Helen Klonaris is a Greek-Bahamian writer, teacher, and energy medicine practitioner, who, after living in Northern California for 17 years, has recently returned to her hometown of Nassau, Bahamas.
Her early years in the Bahamas were spent working as a human rights activist, raising awareness around issues that ranged from capital punishment to violence against women to discrimination against GLBT Bahamians. She was the founder and co-founder of several socially significant organizations, including The Rainbow Alliance of the Bahamas, and several literary journals, collectives, and associations, including WomanSpeak, a Journal for Caribbean Women’s Literature and Art and the Bahamas Writers Summer Institute.
In 2017 her debut collection of stories If I Had the Wings was published by Peepal Tree Press and was a finalist in the 2018 BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Literature. Also in 2017 Helen was awarded the International Writer in Residence at the Small Wonder Short Story Festival. In 2015 she co-edited Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices with poet Amir Rabiyah. And in 2014 her short story “Cowboy” was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Her nonfiction and fiction have been published in numerous North American and Caribbean journals including Transition, Calyx, So to Speak, The Caribbean Writer, Poui, Small Axe Salon, Proud Flesh, Sargasso, Anthurium, Tongues of the Ocean, Yinna, and Lucayos. Her work also appears in several anthologies including The Peepal Tree Book of Contemporary Caribbean Short Stories, Let’s Tell This Story Properly, The Haunted Tropics: Caribbean Ghost Stories, Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writings, Caribbean Erotic, and The Racial Imaginary: Writers and the Life of the Mind.
A writer and performer, she co-curated The Walls Project, performed at the 2011 National Queer Arts Festival, and collaborated and performed in Mixed, Blended, and Whole, NQAF 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Wesleyan University, studied with renowned Caribbean writers at the Caribbean Writers Summer Institute at the University of Miami, and received a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Consciousness from New College of California. In addition to her writing and teaching, Helen has weaved her explorations in Jungian psychology, energy and plant medicines, quantum and shamanic healing into a program for personal and transformational healing and liberation. She combines her passion for the sacred, social and ecological justice, healing and the literary arts to create transformative experiences within community.