Phillippe Diederich is the author of the novels Diamond Park (Dutton, forthcoming in 2022); Playing for the Devil’s Fire (Cinco Puntos Press, 2016), which was named the 2017 Best Young Adult novel by the Texas Institute of Letters and 2017 Young Adult Library Services Association Best Fiction for Young Adults; and Sofrito (Cinco Puntos Press, 2015).
His short fiction has been published in national literary journals including Quarterly West, Acentos Review, Burrow Press, Hobart and others; and included in the anthologies 15 Views of Miami and Tampa Bay Noir. His essays and long-form journalism articles have been published in Cigar Aficionado, Apalachee Review, Sarasota Magazine, The Dallas Morning News and others.
In 2017 Diederich was awarded the PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship. He is the recipient of the Chris O’Malley Prize for Fiction from the Madison Review, an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature from the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs, and a John Ringling Towers Grant in Literature from the Sarasota County Artist Alliance. His short fiction has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes. Diederich has been a keynote speaker at the Atlanta Writers Club, The Florida College English Association, and the Gulf Coast Association of Creative Writing Teachers conference. He has been profiled in NPR, NBC, the Huffington Post and Latinopia Word.
The son of Haitian exiles, Diederich was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Mexico City and Miami. After dropping out of art school, he worked as a photojournalist covering news and feature assignments in the U.S. and Latin America for national publications.
- MFA in Creative Writing, University of South Florida
Areas of Expertise
- Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction
- Personal Essay
My literary interests are quite eclectic. But in the end, it boils down to a good story. Concise writing that tells an engaging tale will get me every time. I have a special place in my heart for the classics and modernists because their work lives outside of today’s genre categories. The same goes for international fiction. Because of my own multi-cultural background, I find storytelling from Latin America particularly engaging.
As for my own writing, my focus is always on the characters. I let them guide me. After all, the story belongs to them. In my fiction, especially my young adult and middle grade stories, I try to address important truths about how we see ourselves and the world, about how we fit—or don’t fit—in society.
When I teach creative writing, my focus is on clear, concise writing, story structure and theme. I try to lead students to the place where stories take shape and become art—the place where the author becomes invisible, and the story grows into the reader’s heart. I help students tap into their creative core and encourage them to find their voice and move forward with their stories. But when it’s all said and done, good writing comes down to structure, discipline, empathy and perseverance—and a hell of a lot of revision.