Erna Brodber is perhaps the Caribbean writer who has engaged most complexly with the meaning of Emancipation across her novels and critical work. For August, the month when we mark Emancipation, we turn our attention to the writings of Erna Brodber. Join us from August 14-21 when Leighan Renaud (@LeighanRenaud) will be looking at the life, fiction and nonfiction of Erna Brodber.
“I will consider the ways that Brodber engages with many aspects of Caribbean studies through both ethnography and fiction. I will consider in detail Brodber’s engagement with the fractal, and think about the possibilities of the fractal as a model for a Caribbean cosmology.”
Leighan Renaud (@LeighanRenaud) is a lecturer in Caribbean Literatures and Cultures at the University of Bristol, UK. She completed her PhD in 2018, and her research focused on representations of matrifocality in contemporary Caribbean literature. Leighan’s research interests include Caribbean family, Caribbean folklore and storytelling practices. Leighan is also incoming Chair of the Society for Caribbean Studies.
You can read Leighan Renaud’s essay ‘“The end linked with the beginning and was even the beginning”: Fractal Poetics in Erna Brodber’s Nothing’s Mat” in JWIL Vol. 28, No. 2 November 2020.
Join us from July 17-24, 2023 for our next JWIL Twitter residency when Amanda M. Smith (@amandanzas) will be sharing her research. She writes, “The geographic expanse that we call the Caribbean after the Carib peoples straddles islands, seas, and continents and has always been a pluricultural and plurilinguistic region. These qualities, which make the Caribbean fascinating to study, also make it challenging to navigate as students and scholars. How do we demarcate the necessary limits of our areas of focus as literary and cultural critics? Colonially? Nationally? Linguistically? What kinds of cartographies inform our studies and how can we think beyond them? As a Latin Americanist who came to the Caribbean via the Amazon, and then up the Orinoco with Rómulo Gallegos, in this Twitter residency with the Journal of West Indian Literature, I explore the fluidity of regional divisions. Specifically, I will focus on how attention to Indigenous traditions, even those appropriated by national literary and artistic traditions, offer one way of charting new maps of the Caribbean. My examination of how the pan-Indigenous shamanic practice of kanaima informs literary and artistic production across Venezuela and Guyana (two countries rarely considered together in literary and cultural studies) offers a lens through which to reimagine the region, but other areas of study as well. I will highlight the work of Wilson Harris, Mark McWatt, Pauline Melville, George Simon, Rómulo Gallegos, and Lino Figueroa, among others.”
Amanda M. Smith (@amandanzas) is associate professor of Latin American literature and culture at UC Santa Cruz. Her book, Mapping the Amazon: Literary Geography after the Rubber Boom (Liverpool University Press, 2021), examines how stories told about the Amazon in canonical twentieth-century novels have shaped the way people across the globe understand and use the region. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies and is PI on a Modern Endangered Archives Program grant to digitize the Biblioteca Amazónica of Iquitos, Peru.
You can read Prof. Smith’s essay “From Indigenous Practice to Trope: Kanaima in the Literary Geography of the Guiana Shield” in JWIL Vol 31 No 1 (Nov 2022).
Call for papers for a conference being hosted from 29 November – 1 December 2023 at the University of Wollongong, Sydney Campus, Australia. The conference is being convened by Challenging Precarity: A Global Network (CPGN) and the South Pacific Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (SPACLALS). The organisers invite scholars and experts from disciplines in the humanities, especially in literary, visual and cultural studies, as well as those working in the social sciences, to examine multiple frameworks, methodological approaches, and critical lenses in contextualising the theme “Precarious Planet: Disability, Rights and Justice”, and to provide interventions into the pressing concerns of our present times and future lives. Papers considering the relation between the conference theme and the situation(s) of precarity in the Global South are strongly encouraged. Global and local indigenous Pacific, Aotearoa New Zealand, and First Nations Australian perspectives will be particularly considered. For more details, consult https://southpacificaclals.wixsite.com/website/about-1
Submission of abstracts: 1 July 2023
Acceptance email: 18 August 2023
Join us from June 26-July 3, 2023 for our next JWIL Twitter residency. Tzarina Prater (@TzarinaTPrater) will explore the life, work and contributions of the late Victor L. Chang, who was Editor in Chief of JWIL and senior lecturer in the Department of Literatures in English at UWI.
In her work, Tzarina Prater (@TzarinaTPrater) has used the term “digital diasporic elegy” to describe a set of contemporary texts, practices and forms of participation circulating among diasporic subjects on social media platforms. These modes of memorial and memorializing take up death, dying, loss, mourning, and lamentation as their subject matter” (Archipelagos). This residency aims to create one such space where a digital, diasporic practice of elegy might be enacted. (https://archipelagosjournal.org/assets/issue05/prater-elegy.pdf)
In imagining this residency as a space of and for memory object collection relating to the late Victor L. Chang, we focus on what remains, on the laughter, love, salty, and sweet, on inherent conditions that make us human. On grace.
If you are interested in contributing in any way to this week of remembering and to what we imagine as a living archive, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tzarina T. Prater is an Associate Professor of English in Bentley University’s English and Media Studies Department. Her book project, Labrish and Mooncakes: Afterlives of Chinese Indenture in Jamaican Literary and Cultural Production, is under contract with SUNY Press.
May 20th, 2023 is Samuel Selvon’s 100th Birthday! Join us between May 22nd and May 29th for our next JWIL Twitter residency when Nalini Mohabir (@nene_mtl) will reflect on Samuel Selvon @ 100!
Samuel Selvon (b. May 20, 1923) was an important writer of his generation. His work explored questions of race, migration, diaspora, and postcolonialism. His life was also a transnational one lived between the Caribbean, England, and Canada. This weeklong JWIL Twitter residency reflects on some of the key themes in Selvon’s work and celebrates his important writings. It also serves as a digital correlative to a plenary panel that has been convened for the 2023 Canadian Association for Postcolonial Studies (formerly CACLALS) conference in Toronto from May 28 to 31, 2023. The panel, titled “Selvon @ 100”, celebrates Selvon’s life and work and will feature presentations by Cornel Bogle, Ronald Cummings, Nalini Mohabir (@nene_mtl) and Kris Singh (@Kris__Singh). Visit this link for details: http://caclals.ca/wp-content/uploads/Conference-Program-2023.pdf
Nalini Mohabir is associate professor of Postcolonial Geographies at Concordia University, Montreal.
During her Twitter residency on Maryse Condé, Kavita Ashana Singh (@kavitaashana) reflects on how life and writing are inseparable in the Guadeloupean writer’s oeuvre. Condé is the winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize for Literature (2019), and now two-time finalist for the International Booker Prize (amongst numerous other accolades).
Kavita Ashana Singh (@kavitaashana) is a Caribbean Literature Professor at the University of Houston and a former student of Condé’s. Her book, Carnival Language (Rutgers UP, 2024) dedicates a chapter to how Condé plays mas’ with literary categories while inventing her own language for telling the truth. Singh’s interview with Condé appears in JWIL‘s November 2022 issue.
This year marks seventy years since the 1953 publication of George Lamming’s In the Castle of My Skin. In our March 27-April 3, 2023 Twitter residency, Alfrena Jamie Pierre (@AlfrenaJamiePi) reflects on Lamming’s classic novel, described by Bruce King and others as one of the foundational texts of anglophone Caribbean Literature. In her praise of Lamming’s work at his memorial service on July 1, 2022, Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, argued that “In the Castle of My Skin said so much for each and every Barbadian and Caribbean person.” In this residency, Pierre reexamines this novel for the issues it addresses regarding notions of Caribbean being. She explores “The God Question” as presented by Lamming and broaches the topic of Christianity’s relevance for examining Caribbean lived reality. Pierre frames her interrogations of the novel through the theorizations of various scholars, including those of Lamming himself.
Alfrena Jamie Pierre ( @AlfrenaJamiePi ) is a PhD Candidate in Literatures in English at The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago. Her research interests include representations of Christianity in literature, the work of George Lamming, Caribbean poetics, identity and trauma. She has presented academic papers on Lamming’s oeuvre at local, regional and international conferences and has also published on Lamming’s work.
Her tribute to Lamming appears in the UWI, Cave Hill Campus’s CHILL News 60th Anniversary edition (March 2023). https://sta.uwi.edu/uwitoday/archive/july_2022/article2.asp
You can also read tributes to George Lamming by Aaron Kamugisha, Curdella Forbes and Honor Ford Smith in the most recent issue of JWIL (Vol. 31 No. 1). https://www.jwilonline.org/current-issue/
We at JWIL mourn the premature passing of Professor Jennifer Rahim (UWI – St. Augustine). Her work is part of a rich tradition of gifted Caribbean writers who were also brilliant scholars. Her commitment to teaching and mentorship of Caribbean students and newer writers continues to bear fruit. A poet as well as writer of fiction and criticism, she was the winner of the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for her 2017 fiction collection, Curfew Chronicles. A prolific writer, her poetry collections were Between the Fence and the Forest (2007), Approaching Sabbaths (2009) which was awarded a Casa de las Américas Prize, Redemption Rain (2011), Ground Level (2014) and Sanctuaries of Invention (2021). Her short story collection Songster and Other Stories was published in 2007.
Her scholarly work appeared in many key Caribbean publications including Anthurium, Small Axe, Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, and JWIL. Her article on poetry as an enterprise of recovery in the work of Olive Senior and Lorna Goodison was published in JWIL‘s April 1999 issue. Her essay on the challenges to heteronormativity posed by Alfred Mendes’ Black Fauns (1935) and Jamaica Kincaid’s My Brother (1995) appeared in JWIL‘s April 2005 issue.
Peepal Tree Press founder and managing editor, Jeremy Poynting, who was working closely with Rahim on her forthcoming novel, Goodbye Bay, marks her invaluable contribution to Caribbean letters movingly here.
Hosted by the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus (Kingston, Jamaica), the 41st Annual West Indian Literature Conference invites papers and panel proposals that explore the critical connections in Caribbean literary and cultural studies. With this year’s focus on connections, the conference seeks to bring together academics, postgraduate students, creative practitioners, secondary school educators, and the general public to both critically assess the literature and celebrate the scholarly analysis of West Indian (Caribbean) literary artists. This gathering also takes the opportunity to recognize the connections between West Indian music and West Indian writing. It will honor the life and brilliant cultural criticism of the late Professor Emeritus Gordon Rohlehr (UWI, St Augustine). It will also celebrate the 30th anniversary of the publication of Noises in the Blood by Professor Emerita Carolyn Cooper (UWI, Mona) and Woman Version by Professor Emerita Evelyn O’Callaghan (UWI, Cave Hill). These two texts continue to inspire scholars to make new critical connections among gender, music, orality and literature. See full call here – WILC 2023 CFP
Join us between February 13-20 for another JWIL Twitter residency! Alexis Pauline Gumbs (@alexispauline) will be sharing about the life and work of Audre Lorde whose birthday is on February 18th.
Alexis will be focusing on poems Lorde wrote in the volume The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance while living in St. Croix at the end of her life. Alexis will be choosing a poem from that collection for each day, sharing a favorite line or two and tweeting about how they reflect on Lorde’s eternal life and Caribbean poetics.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs (@alexispauline) is a cherished oracle and community-accountable queer Black feminist author and scholar. She is a granddaughter of the Anguillian revolution, an aspirational cousin to all life, an exuberant facilitator, student, mentor and educator. Devoted listener and multi-dimensional archivist, Alexis honors Black feminism as a spiritual tradition, a political legacy and a relevant resource for everyone on the planet. Alexis is co-founder of MOBILE HOMECOMING, where she partners with Sangodare to connect generations of LGBTQ Black Visionaries to each other in a myriad of tangible ways that constitute an experiential archive of sustainable brilliance. Author of Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals, Dub: Finding Ceremony, M Archive: After the End of the World, and Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity, Alexis is an experimental writer whose textual ceremonies transform her community’s sense of possibility. Creative Writing Editor at Feminist Studies, Writing Matters! series co-editor for Duke University Press, 2020-2021 National Humanities Center Fellow, 2022 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow, and 2022 Whiting Award Winner in non-fiction, Alexis activates language to connect us to the constant presence of generations of love.