March 20, 2014

Writers from 4 Caribbean Countries in the Running for 2014 Hollick Arvon Prize

Bocas Lit Fest

Two emerging Jamaican writers, one from Grenada, one from St Vincent, and four from Trinidad and Tobago are the eight finalists for the much-coveted 2014 Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, now in its second year.

The Prize, administered by The Bocas Lit Fest and worth a total of US$15,000, will give the winning Caribbean-based writer time to advance a non-fiction work in progress. It includes a year’s mentoring by an established author and travel to the United Kingdom to attend a one-week intensive creative writing course of their choice at Arvon.

The winning writer will also receive a cash award of 3,000GBP or US$4,500, have three days in London to network with literary professionals, hosted by the UK’s leading creative writing organisation, Arvon, in association with Free Word Centre and agents Rogers, Coleridge & White who have first option of agenting the winning writer.

It was a blind competition among 27 entrants.  “We had no idea who we were judging and we were impressed by the general high quality of the works submitted. They ranged from the academic to the personal and were generally imbued with original insights. Many of the works were directed at adult audiences but some were aimed at children and young adults”, said UWI Professor Funso Aiyejina, chair of the international judging panel of five that comprises Lord Hollick - sponsor of the award, Godfrey Smith - 2012 non-fiction winner of the OCM Bocas Prize, Ruth Borthwick of Arvon, and London literary agent, Jennifer Hewson.

A statement from the judges says, “Many of the works were eloquent, insightful, passionate and exciting. Some entries were very ambitious in scope but managed to remain focused on their subject matters. The judges are convinced that the works in contention for the prize venture beyond the safe shores of established themes and promise to create new boundaries for the Caribbean non-fiction genre.”

Marina Salandy-Brown, festival director and co-founder of the Prize, remarked the gender mix of Prize entrants. “In 2013 we had fewer male writers entering their work for fiction but this year there were six, which is a much higher proportion of male entrants for this non-fiction genre of writing, even though only one of them made it onto the list of finalists.”

The winner will be announced at the 2014 NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago’s annual literary festival which runs from 23 to 27 April in Port of Spain at the National Library.

The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago is title sponsor of the Trinidad and Tobago annual literary festival, now in its fourth year. One Caribbean Media is sponsor of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. The Ministry of Planning & Sustainable is a main sponsor and First Citizens, flow and Courts are supporting sponsors.

See for more information.

2014 Non-fiction Finalists

Turn Around, Judy Antoine, Grenada
Let It Fly, Melissa Balgobin, Trinidad and Tobago
Split Level, Rhoda Bharath, Trinidad and Tobago
17 Rest House Road, Ira Mathur, Trinidad and Tobago
Loving Jamaica, Diana McCaulay, Jamaica
The Plight of the Humanitarian Aid Worker, Nadine McNeil, Jamaica
Canouan Suite, Philip Nanton, St. Vincent
Richard Bridgens, Judy Raymond, Trinidad and Tobago

March 18, 2014

Jamaica Ex-Police Association of South Florida, Inc. Scholarship Programme

Jamaica Ex-Police Association of South Florida, Inc.

Requirements for Awarding Scholarship
The goal
 The organization will award to an individual annually, a one-time scholarship, to encourage the recipient to achieve a higher educational standard. (The association will determine the value amount.)
The objective
1        Show community involvement.
2        Encourage, and show commitment to the achievement of higher education by members of the community.
3        Project a positive image of the association.
Criteria for obtaining scholarship: (Local - USA)
(1)   Applicant should be a lawful resident of the tri-county:  Palm Beach, Broward, or Miami-Dade County.
(2)   Applicant should provide proof of residency.
(3)   Applicant should be an undergraduate student in a 2-4 year college, or should have already been accepted in a 2-4 year institution.
(4)   Applicant should write a two-page essay stating why he/she should be awarded this scholarship. Essay should be typed in size 12 Font, and double spaced.
(5)   Applications should be submitted by March 31, 2014.
1. Advertisement will be done through community news release, print media, or electronic means.
2. Committee will review applications and choose, based on academics, aptitude and community involvement.
3. Selection will be made by April 12, 2014, and the recipient informed by April 15, 2014.
4. Presentation will be made at the annual ball, where the recipient and one chaperone will be invited guests. 
5. The president or his designee will make the presentation.
Criteria for Scholarship: (JAMAICA)
(1)   Applicant must be accepted in, or is a high school student.
(2)   Money awarded can ONLY be used to purchase school supplies (books, uniforms etc).
(3)   Disbursement should be “as needed for the period of 1 year.”
(4)   Disbursement is to be administered by the principal of the recipient’s school with a report on expenditures.
(5)   Selection is made by the Police Community Relations Department. (It is recognized that officers from the department are drawn from all divisions and selection should not exclude any division.)
(6)   Award is to be made to the recipient at the police station refurbishing project. A reception will be held late afternoon on the day the project is implemented. The 2014 project is slated for Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at the Area 1 Police Headquarters located at Sewell Avenue, Montego Bay, St. James.    
(7)   The Community Relation personnel is to monitor performance, and disbursements.
(8)   Contingent on continued disbursement, awardee must be attending school, and performing within a reasonable standard.
(9)   Failing (8) above, Community Relations Officer can make representation to Jamaica Ex-Police Association of South Florida, Inc. for scholarship to be withdrawn.
  1. Based on a recommendation another awardee will be identified, and receive partial scholarship for remainder of the school year or funds whichever is appropriate.
  2. The decision of the Scholarship Committee is final.

Awards committee: Prof. Eulett McKnight-Samms: (305) 237-8125;
Ms. Jasmine Martin (954) 610-8042 ; & Roy Bennett (954) 297-8777.

March 17, 2014

Marcus Garvey: The Irish Connection

The unqualified achievement of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities (Imperial) League (UNIA-ACL) led by Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887-1940), the first National Hero of Jamaica, owed its success to many sources. 

One of Garvey’s main influences was Booker T. Washington, whose vision of self-help through education and economics was the main impetus behind the movement. However, Garvey’s organizational strategies for the liberation of people of African descent closely modeled the slogans and methods employed by Irish nationalists such as Padraig Pearse, Robert Emmet, Roger Casement, and Eamon de Valera.

In 1914 when Marcus Garvey returned to Jamaica from England, his heart and mind bursting with ideas for the freedom of African peoples, one of his first official acts was the creation of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities (Imperial) League (UNIA-ACL), whose slogan was “Africa for Africans at home and abroad” an echo of the oft repeated Irish slogan, “The Irish race at home and abroad.” 

Even the choice in naming of the UNIA-ACL headquarters, Liberty Hall, was a nod to “Liberty Hall, Dublin, the symbolic seat of the Irish revolution.”  In The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, he repeated his conviction and alliance with the Irish cause: “Marcus Garvey has no fear about going to jail. Like MacSwiney or like Carson, like Roger Casement, like those who have led the fight for Irish freedom, so Marcus Garvey shall lead the fight for African freedom” (183).

To say that the Easter Rising of 1916 had a profound effect on Garvey would be understatement. But Garvey’s familiarity with the revolutionary struggle of the Irish people began long before that fateful week:

As early as 1910, Garvey was assistant secretary of the National Club of Jamaica, a group whose activities marked the first attempt by Jamaicans to create a nationalist political platform. The club's founder, S. A. & G. Cox, absorbed the influence of the Sinn Fein movement while he was enrolled as a student, beginning in 1905, at the Middle Temple in England… The Jamaican historian Richard Hart has pointed out that "for [the National Club's] newspaper Cox chose the name Our Own, a rough translation of the Irish nationalists' Sinn Fein."

Indeed, Garvey’s most audacious plan, the Black Star Line, which led to his imprisonment on trumped up charges brought by J. Edgar Hoover and the US Justice Department, was another symbolic nod to the Irish struggle:

RUPERT LEWIS: The idea comes to Garvey that black people need a shipping line, and he bases his idea on the fact that the Cunard family has the White Star Line and the Irish have the Green Star Line, and he says, "Why shouldn't blacks have the Black Star Line?" So it is a vision of grandeur.

Perhaps the greatest influence on Garvey’s strategies was the courage of the Irish heroes. As Robert Hill points out:

In July 1919, Garvey announced that "the time [had] come for the Negro race to offer up its martyrs upon the altar of liberty even as the Irish [had] given a long list from Robert Emmet to Roger Casement.

Yet it wasn’t only the courage of the Irish that moved Garvey. During the International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World at Madison Square Garden, August 1-31, 1920, Marcus Garvey gave a speech to thousands of UNIA delegates from twenty-five countries and accepted the title of “Provisional President of Africa.” This was not an accident. During the Easter Rising of 1916, Padraig Pearse had been named “President of the Provisional Government” before his martyrdom on May 3, 1916.

However, Garvey’s closest personal relationship with Irish nationalism was with the Hon. Eamon de Valera. In fact, they had even arranged for a speaking engagement to share the platform:

Come and See the Irish President
Among the Speakers will be
His Excellency Hon. MARCUS GARVEY
Provisional President of Africa
His Excellency Hon. EAMON De VALERA
Provisional President of Ireland

Although the meeting did not take place, Garvey continued his relationship and emulation of de Valera:

The example of de Valera's clandestine travel between America and Ireland also became an object of emulation for Garvey. In his speech at Liberty Hall on the evening of 6 January 1921, he alluded to his impending departure for the Caribbean and Central America: "Two weeks from this I shall suddenly disappear from you for six or seven weeks," he told his audience. "You won't hear from me during that time, but don't be alarmed because we Negroes will have to adopt the system of underground workings like De Valera.

Marcus Garvey’s meteoric rise to fame and influence was due to his knowledge of the struggle for Irish freedom. From the outset of his career, Garvey recognized the kinship of the Irish and Pan-African struggle for freedom from the British Empire. Garvey’s awareness of the slogans and methods of Irish nationalists as well as his connection, personal and symbolic, with Irish revolutionaries, shaped the direction of the UNIA-ACL and provided a framework for the struggle of Africans at home and abroad. As Garvey said in his famous Chicago speech in 1919, “Robert Emmet gave his life for Irish independence . . . and the new negro is ready to give his life for the freedom of the negro race."
It is no wonder that the historian, William Ferris, would give this final summation of Garvey’s career: “the same courage which St. Patrick showed in delving the pagan gods of Ireland Marcus Garvey shows in defying Anglo-Saxon caste prejudice." Marcus Garvey's life was a testament to the kinship of Irish and Pan-African freedom fighters in the liberation of their people.

First Published: 3/17/13 6:35 AM, Eastern Daylight Time

Related Links:

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Finalists for Inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature Announced

Unique initiative aims to develop the love of reading amongst Caribbean youth

Port of Spain, 16 March 2014 — CODE is proud to announce the finalists for its inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.

The shortlisted titles are (in alphabetical order):

·         Island Princess in Brooklyn by Diane Browne, Jamaica (published by Carlong)
·         All Over Again by A-dZiko Gegele, Jamaica (published by Blouse & Skirt Books)
·         Barrel Girl by Glynis Guevara , Trinidad and Tobago (manuscript to be published)
·         Musical Youth by Joanne Hillhouse, Antigua and Barbuda (manuscript to be published)
·         Abraham's Treasure by Joanne Skerrett, Dominica (published by Papillotte Press)
·         Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith Dennis, Jamaica (published by LMH Publishing)

The finalists were selected by a jury administered by The Bocas Lit Fest and made up of writers, literacy experts and academics from the Caribbean and Canada.

“In the Caribbean, as in much of the world, demand for relevant, entertaining books that speak to young people in their own language is constantly growing,” said CODE Executive Director Scott Walter. “With the Award, we’re hoping to help address this demand by supporting the development of new titles that reflect the lives of their readers, while providing opportunities for promising writers to emerge and regional publishers to prosper. Our ultimate goal is for young people across the Caribbean to have access to good books they will enjoy so they can develop the love of reading and become lifelong learners.

The three winners of the first edition of this annual Award will be announced on April 25th, 2014 at a Gala to be held as part of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. A First Prize of $10,000 CAD, a Second Prize of $7,000 CAD and a Third Prize of $5,000 CAD will be awarded to the authors of the winning titles. In addition, publishers of the winning titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase of up to 2,500 copies, ensuring that the books get into the hands of young people through schools, libraries and community organizations across the Caribbean. Winning publishers also commit to actively market an additional minimum of 1,200 copies of each winning title throughout the region.

Marina Salandy-Brown, founder of The Bocas Lit Fest says, “We are delighted to be working with CODE and William Burt in administering this exceptional prize that not only supports writers of an underserved genre in the Caribbean – young adult literature – but publishers too, and which addresses headlong the critical issue of marketing and distribution in our region.”

The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature was established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been advancing literacy and learning for 55 years – in collaboration with William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation. The Award is the result of a close collaboration with CODE’s local partners in the Caribbean, The Bocas Lit Fest and CaribLit.
CODE’s Burt Award is a global readership initiative and is also currently established in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Canada.

For further details on the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, go to  

or contact: Telephone:  222 7099

March 13, 2014

RESPECT Garvey: Tradition

Exonerate Marcus Garvey


"We must canonize our own saints, create our own martyrs, and elevate to positions of fame and honor black men and women who have made their distinct contributions to our racial history. Sojourner Truth is worthy of the place of sainthood alongside of Joan of Arc; Crispus Attucks and George William Gordon are entitled to the halo of martyrdom with no less glory than that of the martyrs of any other race. Toussaint L'Ouverture's brilliancy as a soldier and statesman outshone that of a Cromwell, Napoleon and Washington; hence, he is entitled to the highest place as a hero among men. Africa has produced countless numbers of men and women, in war and in peace, whose lustre and bravery outshine that of any other people. Then why not see good and perfection in ourselves?" ~ Marcus Garvey

Garvey, Marcus. Marcus Garvey Life and Lessons:. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. Print.


The Coalition for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey is petitioning  President Barack Obama to exonerate Marcus Garvey:

Thank you for your support.

March 10, 2014

sx salon, issue 15

small axe

sx salon, issue 15 (February 2014)
Introduction and Table of Contents

Our first issue of 2014 tackles the concept of Chinese Caribbean literature with a special section of essays, interviews, and creative writing that approach this proposed literary category from different locations. Opening the discussion, Anne-Marie Lee-Loy asks the following “intrinsically intertwined” questions: “Is there such a thing as Chinese Caribbean literature? What would make such literature identifiably ‘Chinese Caribbean’?” And these questions haunt the other pieces in this issue’s special section.  In the two included interviews, Easton Lee speaks with Tzarina Prater about his early years and the influence they now have on his work while Patricia Powell discusses with Stephen Narain the curiosity that led her to writing The Pagoda, a novel that Lee-Loy notes troubles the impulse to constitute Chinese Caribbean literature by author origins. Powell reveals:

The novel grew out of a desire to know more about home, to know Jamaica’s history, to understand the Chinese experience in Jamaica, the complexities of otherness for them—people who are neither black nor white. I wanted to know their particular experiences of exile and immigration and displacement, their experiences of community and home there on the island.

These complexities arise in the two creative pieces in the special section, both of which return to the ubiquitous, though often overlooked, Mr. Chin character. While Victor Chang’s short story marries the unimaginable and the expected occurring on and to Mr. Chin’s property, Staceyann Chin’s poem to her father voices Mr. Chin’s progeny, the daughter now diasporic citizen who refuses to forget. Tao Leigh Goffe’s article closes the section with a consideration of six writers, including Staceyann Chin, who are “thrice diasporized,” that is, “shaped by the experiences of the African diaspora, the Asian diaspora, and the Caribbean diaspora.”

Via the writers included in this special section, this discussion seeks to not only contribute to but also complexify the slowly growing acknowledgement of a significant body of work from the Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora.

Our issue also features five new book reviews as well as creative work from Cyril Dabydeen, Colin Robinson, Reuel Ben Lewi, and Rajiv Mohabir. The table of contents is included below.

This issue of sx salon is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Stuart Hall (3 February 1932–10 February 2014).

Kelly Baker Josephs

March 6, 2014

Lupita Nyong'o, Marcus Garvey, and Shame

The existential self-hatred that Lupita describes is soul numbing. It can only be overcome with the self-love about which Marcus Garvey wrote, "Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men."

Garvey's goal was to change how we thought about ourselves: “The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness.” 

Imagine if all children of African descent grew up with these words?


The Coalition for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey is petitioning  President Barack Obama to exonerate Marcus Garvey:

March 3, 2014

The Institute of Caribbean Studies: Book Festival

The Institute of Caribbean Studies is having its annual Book Festival in celebration of Caribbean American Heritage Month, in June. We have fought very hard in order to have this month to acknowledge the influence of Caribbean culture on an international scale. As writers, we know how difficult it is to get our work recognized, and as authors of work influenced by the Caribbean it is that much harder. This Festival seeks to share and celebrate the work of upcoming Caribbean writers, as well as established ones. It will be a platform for us to support each others' work and to highlight the influence we have had on other cultures.

We are seeking submissions of literature, fiction or non-fiction, from anyone who wants to be a part of this celebration. Caribbean writers have a unique voice and ICS would like to highlight the great stories and poetry that reflect those roots. In honour of Caribbean American Heritage Month, we would like to focus on integration of Caribbean nationals into foreign cultures, so our theme this year will be: Losing and Rediscovering Caribbean Identity Abroad. 

Applications are due by April 13. Five pieces will be chosen for showcasing on our website and at our book reading on June 11 at the PORTICO Book Store in Washington, D.C. You may submit two poems or one short story. The short story should be no more than 3,000 words, and the poem no more than 500 words each. The author should also include a short bio with their submission.  

All submissions or questions should be sent to Shanza Lewis at

You may view the events for June on our website: