Born and raised in Antigua, Marie-Elena John, author of the critically acclaimed novel Unburnable, was not considering a literary career when she left her Caribbean island for New York's City College where, thanks to a semester at the University of Nigeria, she became fascinated by the intertwined cultural commonalities of African, Caribbean, and African-American experiences. Throughout her career, she traveled widely throughout the African continent from a Washington D.C. base working on African development and human rights issues. She became known in her field for her work on the inheritance rights of African women.

She then channeled her knowledge of and passion for the Caribbean and Africa into her literary debut, Unburnable, named Best Debut of 2006 by Black Issues Book Review and a finalist for the prestigious Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. Hailed by Essence magazine's book editor as "a major new voice in fiction" Marie-Elena John's assured debut has earned her a place among emerging Caribbean writers. She has just completed the screenplay of Unburnable, and is working on her second novel. With her husband and two children, she currently shares her time between Washington DC and Antigua.