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.
JWIL honors the loss and the lasting legacy of UWI Professor Emeritus Gordon Rohlehr, native son of Guyana, public intellectual, dedicated teacher and mentor, and eminent scholar of calypso and Caribbean popular culture and literature. His lifelong commitment to elucidating the unique cultural offerings and gifts of the Caribbean are to be found in his greatly influential and prolific body of work which ranges from Pathfinder: Black Awakening in The Arrivants of Edward Kamau Brathwaite (1981), Cultural Resistance and the Guyana State (1984), Calypso and Society in Pre-Independence Trinidad (1990), My Strangled City and Other Essays (1992), The Shape of That Hurt and Other Essays (1992), A Scuffling of Islands: Essays on Calypso (2004), Transgression, Transition, Transformation: Essays in Caribbean Culture (2007), Ancestories: Readings of Kamau Brathwaite’s Ancestors (2010), My Whole Life is Calypso: Essays on Sparrow (2015), Perfected Fables Now: A Bookman Signs Off on Seven Decades (2019), and Musings, Mazes, Margins: A Memoir (2020).
Rohlehr’s rich path as “warrior against amnesia” and “historian of the spirit” of the Caribbean’s people is captured beautifully here in Richard Drayton’s tribute to him in Guyana’s Stabroek News and in the memorial service in his honor on 4 February 2023.
The Caribbean Digital Scholarship Collective (CDSC) invites applications for its inaugural week-long residential digital humanities institute, to be held at the University of Miami in June 2023. The CDSC supports the growth and development of digital humanities scholarship, training, and infrastructure for the Caribbean and its diasporas. The Caribbean Digital Scholarship summer institute (CDSsi) will train scholars, at all levels, working at the intersections of Caribbean Studies and digital humanities. Thanks to a generous Mellon Foundation grant, the CDSC will be able to cover travel and accommodations for fellows selected for participation in the summer institute..
For more information, including the requirements for submission and application form, please see the Call for Applications here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10_7VJIvRPWps3W3Z3F3JwdOtLmXJUHDii8g0G9M_5Lc/edit?usp=sharing
The deadline for applications is Tuesday, 31 January 2023 and there will be a virtual information session on Tuesday, 17 January 2023.
Join us from December 12-19, 2022 for Cornel Bogle’s JWIL Twitter residency which focuses on the work of the Barbadian-Canadian writer Austin Clarke, one of the first Black writers to be published in Canada. Though primarily read and studied as a writer of fiction and memoirs, Clarke was also a journalist, academic, and poet. This week, Bogle will be sharing some of his ongoing research for his manuscript-in-progress, Austin Clarke and the Black Radical Tradition, wherein he argues that, through his print and radio journalism as well as his literary work, Clarke interrogates the notion of the Black radical tradition. Additionally, Bogle will be discussing how Clarke’s work invites us, as readers, into the broader archive of Caribbean Canadian cultural production. Highlighting a recent special Issue of Canada and Beyond: A Journal of Canadian Literary and Cultural Studies, that he edited with Professor Michael A. Bucknor, Bogle will share excerpts from recent scholarship on, as well as new fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by, Caribbean Canadian cultural workers.
Cornel Bogle is a Sessional Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Humanities at York University. He is a scholar of Black, Caribbean, and Canadian literature, and a poet. His scholarly criticism has been published, or is forthcoming, in journals such as Canadian Literature, the Journal of West Indian Literature, Studies in Canadian Literature, sx salon, and Topia. His poetry has appeared in Pree: Caribbean Literature, Bookmarked, Moko Magazine, and Arc Poetry Magazine. He is co-editor, with Dr. Michael A. Bucknor, of a special issue of Canada and Beyond on Recognition and Recovery of Caribbean Canadian Cultural Production.
Bogle’s review of ‘Membering Austin Clarke is available in the most recent issue of JWIL. https://www.jwilonline.org/current-issue/
Join us from November 14-21, 2022 when Kim Evelyn will share reflections on teaching Caribbean Literature at @jwilonline. In an increasingly distracting world pulling our students’ attention in different directions, it can feel like a struggle to keep students engaged in the close reading work of literary studies and foster their appreciation for literary texts. Fortunately, the world of Caribbean literature and cultural studies is rich with compelling texts, controversial ideas, radical figures, and fascinating stories. Educators can tap into this wealth of resources with engaging pedagogical strategies that work in both general literature courses and Caribbean literature courses. Providing recordings of poetry readings/performance poems, documentaries, lectures, and interviews allow students to hear and see writers or other important figures off the page. Assignments such as creating playlists, conducting interviews, writing articles or non-fiction/personal essays, and researching archived works draw students into the joys of close reading and help them see the relevance of literary texts and other cultural products to their own lives and cultures. As a bonus, online tools offer students opportunities to develop career-relevant audience awareness and tech savviness as they collaborate on shared documents, dig into digital archives, or create timelines and maps. In this series, we’ll explore opportunities for engagement in meaningful pedagogy in Caribbean literature and cultural studies. I hope you’ll share your best practices too.
Dr. Kim Evelyn is an Assistant Professor of English at Bowie State University where she teaches Caribbean literature, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, and composition. At BSU, Dr. Evelyn has been recognized for her service to students and serves as a Fellow with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Her work has appeared in the Journal of West Indian Literature, The Caribbean Writer, Postcolonial Text, Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal, South Atlantic Review, and elsewhere, and is forthcoming in the edited collection, The Affects of Pedagogy in Literary Studies. In addition to Caribbean literature, her research interests include: diaspora, nation, and migration; dub poetry; Creole/Patwah languages in literature; media, propaganda, and advertising; and collaborative, engaged pedagogy. Dr. Evelyn earned her PhD in English at the University of Rhode Island where she taught writing and literature courses and served as Project Manager for the university’s National Endowment for the Humanities NextGen PhD grant. She tweets at @KimCEvelyn
You can read Kim Evelyn’s essay “Using Digital Tools and Collaborative Writing to Engage Students with Kamau Brathwaite’s Poetry” in the April 2022 issue of JWIL.
Join us from Oct 3 to Oct 10, 2022 for another JWIL Twitter residency. Bedour Alagraa (@balagonline) will take over our Twitter feed (@jwilonline) with a focus on the essay as a crucial poetic and political expressive medium in many different Caribbean intellectual traditions. As part of her residency, Dr. Alagraa will explore important essays by Caribbean writers including Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, Sylvia Wynter, among others.
Dr. Bedour Alagraa is Assistant Professor of Political and Social Thought in the Department of African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and is currently a Visiting Research Scholar in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Her book manuscript is entitled The Interminable Catastrophe (forthcoming from Duke University Press).
You can read her essay, “Lessons from Brathwaite: Breaking the Pentameter, Deepening Black Study” in the most recent issue of JWIL. https://www.jwilonline.org/current-issue/
Call for Papers: Special JWIL November 2023 Issue on Literature, Art, and Environmental Activism
Writers, filmmakers, musicians, and other arts performers have taken a leading role in protesting governmental failure and corporate responsibility for environmental destruction and disaster across the Caribbean. In the 2000s, Caribbean writers, filmmakers, visual and other artists have spoken truth to power in Puerto Rico and Dominica after the tragedy of Hurricane Maria, in the struggle to preserve Jamaica’s Cockpit country from bauxite mining, and against extractive industries, tourism, and other environmentally destructive forms of development. In fact, writers and artists have been documenting, illuminating, and protesting environmental destruction since Caribbean cultural traditions emerged.
We invite scholarly essays as well as the statements of artists and writers that illuminate the various and profound contribution of literature, film and other arts to Caribbean environmental activism. We hope to address the long history of artists’ and writers’ environmental concerns and activism, the wide geographical and social reach of their efforts across the Caribbean and its diaspora, the ways in which environmental change and crisis have shaped artistic form, and artists’ and writers’ vision for the future.
Prospective contributors should submit 300–500 word abstracts by 1 November 2022. Responses to abstract submissions will be sent by 15 November 2022; final versions of accepted papers will be due 15 April 2023. Scholarly essays should be between 6000 and 8000 words. Writers’ and artists’ statements or essays may be considerably shorter.
Please submit abstracts through the JWIL submission page: https://www.jwilonline.org/submission-guidelines/article-guidelines/
For queries about the issue, please contact Leah Rosenberg, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please click here for more information about the Journal of West Indian Literature.