Ben Philippe is a New York-based writer and screenwriter. He is the author of the young adult novels Field Guide to the North American Teenager (Balzer + Bray), winner of the 2020 William C. Morris Award, and Charming as a Verb (Balzer + Bray). In 2021, Philippe published his first work of adult nonfiction, Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend (Harper Perennial).
Whether it’s a work of fiction or non-fiction, at the core of Philippe’s charming, humorous, and heartfelt writings, the reader is provided an opportunity to find common ground through lived experiences and a universal and deeply personal approach that reveals the incisive truths about the need for connection in all of us.
From keynotes to workshops, Phillippe is a popular speaker for school visits, college and university speaker series, and literary festivals.
Born in Haiti and raised in Montreal, Canada, Philippe has a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas.
Praise for Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend:
"I still mute Ben's texts, but I inhaled his hilarious book, which is so full of razor-sharp wit and punches to the gut that it almost made me sick. In a good way!"
-- Samantha Irby, New York Times bestselling author of Wow, No Thank You
"Philippe has created a funny, and at times harrowing, memoir of his experience as a Black man. Fans of similar memoirs, such as Damon Young’s What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, will enjoy the irreverence and recognize themselves in these pages."
-- Library Journal
“Flat-out funny…This is a great next-book for fans of What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, but if a reader hasn’t turned to either of those yet, Philippe’s disarming, illuminating, and hilarious chronicle is a great place to start.”
Praise for Charming as a Verb:
“Henri’s narrative swagger effortlessly charms the reader, but it’s his growing self-awareness that gives this delightful novel its depth… An intelligently narrated romance with plenty of witty banter and a diverse cast.”
-- Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“A witty, well-developed bildungsroman that presents a Black teenager carefully attempting to navigate systems that disproportionately disadvantage him.”
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"This book is quite charming and will have readers cheering for Henri and Corrine....A diverse cast of characters, racial tensions, and ethical dilemmas make this so much more than just a simple romance."
-- School Library Journal (starred review)
“Morris Award winner Phillippe turns up the charm in his sophomore novel…From its dynamic, easy-to-love characters to the endearing prose, this novel easily embodies Henri's cultivated suaveness, and his unusually confident persona, bring a fresh perspective.”
-- ALA Booklist
“This humorous, first-person narrative with a conversational, almost conspiratorial, tone will captivate readers.”
-- Kirkus Reviews
“A witty, humorous, realistic snapshot of the pressures young people face as they make their way into adulthood. Through memorable, multifaceted characters, Philippe explores themes of how race, class, and socioeconomic status can open doors for some, while closing them for others. Refreshing, romantic, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, the book is satisfying and, yes, charming.”
-- Horn Book Magazine
“Packed solid with freestyle wit, real bestie charm, and the everyday diverse glory of New York City.”
-- David Yoon, New York Times bestselling author of Frankly In Love
Praise for The Field Guide to the North American Teenager:
“With a perfect balance of snark, keen observation, and wry humor, Ben Philippe has given us the brilliant Norris Kaplan—by far, the funniest, wittiest, smartest character I’ve ever read! Norris Kaplan would be the perfect teen host for The Daily Show!”
-- Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street, National Book Award finalist
“A witty debut with whip-smart dialogue that will find much love among fans of authors like John Green and Jason Reynolds.”
-- School Library Journal (starred review)
“In Philippe’s funny debut, 16-year-old black French-Canadian Norris Kaplan must navigate life and love in Austin, Tex., after he and his mother move there... Philippe has a gift for dialogue and touches on a few instances of racism with sensitivity and humor in this crowd-pleaser.”
-- Publishers Weekly
“A refreshing, captivating read, one which will definitely appeal to its teen target audience but will also satisfy older readers, who will appreciate its clarity and emotional acuity.”
-- Toronto Star
“Ben Philippe’s sparkling dialogue along with prose that occasionally borders on lyrical (although in a completely cool, hip, manly way) is sure to delight readers. Norris’ evolution from cynical outsider to caring insider is a journey well-worth following—especially as it’s accompanied with laugh out loud moments [and]insightful revelations.”
-- New York Journal of Books
“It’s no longer tenable to imagine that the anxieties of a white heterosexual young man expelled from an expensive prep school capture the spirit of our era. Today’s snarky young anti-hero instead looks like Norris, the black French Canadian boy in The Field Guide to the North American Teenager.”
-- Ron Charles, The Washington Post