as she was already developing the second, won the American Library Award for Notable Fiction in 1991. The Notable Books Council, which offers the award, creates a list each year of 25 books that they consider to be good, readable, and important. That year, she returned to Mercy as the speaker at the annual Christie Lecture.


From this auspicious beginning, Bell's next book, The Perez Family, enjoyed a differ ent kind of success. The novel, the story of a Cuban political prisoner who arrives in Miami with the 1980 Mariel boatlift and confronts tangled personal relationships and cultural struggles, was made into a movie starring Anjelica Huston and Marisa Tomei in 1995. The fame of The Perez Family may be repeated, with Saint currently being optioned for a movie.

 In 1997, the author was presented with the Mercy College Hispanic Committee's Éxito Award for Excellence in Letters. Currently living in Nashville, Tennessee, her most recent book, The Seven-Year Atomic Make-Over Guide and Other Stories, a collection of short stories, was called by critic Chauncey Mabe,”.. the author's most accomplished writing.”