Volume 35 • 2021
Alscess Lewis-Brown, Chair
TCW Volume 35 Launched at Virgin Islands Literary Festival & Book Fair
ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — The 35th volume of The Caribbean Writer journal is available. The 2020 edition, a tribute to the late literary icon Kamau Brathwaite, was launched at the upcoming Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair (VI Lit Fest) hosted online from April 30 to May 2, 2021 under the theme, “Diasporic Rhythms II: Interrogating the Past; Imagining a Future”. The volume features poetic and prosaic tributes from award-winning authors and poets as well as not-before published submissions from “The Man Himself.” According to Program Chair Alscess Lewis-Brown, the issue is part of the collective outpourings of gratitude, remembrances and reminiscence lyricized in musings, tributes, celebrations of his life — a continual repast of ubiquitous reminders of his influence.
On Friday April 30, the literary festival will begin at 9 am with Pre LitFest activities aimed at school children while the main part of the weekend program will be staged Saturday afternoon, May 1 from 1 to 6, and from 1 to 6 pm on Sunday, May 2. The Book Bacchanal slated for Friday from 4pm to 6pm is when authors can introduce, read excerpts from and discuss their latest publication. Award-winning authors and publishing agents taking part in the event include Edwidge Danticat, Kwame Dawes, Chike Unigwe, Canisia Lubrin, Vladimir Lucien, Shara McCollum, Jacqueline Bishop, Michela A. Calderaro, Mervyn Taylor, Sele Adeyemi, Stefan Carty, Tiphanie Yanique, Rozena Maart, Tobias Buckell, Cadwell Turnbull, Richard Georges and Biko McMillan, among others.
Throughout the three-day festival, these authors will engage in discussions, conduct poetry and writing workshops, as well as offer editing and publishing tips.
Edwidge Danticat, (born January 19, 1969, Port-au-Prince, Haiti), is a Haitian American author whose works focus on the lives of women and their relationships. She also addressed issues of power, injustice, and poverty.
Danticat received numerous honors, including the Pushcart Short Story Prize and awards from magazines such as The Caribbean Writer and Essence. In 1998 Breath, Eyes, Memory was picked by talk-show host Oprah Winfrey for her television book club. With the selection, Danticat gained a wider audience and greater commercial success. She continued to explore Haitian history in The Dew Breaker (2004), a series of interconnected stories about a Haitian immigrant who had tortured and murdered dissidents during the repressive rule of François Duvalier. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying (2007), won a National Book Critics Circle Award.
Danticat also penned: Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work (2010), a collection of essays concerning the hazards of writing about Haiti while living in the United States. She wrote a segment of the film Girl Rising (2013), a collection of 10 parables about young women from around the world seeking education under difficult circumstances. The novel Claire of the Sea Light (2013) spirals outward from the disappearance of a young girl to tell the stories of the friends and neighbors searching for her in the Haitian seaside town of Ville Rose. Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation (2015) is a children’s book about a young Haitian immigrant to the United States whose mother is incarcerated for not having proper documentation. Untwine (2015), a novel for young adults, concerns the ramifications of a tragic accident that befalls a pair of twins. In The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story (2017), Danticat recounted her own mother’s passing and explored how other writers have depicted death in their work. Everything Inside (2019) is a collection of short stories.
Kwame Dawes is the author of twenty-two books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. His collection, Nebraska was published in 2020. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and teaches at the University of Nebraska and the Pacific MFA Program. He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His awards include an Emmy, the Forward Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry. In 2021, Kwame Dawes was named editor of American Life in Poetry.
Canisia Lubrin is a writer, critic, professor, poet and editor from St. Lucia. She is the author of two collection of poems, “Voodoo Hypothesis” and “The Dyzgraphxst.” She was also a director of the Pivot Reading Series, a biweekly poetry reading series in Toronto, as well as poetry editor at McClelland & Stewart.
Vladimir Lucien is a writer, critic and actor from St. Lucia. His first collection of poetry, “Sounding Ground,” won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. His work has been published in The Caribbean Review of Books, Wasafiri, Small Axe, the PN Review, BIM, Caribbean Beat and other journals, as well as an poetry anthology titled, “Beyond Sangre Grande.”
Jacqueline Bishop is a writer, visual artist and photographer. She is a professor at the School of Liberal Studies at New York University.
She is the founder of Calabash, an online journal of Caribbean art and letters, housed at NYU. She is the author of The River’s Song (2007), two collections of poems, Fauna (2006) and Snapshots from Istanbul (2009), a 2007 art book entitled Writers Who Paint, Painters Who Write: 3 Three Jamaican Artists (which features the work of Earl McKenzie and Ralph Thompson, as well as her own work), and The Gymnast and Other Positions (2015), a collection of short stories, essays and interviews, which won the nonfiction category of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (2019).
Rozena Maart is the winner of “The Journey Prize: Best Short Fiction in Canada, 1992,” the recipient of the William R. Jones award, a lifetime achievement award for philosophy, and a recent appointee as an International Research Ambassador for the University of Bremen in Germany. She is a scholar and researcher who works between and among Political Philosophy, Black Consciousness, psychoanalysis, Critical Race, Theory and Derridean deconstruction. She joined the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban in 2011.
Summer Edward is a Trinidadian-American writer, children’s editor, educator, literary activist and children’s literature specialist based in the US.
Yona Deshommes is President of Riverchild Media, a public relations firm specializing in the promotion of books by and for authors of color. She is a former publicity director at Simon and Schuster publishing.
Chika Unigwe is a widely translated and widely published author of novels , short stories and nonfiction. She has won awards for her writing including the $100,000 Nigeria Literature Award. She teaches writing at Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville.
Shara McCallum is the author of six books published in the US & UK, including No Ruined Stone. McCallum’s poems and essays have appeared in journals, anthologies, and textbooks throughout the US, Shara McCallum Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Israel. La historia es un cuarto/History is a Room, an anthology of poems selected from across her six books and translated into Spanish by Adalber Salas Hernández, will be published in 2021 by Mantis Editores in Mexico. In addition to Spanish, her poems have been translated into Italian, French, Romanian, Turkish, and Dutch and have been set to music by composers Marta Gentilucci and Gity Razaz. Awards for her work include the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (for her previous book, Madwoman), a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, the Oran Robert Perry Burke Award for Nonfiction, and the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize (for her first book, The Water Between Us). The 2021-22 Penn State Laureate is presently on the faculty of the Pacific Low-Residency MFA and is a Professor of English at Penn State University.
Michela A. Calderaro has been an Associate Editor of Calabash – A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters for the entire decade of its publication, as well as teaches English and Postcolonial Literature.
She is the author of A Silent New World: Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End, editor of Spring Evenings in Sterling Street: Poems by Eliot Bliss, has just published Creole writer Eliot Bliss’s biography Sheer Bliss. A Creole Journey, and has completed the translation of St. Martin poet Lasana Sekou’s poems into Italian.
Mervyn Taylor, Trinidad-born poet and longtime Brooklyn resident, has taught at Bronx Community College, The New School and in the New York City public school system. He is the author of seven books of poetry, including No Back Door (2010), The Waving Gallery (2014), and most recently, Country of Warm Snow (2020), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation that was long listed for the Bocas Poetry Prize. About his work, Derek Walcott said, “Taylor’s poems possess an admirable degree of subtlety, and a tone that keeps him separate and unique.” A chapbook of poems titled, News of the Living: Corona Poems was also published in 2020. Currently, he serves as co-editor of Slapering Hol Press, Hudson Valley, NY.
Sele Adeyemi is originally from St.Thomas, VI. Over the last forty years he has taught history on the secondary and tertiary levels in St. Thomas, St. Croix and Virginia. He is the author of Engaging Freedom’s Journey.
Stefan Carty is the youngest of Leo Carty’s four sons and has followed in his father’s footsteps. He is an accomplished artist in his own right, winning a borough-wide art contest in Brooklyn, NY at age 12 and earning the honor of having his artwork was on exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. In 1983, he moved to live with his father in St. Croix and attended St. Dunstan’s. He has a BS degree in Business Administration from St. Paul’s College, an MBA and Masters of Management from the University of Phoenix and has had a successful career in business. In 2020, he founded Carty Fine Art Studios in commemoration of the 10th year of his father’s passing but more importantly, to ensure that the legacy of Leo Carty and his contributions to the arts and culture of the Virgin Islands will live on for generations.
Lisa Allen-Agostini is an author, editor and stand-up comedian from Trinidad and Tobago. Her latest novel, The Bread the Devil Knead, is published in May 2021 by Myriad Editions UK. Her previous books include YA lit titles The Chalice Project and Home Home, the poetry collection Swallowing the Sky, and the crime anthology Trinidad Noir, which she co-edited. Find her on social Instagram and Facebook, or at her website lisaallen-agostini.com
Lucien Downes is a contemporary, abstract, figurative, artist. that demonstrates freedom of thought and expression through mixed media. His works are composed of spiritual and worldly elements that function independently at times or merge to encompass a whole. Lucien utilizes resin, acrylic, fibers, raw pigments, plexi glass and sometimes found objects, to create his pieces.
Lucien’s work has been exhibited at the Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, The Alliance Theater for the Arts, The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts, Top Hat Gallery, Marjorie Robbins Gallery, The Caribbean Fine Arts Exhibit, and The Caribbean Colour Exhibit just to name a few.
He has had several one man shows,( “Acention”, “Visions”, “Fazes” ) and participated in numerous group shows around the Caribbean and United States. His pieces are displayed in the homes of Maya Angelou, Teddy Rielly , and many private collections around the world.
Lucien was born and raised in the United States Virgin Islands ( St. Croix) and Currently resides between Miami, Atlanta, and St. Croix.
Deng Thiak Adut is a defence lawyer and refugee advocate in Western Sydney, Australia, and a former child soldier from South Sudan. His story is told in a popular short video by Western Sydney University, where he earned his law degree. He was named the 2017 New South Wales Australian of the Year. A member of the Dinka people, Adut was born near Malek, a small fishing village in South Sudan near White Nile River. One of eight children, he had a happy early childhood spent with his family at their banana farm. In 1987 at the age of 6 or 7 years, Adut was taken from his mother and marched for 33 days to Ethiopia along with 30 other child conscripts and forced to fight for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in the Second Sudanese Civil War. In 1995, Adut’s older half-brother, John Mac, smuggled Adut out of Sudan at night in a truck under sacks of corn. Adut spent 18 months in a refugee camp in Kenya. The United Nations granted both brothers refugee status and, in 1998 when Adut was 14, Australia granted both boys a visa.
Ronald Hewitt is a Native Virgin Islander from the island of St. Croix He is a historian and school teacher
Carol O’BRYAN Henneman is a career educator and a published writer and motivational speaker.
Lewis Gordon is also Honorary President and Core Professor at the Global Center for Advanced Studies; Honorary Professor at the Unit of the Humanities at Rhodes University (UHURU), South Africa and a musician who regularly performs in blues, jazz, reggae, and rock bands. He has lectured across the globe. His books include Bad Faith and Anti-Black Racism (Humanities Press, 1995), Her Majesty’s Other Children (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997), Existentia Africana (Routledge, 2000), Disciplinary Decadence (Routledge, 2006), An Introduction to Africana Philosophy (Cambridge UP, 2008) and, more recently, What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction to His Life and Thought (NY: Fordham UP; London: Hurst; Johannesburg: Wits UP, 2015; in Swedish, Vad Fanon Sa, Stockholm: TankeKraft förlag, 2016), La sud prin nord-vest: Reflecţii existenţiale afrodiasporice, trans. Ovidiu Tichindeleanu (Cluj, Romania: IDEA Design & Print, 2016), and, with Fernanda Frizzo Bragato, Geopolitics and Decolonization: Perspectives from the Global South (London, UK: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2018). Interested persons can connect with him at https://www.facebook.com/LewisGordonPhilosopher and https://twitter.com/lewgord.
Dr. Kerry-Ann Escayg is an assistant professor of early childhood education at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. As an anti-racist and anti-colonial scholar committed to fostering racial equity in the early years, Dr. Escayg—via both pedagogy and research—challenges racial and attendant economic injustices affecting Black children and families in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean. Theoretical approaches ranging from Black feminism, anti-colonialism, and anti-racism, to Caribbean anti-colonial theory, as well as creative expressions of resistance including short stories, poetry, and other fictional modes, combine to inform her scholarly and creative output. Dr. Escayg has also developed and advocates for anti-racism in early childhood education. Recently, she further established this pedagogical model by creating an anti-racist professional development program consisting of several interrelated study modules for early childhood educators.
Dr. Stephanie Fearon provides leadership in education within Canada and internationally. She is the program coordinator for the Equity, Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, as well as the Model Schools for Inner Cities departments at the Toronto District School Board. In this role, Dr. Fearon provides leadership to administrators and system leaders in implementing policies and practices that promote student academic achievement, wellbeing, and belonging in schools.
Dr. Fearon has a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy from the University of Toronto. Her research draws on Black storytelling traditions to explore the ways that Black families and educational institutions partner to support student wellbeing. Dr. Fearon’s work uses literary and visual arts to communicate, in a structured, creative, and accessible form, insights gleaned from stories shared by Black mothers and their families. Her extensive academic and professional experiences have led her to work with system leaders, classroom educators, and community organizations across the country and internationally.
Tiphanie Yanique from Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, is a Caribbean American fiction writer, poet and essayist who lives in New York. In 2010 the National Book Foundation named her a “5 Under 35” honoree. She also teaches creative writing, currently based at Emory University.
Richard Georges is a writer of essays, fiction, and three collections of poetry. His most recent book, Epiphaneia (2019), won the 2020 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and his first book, Make Us All Islands (2017), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. His second book, Giant (2018), was highly commended by the Forward Prizes and longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize.
Richard is a recipient of a Fellowship from the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study and has been listed or nominated for several other prizes, including the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, and a Pushcart Prize. In 2020, Richard was appointed the first Virgin Islands Poet Laureate. He works in higher education and lives on Tortola with his wife and children.
Luc Cadet is the Founder and Business Director of Abantu Audio, which was founded in 2015. His roots begin in Haiti but extend wherever he travels, whatever he experiences and all those he brings humor and light to. Through this platform he seeks to bring more understanding and truth to society with oral stories and narratives of underrepresented communities. These stories will help to empower current and future generations with the knowledge needed to make a better tomorrow. With these deeply rooted passions it felt natural to build a platform like Abantu Audio dedicated to empowering authors of color who capture the many beautiful hues within their communities. He’s a big fan of Hip-hop (that ol real ish; Mobb Deep reference) and has a Haitian background (sak pase Zoe). He’s typically reading up on Malcolm X and other prolific thinkers.
Luc also holds two degrees (Computer Information Systems and Management) from The University of Texas at El Paso.
This year, festival planners have cast a wide net for full community participation; therefore, the sessions are free, according to Program Chair, Alscess Lewis-Brown. However, participants are required to register.
This event would not be possible without the support of a number of partners. They include US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, The University of the Virgin Islands, The VI Lottery, VIVOT Equipment Corporation: Harnessing the power of heavy!, St. Croix Foundation, Cane Roots Art Gallery, Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts, The Caribbean Writer, Undercover Books, Douglas Cantón and Pepperpot Press, LLC.
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