Zee Edgell

Born: 1940

Ohio connection: Resident


Zee Edgell was born Zelma Inez Tucker in Belize City, British Honduras (now Belize) on October 21, 1940.  She is the oldest child of Clive Tucker, an import-export worker and Veronica Walker Tucker a homemaker and poet.  Edgell and her siblings were raised in during the country’s difficult economic times and political upheaval.  Her novels illustrate the culture and ethnic struggles of Belizean society. Edgell has earned degrees from The Regent Street Polytechnic (of Central London) and The University of the West Indies.  In 1968, Zee married American Al Edgell a director of CARE in Belize.  Her husband’s job provided them the opportunity to live throughout the world including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Nigeria, and Somalia. Zee Edgell’s career includes journalism (journalist and editor), Educator (high school teacher and college professor) and novelist.  She has been an active member within the government of her native land as well as organizations associated with women’s affairs, vice president of the YWCA in Enugui, Nigeria, and served as an UNICEF Consultant to the Somali Women’s Democratic Organization.  In 1986, the Edgell family returned to Belize and both Zee and Al taught at The University College of Belize.  In 1993, the Edgell’s moved to Ohio where Zee became a tenured professor of English at Kent State University. Her first novel, Beka Lamb, published in 1982 was awarded Britain’s Fawcett Society Book Prize.  This prize is awarded annually to a work of fiction that contributes to an understanding of women’s position in society today.  More novels followed including In Times Like These (1991), The Festival of San Joaquin (1997), Time and the River (2007).  Her short stories include “Longtime Story” (1998), “My Uncle Theopolis” (1999), “The Entertainment” (2001), and “My Father and the Confederate Soldier” (2006). Al and Zee Edgell have two children and three grandchildren. She has retired from Kent State and as of this writing has relocated to St. Louis, Missouri.

Fawcett Society, Book Prize, for Beka Lamb (1982) and Canute Brodhurst Prize for “My Uncle Theopolis” (1999).