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Call for Papers: Special JWIL April 2023 Issue on Pamela Mordecai

Call for Papers: Special Issue of the Journal of West Indian Literature on the work of Pamela Mordecai

This special issue of the Journal of West Indian Literature seeks papers and reflections on the work of Pamela Mordecai. For over four decades now, Mordecai has been producing diverse literary works. She has published poetry, short stories, plays, textbooks, and other forms of writing, including a novel and a short-story collection. In addition to being one of the women writers who led the steady growth of Caribbean women’s literature since the 1980s, Mordecai has been at the forefront of the work of bringing visibility to Caribbean women’s literature via ground-breaking collections such as Her True-True Name. Yet, Mordecai’s oeuvre and other contributions to Caribbean literature and culture as editor, anthologist and publisher have not been sufficiently acknowledged by the critical community.

We invite scholarly articles that address different aspects of Mordecai’s work, including her located Caribbean sensibilities and rhetorical strategies, as well as her diasporic reach. We also welcome non-traditional academic submissions (such as creative reflections on her work and influences) and book reviews of her latest collection, A Fierce Green Place: New and Selected Poems (2022). Scholarly essays should be between 6000 and 8000 words. Creative pieces can be between 2000 and 5000 words, and book reviews 1000-1500 words.

Prospective contributors should submit 300-500 word abstracts by 7 August 2022. Responses to abstract submissions will be sent by 21 August 2022 and final versions of accepted papers will be due 15 October 2022. Please send abstracts and all inquiries to Carol Bailey ( and Stephanie McKenzie (

About the special issue editors: Carol Bailey is co-editor of A Fierce Green Place: New and Selected Poems, author of A Poetics of Performance: The Oral-Scribal Aesthetic in Anglophone Caribbean Fiction (UWI Press, 2014), and the forthcoming book, Writing the Black Diasporic City in the Age of Globalization (Rutgers University Press, 2023). Stephanie McKenzie is Professor, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, and co-editor of A Fierce Green Place: New and Selected Poems. She is the author of three books of poetry (published by Salmon Press) and Before the Country: Native Renaissance, Canadian Mythology (University of Toronto Press, 2007; rpt. 2019).

Faizal Deen’s Twitter residency on the legacies of George Lamming (July 25-Aug 1, 2022)

From July 25 to Emancipation Day, August 1, 2022, JWIL will be hosting a Twitter residency which will focus on the life and the enduring work of George Lamming (1927–2022). In June of 2021, JWIL (@jwilonline) hosted a Twitter residency curated by Faizal Deen (@faizalbynight) to mark Lamming’s 94th birthday. This year, Faizal curates another residency in the wake of Lamming’s passing. He will share tweets from last year’s residency as well as bring together and reflect on the numerous tributes and obituaries about Lamming that have been published since his passing in June 2022. Faizal will also curate a space for collective memory and reflection. We invite you all to send us your written celebrations, observances, commentaries and remembrances of Lamming or his work or both. These will be shared @jwilonline over the course of the week. You can send your reflections on Lamming at any time during the residency – via email to or DM us @jwilonline. Together, let us collectively remember the legacies and futures of Lamming’s iconic presence as both artist and activist.

JWIL pays tribute to George Lamming (June 8, 1927-June 4, 2022)

JWIL pays tribute to Caribbean literary luminary George Lamming, who passed away on June 4, 2022 at the age of 94. A towering figure in Caribbeana, Lamming was one of the pillars of a foundational period of our literature, part of the Windrush generation. Creative writer, thinker, scholar, teacher, journalist, he brought all his gifts to bear on the weighty ruminations on Caribbean societies and the search for solutions for our development. Nadi Edwards notes that Lamming  “was a brilliant writer whose complex experimental novels signaled the emergence of a distinct Anglophone Caribbean modernist fiction. He was also an insightful critic whose reading of folk culture, colonial exile and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest anticipated contemporary postcolonial theories of indigeneity, diaspora, and linguistic and cultural hybridity. To quote José David Saldivar, he is ‘the supreme commentator, the one author from our America, who pulls Old World colonialist and New World colonized writing into a coherent and continuous line’”. Lamming’s passing brings us closer to the end of an epoch, though his staggering legacy will never allow the “sun to set” on the Caribbean’s response to empire and its afterlives.

Jarrel De Matas’ Twitter residency on Caribbean sf (June 6-13, 2022)

Join us from June 6-13, 2022 when Jarrel De Matas will be taking over our Twitter feed. Jarrel will be tweeting about our Caribbean sf tradition (science fiction/speculative fiction/fantasy/folklore).  His Twitter residency will highlight some of the creative and intellectual ancestors of Caribbean sf. Over the week, he will shine light on writers such as Edgar Mittelholzer, Wilson Harris, Kamau Brathwaite, Derek Walcott, Suzanne Césaire, Sylvia Wynter, and Curdella Forbes – who he considers to be the initiators of our developing Caribbean sf tradition. He will provide excerpts of each writer’s work including interviews, as well as his own interpretive framework that can allow us to view our “old” creatives in new ways.
Jarrel De Matas is from Trinidad and Tobago. He holds an MA in English Literature from the University of the West Indies. He is a PhD candidate in English and a teaching associate of college writing at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His main research interests are the confluence of Caribbean science fiction, speculative fiction, and posthuman studies. He is the producer of the podcast “The Caribbean Science Fiction Network.” Twitter handle: @caribbeansfnet.
Jarrel’s previous research in Caribbean studies can be found here:

Rachel Mordecai’s Twitter Residency on teaching the work of Kamau Brathwaite (May 11-18, 2022)

May 11th is Kamau Brathwaite’s Birthday. Join us as JWIL teams up with sx salon to mark KB’s birthday. Between May 11 – 18th, sx salon‘s general editor Rachel Mordecai will take over our Twitter feed to share reflections on teaching Kamau’s work.

In addition to being one of the Caribbean’s foremost writers, Kamau was also a teacher. His pedagogies of the word were instructive. This Twitter residency will reflect on pedagogical questions. In particular, Rachel Mordecai will explore questions about teaching gender in and through Brathwaite’s poetry.

How might we teach these poems, with attention to gender, in our current moment? And what do these poems teach us?


Rachel Mordecai is associate professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Editor (since 2019) of @sxsalon. Her primary interests are Caribbean literature and culture; her work has appeared in Sargasso, Wadabagei, Kunapipi, @SmallAxeProject, and @jwilonline.

@RachelMordecai’s book Citizenship Under Pressure: The 1970s in Jamaican Literature and Culture appeared from @UWIPRESS in 2014. Her monograph-in-progress is on Caribbean family sagas, including the work of Maisy Card, Lawrence Scott, Maryse Condé, Édouard Glissant, and Dionne Brand.

Natalie Wall’s Twitter Residency on the work of dub artist d’bi.young anitafrika (April 25-May 2, 2022)

Join us from 25th April – 2nd May for a JWIL Twitter residency with Natalie Wall, exploring artivism and monodrama in the work of d’bi.young anitafrika. Follow along at @jwilonline

Jamaican-Canadian dub artist d’bi.young anitafrika, creator of the anitafrika method and spolrusie publishing, is a black queer feminist dub poet who has authored twelve plays, four collections of poetry and recorded seven albums. anitafrika has reinvented the way that we understand black womxn’s theatre. As part of JWIL‘s recent issue on dub poetry, we published Natalie Wall’s essay “Catching Bullets with Her Ass: Matrilineality and the Canadian Dub Poetry Tradition in the Work of d’bi.young anitafrika.” This residency explores anitafrika’s critical and creative practice in the dub tradition.

anitafrika’s life and work has been shaped by the three main transnational hubs of dub. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, they came into the dub performance scene and tradition in Toronto. anitafrika is currently pursuing a PhD at London South Bank University investigating how Black womxn theatre makers globally embody theatre in a decolonial praxis; they are also Artist-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s New College and curator of Incubate, a monthly performance and open mic event at Theatre Peckham. anitafrika is also now completing Dubbin Theatre, an anthology of their plays written from 2000-2022, and Dub Poetry to Dubbin Theatre.

Natalie Wall is currently the Research Impact Manager at Queen Mary University of London. Originally from Canada, Wall focuses on black Caribbean Canadian women’s performance, artivism, and antiracist scholarship and practice, and is currently writing a monograph titled White Generosity, to be published by Emerald Publishing, which examines the historical and contemporary construction of global reparations and black freedom.

Alecia McKenzie’s Twitter Residency on the “Disco of Dub” (March 28-April 4, 2022)

Join us from March 28-April 4 for a JWIL Twitter residency by writer Alecia McKenzie. McKenzie’s residency will explore “The Disco of Dub – as in discothèque, library, discography.”

The word “disco” comes from “discothèque”/discoteca – which used to mean “a record library” before the word started being used for “nightclub”, etc. This residency will explore McKenzie’s  “discoteca” or collection of dub recordings. She will be tweeting about various recordings, while referencing her co-authored article “Dub Poetry’s Global Impact, Forty Years On” published in the  recent JWIL special issue on Dub Poetry. The posts will cover works by Linton Kwesi Johnson, Jean “Binta” Breeze, and others.

Alecia McKenzie is a Jamaican writer and editor currently based in France. She is the author of six books and has written on culture and the arts for a global news agency and various publications. Her most recent novel is A Million Aunties. She tweets at @mckenzie_ale.

Evelyn O’Callaghan and Lisa Outar’s Twitter Residency on JWIL’s history (March 7-21, 2022)

This year marks 36 years of the Journal of West Indian Literature‘s life as a regional University of the West Indies-led Caribbeanist project invested in highlighting and critically examining the prolific literary production of the Caribbean. This two-part Twitter residency featuring, first, immediate past JWIL editor-in-chief, Evelyn O’Callaghan, and, then, current JWIL editor-in-chief, Lisa Outar, reflected both on the Journal’s past and its current life as a leading site for promoting scholarship on Caribbean literature both in the region and globally. From March 7 to March 21, O’Callaghan and Outar offered archival records and memories of the Journal’s intertwined beginnings with the West Indian Literature conference, stories of the pioneers of Caribbean literary studies who helped create and support the publication at a time when publishing work on the region in the region was a rarity as well as reflections on the current work the Journal is doing to promote Caribbean literary studies and the rich work of region-based Caribbean artists.

Evelyn O’Callaghan, Emeritus Professor of West Indian literature, Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature at the University of the West Indies, Barbados campus, is recently retired. She has published on West Indian literature, particularly on women’s writing, early Caribbean narratives and, more recently, ecocritical readings of Caribbean landscapes in visual and scribal texts.

Lisa Outar is an independent scholar/editor who publishes in the areas of Indo-Caribbean literature, feminist writing and the connections between the Caribbean and other sites of the indentureship diaspora. She is co-editor of Indo-Caribbean Feminist Thought: Genealogies, Theories, Enactments.

Shivaun Hearne’s Twitter Residency on the life and work of John Hearne (Jan 31-Feb 7)

We warmly welcome Shivaun Hearne who will be tweeting about the life and work of the Jamaican writer, John Hearne, from Jan 31-Feb 7. This Twitter Residency will help to mark John Hearne’s birthday on February 4!
John Hearne is the author of Voices under the Window (1955), The Eye of the Storm (1958), The Faces of Love (1959), Stranger at the Gate (1959), The Autumn Equinox (1959), Land of the Living (1961) and The Sure Salvation (1985). In 2016, UWI Press published John Hearne’s Short Fiction.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Hearne collaborated with Morris Cargill on three thrillers “involving an imaginary Jamaican secret service” – Fever Grass, The Candywine Development, and The Checkerboard Caper. These books are published under the pseudonym John Morris. The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, Jamaica holds the John Hearne Collection spanning 1982–1994. It consists of biographical papers, tributes, correspondence, newspaper clippings related to the death of John Hearne, his manuscripts and more.
Shivaun Hearne is an editor at House of Anansi Press in Toronto. She is the author of John Hearne’s Life and Fiction: A Critical Biographical Study and editor of John Hearne’s Short Fiction.

Isis Semaj-Hall’s Twitter Residency on Dub Sound and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry (Jan 17-24, 2022)

JWIL welcomes Isis Semaj-Hall to our first 2022 Twitter residency. She will dive into dub sound with a salute to the extra-terrestrial body of art that Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry left for us as listeners and viewers. Over the course of the week, Semaj-Hall (aka the Riddim Writer) will explore Perry’s 2019 Swiss Institute exhibit, the music Perry made in European sound laboratories, and Perry’s unique approach to production.  Twitter-fans can look forward to Semaj-Hall sharing highlights from her recently published JWIL article “Dubbing Dub Poetry? Approaching Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Poetically,” because no Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry focus would be complete without a deep analysis of Perry’s stretched, warped, and layered lyrics. Finally, this residency also takes the time to listen beyond Perry and hear from other Jamaican sound artists whose works similarly extend how we connect to our ancestry and our futurity as aliens of one kind or another. Spoiler, there will be a Perry-Inspired Playlist.
Isis Semaj-Hall is an assistant professor of Caribbean literature and popular culture in the Department of Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. As the Riddim Writer, she podcasts For Posterity where she has interviewed Caribbean writers, musicians, visual artists, and inspiring citizens. As a Caribbean storytelling advocate, she is co-founder and editor of the online magazine PREE: Caribbean Writing. With a commitment to opening-up access, her cultural analysis and critical scholarship have been published in both academic journals and in non-academic outlets. Her research explores identities in the reverb of dub aesthetics and the drum of word power.