“The Green Family Foundation is proud to be a part of supporting Caribbean authors as they tell their own stories and bring their truths to people around the world,” said Kimberly J. Green, Ph.D. President of the Green Family Foundation. “More than a million and a half Africans, along with many Indians and South Asians, were brought to the Caribbean between the 15th and 19th centuries. It is their legacy combined with the contemporary descendants who bring their strong and lasting traditions into focus.”
ReadCaribbean programs are made possible by the support of the Green Family Foundation and the FIU Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center. Programs are created in partnership with Sosyete Koukouy. Established in 1985, Sosyete Koukouy is dedicated to preserving Haitian culture in the United States. The mission of the organization is the preservation, perpetuation and presentation of Haitian cultural performances and exhibitions to Creole and non-Creole-speaking audiences.
Saturday, Nov. 23 (All discussion in Room 8301 – Bldg. 8, Third Floor, except where noted below)
Caribbean Myth, Mythology, and Science Fiction
Caribbean writers publish gripping works in the fields of science fiction and fantasy—evolving the texture and nature of the genres with new perspectives and new approaches. Listen to four contemporary writers, Imam Baksh (Guyana), Ann Dávila Cardinal (Puerto Rico), Karen Lorde (Barbados), and Breanne McIvor (Trinidad) read from and discuss stories that edge beyond myth, mythology, and science fiction, and into reality. By imagining worlds altered by local lore, mythos, and futurism, their writing addresses questions or race, gender, and class fundamental to society. Moderated by Eddy Edwards (Riddims).
Caribbean Writers: Race, Gender, and Representation
Caribbean writers often occupy a space of hybridity, between worlds, so that they often engage with writing through the lenses of their perceived “otherness,” exploring the biases and inherited classifications, and the implications of writing from the margins. Edwidge Danticat (Haiti), Kevin Adonis Browne (Trinidad), Candice Carty-Williams (Jamaica), and Jaquira Diaz (Puerto Rico) will consider how, even as they honor each other’s identities, they can transcend the limitations that such categorizations may seem to impose. They will comment on how their own perceptions and representations of gender, race or ethnicity may have changed in recent years, and what traces of micro-aggression, fragmented identity, collective guilt, and memory mean for writing. Moderated by M.J. Fievre (Haiti).
Caribbean Journeys Through Time and Space
Caribbean writers in and outside of the Caribbean have been creating meaningful and evocative settings using sensitive and sophisticated approaches to displacement and repatriation. They’ve written across real and unreal boundaries and drawn on their homelands’ history and landscapes in order to create a broader Caribbean literary pantheon. Panelists will discuss how they create and consider real and imagined spaces, with particular attention to identity and territoriality. The influence of place and time upon one’s writing is known, but what if one is from a place that has many places within place, many times within time? David Chariandy (Trinidad/Toronto), Sara Collins (Jamaica/London), Angie Cruz (Dominican Republic/New York), and Uva de Aragón (Cuba/Miami) will explore how old addresses and new ones have shaped their literary selves and their work.
Sunday, Nov. 24 (All discussions in Room 8301 – Bldg. 8, Third Floor, except where noted below)
In English, with simultaneous interpretation into Haitian Creole
Haitian Drama in Its Death Throes
Historically, plays written in Haitian Creole have been vibrant and authentic, serving as a tool for educating the masses. The people of Haiti use drama in every form—religious drama (plays rooted in the Vodou religion), street theater, drama focused on social justice, activism, and revolutionary ideas—and all forms contribute in changing the political system in Haiti, with playwrights questioning the moral/ethical/social codes of their culture and bearing witness to their times. That is particularly true in the case of total theater, a work of art that unifies various literary disciplines (music, singing, dance, comedy, tragedy, mime, pantomime, etc.) and fosters an active audience participation. Haitian theater, however, whether set/performed in Haiti or in the diaspora, has been said to be in its death throes. Panelists Paula Clermont Pean, Menes Dejoie, Bob Lapierre, and Frantz Kiki Wainwright will dish about the good, the bad, and the ugly of Haitian theater, and explore how mindful storytelling, empathy, and metaphor are dramatic elements that can be mined to illuminate how to be a better citizen in increasingly harsh realities.
In English, with simultaneous interpretation into Haitian Creole
Is Haiti a Nation State?
Since 1804, Haiti owns a territory and occupies a specific geographical space. The country’s government is supposedly autonomous, and Haiti has a culture and a language allowing its people—more than 11 million, and majority black—to communicate amongst themselves. Yet, many observers wonder if Haiti is indeed a nation state. In other words, does Haiti fulfill all the criteria for sovereignty? Featuring five panelists whose living and writing transcend national borders, this panel reflects one of the world’s most complex places back on itself, focusing on one question: How can we reimagine Haiti—a home in crisis? Victor Benoit, Christophe Charles, and Alin Louis Hall will discuss the enduring difficulties Haiti has faced since independence. Moderated by Pierre Gerson Joseph (WSRF).
In French, with simultaneous interpretation into English
Caribbean Voices: Rising Tides
The rising tide of international literature and an increasing climate of global fluidity warrants us to dig deeper into the French and Creole works of modern Caribbean writers. This panel seeks to explore the aesthetics of Caribbean fiction by delving into conversations on the ways that the homeland of origin exerts emotional, cultural, spiritual, and imaginative influences both on the individual and collective consciousness. Ernest Pepin, Dominique Lancastre, Yamile Stitt, and Lyonel Trouillot will combine brief readings from their works and discuss the rising tides in new Caribbean literary narratives. Moderated by Jean-Jacques Garnier from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.