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Review of Rachel Manley’s first novel

Rachel Manley’s new novel, The Black Peacock, appeared in December 2017 from Cormorant Books. Ms. Manley has published extensively as a poet and memoirist; this is her first work of fiction. Quill and Quire says of the novel

Manley slowly unfurls a somewhat labyrinthine narrative, revealing the couple’s shared history – and secrets – in jerks and starts…. Otherwise, The Black Peacock tells an engaging story of a love affair in a state of suspended animation. Themes of grief, family, and the writing life course through a novel in which “living is just a long corridor of echoes.”

Read the full review here.

Collection of Mittelholzer’s early writings appears from Peepal Tree

Creole Chips and Other Writings: Short Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Essays by Edgar Mittelholzer, edited by Juanita Cox, February 2018. From the publisher’s website:

This compendium of Edgar Mittelholzer’s mostly uncollected writings brings together his early collection of sketches of Georgetown life, Creole Chips, his speculative novella, The Adding Machine, twenty-four short stories, five plays, his published and unpublished poetry and essays covering travel, literature and his personal beliefs. This is mostly work written before Mittelholzer came to England in search of publishing opportunities. It shows a writer still deeply concerned with the Caribbean, a writer of playful humour who is committed to entertain, not to preach as some of his later work tends to do, and a writer who wrote in a variety of genres (speculative fiction, crime, and the Gothic) that contemporary Caribbean writers are rediscovering.

See the full announcement here.

CFP: 37th Annual West Indian Literature Conference

37th Annual West Indian Literature Conference
Hosted by: Hemispheric Caribbean Studies (HCS), University of Miami
October 3-6, 2018
CALL FOR PAPERS
Global Caribbean Studies: “Scapes”

abstract deadline: May 1st, 2018

from the organizers:

This year’s conference recognizes the vast routes/roots that link the Caribbean to the hemisphere and the globe. As many writers and literary scholars have noted, the immense bodies of water that appear to isolate belie the currents that intimately connect, and at times, destroy shelter, lands, and peoples. Deploying Arjun Appadurai’s concept of “scapes” that work to enable the exchange of ideas and information, we hope to engage a breadth of issues relevant to Caribbeanists in the region and its diasporas. Throughout the conference our aim will be to explore the intersections between disciplinary approaches to problems that are borne out of the shifting tides of globalization and cultural expression. Undoubtedly researchers in literary studies, anthropology, history, philosophy, medicine, sociology and environmental studies, are all concerned with issues of global migration, environmental sustainability, human rights, state power, education and other global issues that have particularly devastating impacts in the circum-Caribbean region. Our conference will examine some of the innovative approaches to addressing these issues across national, cultural and disciplinary boundaries, and particularly encourage inter, multi, and transdisciplinary conversations and panels.
Waterscapes
● Tidealectics/Archipelagos/ Repeating Islands
● Interdictions/Bodies at Sea
● Resident Time Lapse/Laps
Landscapes
● Coastal and Cultural Erosion, Resilience & Sustainability
● Creole Identities in Hemispheric Port Cities
● “Wet Foot/Dry Foot” and the Refugee Crisis
● Sand/Swamps/Mangroves
Citiscapes
● The Carceral Continuum
● Crimmigration
● Racializing Space
Soundscapes
● Religiosities/Amplifying Islam in the Caribbean Region
● Boom Sounds/Songs in Babylon
● Sonic Disturbances in Social Justice Movements
● Tidal Waves/Sound Waves/Immigration Waves
Mediascapes
● Documenting in the Digital Diaspora
● Embodied Imbalances in Social Media Movements
● Rooting/Routing Identities in the Page
● The Fantastic/Magical Realism/Le Réalisme Merveilleux
Ethnoscapes
● Decoloniality/Racialization/Pluriversality
● Queerscapes/Erotoscapes
● Generational Roots and International Routes
● Resettling Routes/Roots after Disaster
Ideoscapes
● Sovereignties/Non-Sovereignties
● Caribbean Queer Here and There
● Opacity/Maroonage/Assemblages
● Archives of Memory and Mourning
● “Wake Work”
● Weaponizing Race and Sexuality
● Anthropocene, Chthulucene and Plantationocene

Please send abstracts by May 1st 2018 to westindianlit37@gmail.com
Conference Website will be up on April 15, 2018. In the meantime, for more information go to:
https://www.facebook.com/umhemisphericcaribbeanstudies/
http://www.as.miami.edu/windianlitconf/description/ (Available after April 15, 2018)

Winners of the 2017 Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature

The winners of the 2017 CODE Burt Award for Young Adult Literature (announced at the Bocas Lit Fest) were:

1st place: The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Núñez (Puerto Rico/USA)

2nd place: The Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad & Tobago)

3rd place: Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini (Trinidad & Tobago)

The Art of White Roses and Home Home will appear from Papillote Press in May 2018; The Beast of Kukuyo is as yet unpublished.

The Burt Award website describes the prize thus:

Now in its fifth year, CODE’s annual Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature recognizes up to three English-language literary works for young adults (aged 12 through 18) written by Caribbean authors….

Publishers of winning titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase of up to 2,500 copies, which will be donated to schools, libraries, and literacy organizations throughout the region. To date, more than 15,000 copies of winning books have made their way into the hands of Caribbean youth.

More on the Burt Award here.

Jamaican writer Garfield Ellis dies

On March 16, 2018, the family of Jamaican writer Garfield Ellis posted the following to his Facebook page:

The family of Garfield Ellis advise that he passed away peacefully this morning at the Scarborough General Hospital in Canada.

We know that to many of you he was a friend and a mentor and we want to take the opportunity to thank you for allowing him to be a part of your lives.

Ellis was the author of six published titles. The latest, The Angel’s Share, appeared from Akashic Books in 2016; the Globe and Mail reviewed the novel here. The other five titles are Flaming Hearts and Other Stories (1996), Wake Rasta and Other Stories (2001), Such as I Have (2003), For Nothing At All (2005), and Till I’m Laid to Rest (2010).

The author biography from Till I’m Laid to Rest reads:

Garfield Ellis grew up in Jamaica, the eldest of nine children. He studied marine engineering, management and public relations in Jamaica and he completed his Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Miami, as a James Michener Fellow…. He is a two-time winner of the Una Marson prize for adult literature; has twice won the Canute A. Brodhurst prize for fiction and the 1990 Heinemann/Lifestyle short story competition.

Ellis’s reflection on his journey toward writing appears on his website, here.

Emma Lewis has posted a remembrance of Ellis (and of Jamaican ceramicist Gene Pearson, who passed away on March 15) which collates many of the expressions of grief from members of the Caribbean literary community.

Three new “essay-stories” by Kei Miller on race in Jamaica

Kei Miller introduces three “essay-stories” posted on his blog, Under the Saltire Flag, as follows:

So in my continued exploration of race, and how it works in Jamaica and the Caribbean, I ended up writing 3 connected essays – Mr Brown, Mrs White & Ms Black. Though in truth they turned out more like stories, or maybe they are story-essays, or essay-stories.

The pieces can be found, in order

here (Mr Brown)

here (Mrs White), and

here (Ms Black).

Sir Wilson Harris dies, age 96

Today, 8 March 2018, Demerara Waves posted the news that Guyanese novelist, poet, essayist and theorist Sir Wilson Harris has died in the United Kingdom, where he had resided for many years. Reproducing the text of a statement from Professor Nigel Harris, Chancellor of the University of Guyana and Sir Wilson’s son, the news item briefly outlines the extent of Harris’s body of work and suggests its impact on generations of Caribbean writers and scholars, noting also, “In 2010, he was awarded the Honour of Knighthood for services to Literature by Queen Elizabeth. He has been nominated for the Nobel prize in literature on more than one occasion.”

See the full news item here.

Update: See the Guardian newspaper’s obituary for Harris here.

Lorna Goodison receives Windham-Campbell Prize

from the Windham-Campbell Prize website:

The director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes recently made the call of a lifetime to eight entirely surprised writers, informing them that they will each be recognized with a $165,000 USD prize to support their writing. Awards will be conferred September 12-14 at an international literary festival at Yale, where the Prizes are based.

Established in 2013 with a gift from the late Donald Windham in memory of his partner of 40 years, Sandy M. Campbell, the prizes are among the richest and most prestigious literary prizes on earth.

English language writers from anywhere in the world are eligible….Writers from around the world are nominated confidentially and judged anonymously. The call that Prize recipients receive from program director Michael Kelleher is the first time that they have learned of their consideration.

In addition to Jamaica’s Lorna Goodison, the other prize recipients are:

in drama, Lucas Hnath (US) and Suzan-Lori Parks (US); in nonfiction, Sarah Bakewell (UK) and Olivia Laing (UK); in fiction, John Keene (US) and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi(Uganda/UK); and in poetry Cathy Park Hong (US).

Original post here.

_Brown Girl in the Ring_ comes to the screen

Nalo Hopkinson’s first novel, Brown Girl in the Ring (first published in 1998) is the basis for a new film called Brown Girl Begins, which is directed by Sharon Lewis and premiered in September 2017 at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York. The film will soon be available on DVD. In a recent interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Hopkinson says of the novel, “It is technically my weakest, but it’s the one people grab onto. It’s the one they remember.”

See Hopkinson on Brown Girl and Afro-futurism here.

See Sharon Lewis discuss Brown Girl Begins here (with a trailer for the film linked at the end of the interview).