Dominican Rep. writer wins Caribbean “Grand Literature Prize”; St. Martin author at Caribbean Writers Congress roundtable and recital

MARIGOT, St. Martin (April 12, 2017)—The Association of Caribbean Writers (ACW) awarded its Grand Literature Prize to novelist Rita Indiana at the closing ceremony of the Caribbean Writers Congress (CWC) in Guadeloupe on April 8, 2017.

The winning novel, La mucama de Omicunlé (The Maid of Omicunlé) by the Dominican Republic writer/singer, was one of 45 books by leading and upcoming Caribbean authors listed for the juried prize, according to Dominique Hubert, project manager for the CWC (Congrès des écrivains de la Caraïbe).

The 5th edition of the biannual ACW congress was held at the ACTe Memorial in Pointe-à-Pitre (Lapwent). The association is based in Basse-Terre. The Grand Literature Prize of the only regional writers association is one of four major Caribbean-wide prizes for literature, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

The St. Martin writer Lasana M. Sekou was invited to the congress as an author/panelist and representative of HNP and the St. Martin Book Fair, according to Hubert. “Lasana was part of the ‘professional workshop’ on literary festivals and the poetry roundtable along with other publishers and authors,” said Sample. Sekou also recited his poem “Forensics” from Book of the dead at the ACTe Memorial on April 8.

Publishers, journalists, and book fair organizers at the congress joined over 100 authors from the Caribbean, South and Central America, USA, Africa, and Europe.

The St. Martin Book Fair director Shujah Reiph attended the writers congress as an audience guest. “Shujah contacted a number of leading authors formally, some to invite to the 15th annual St. Martin Book Fair, June 1 – 3, 2017, and some to consider for future editions of our literary festival,” said Sample. Reiph’s Conscious Lyrics Foundation and HNP organize the St. Martin Book Fair.

The five-day congress concluded its membership matters on Sunday, April 9 with the election of a new ACW board. The new ACW president is Lyonel Trouillot, a noted Haitian professor of literature, novelist, and poet. Trouillot replaces outgoing president Earl Lovelace, the acclaimed novelist from Trinidad and Tobago.

Lovelace was the recipient of the association’s Grand Literature Prize in 2011, when he received the award’s purse of 10,000 euros for his novel Is Just a Movie. The Region of Guadeloupe is the major sponsor of the ACW (L’Association des écrivains de la Caraïbe) and its Caribbean literature prize (Grand Prix littéraire).

 

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POINTE-À-PITRE (LAPWENT)—Meeting up in Guadeloupe at the Caribbean Writers Congress to “hold one head” while “headhunting” for authors for future editions of St. Martin Book Fair, L-R: Shujah Reiph, director, St. Martin Book Fair; Lynda Letang, member, Book Fair Committee; Lasana M. Sekou, author, HNP projects director (4.7.17). (Photo courtesy Fred Sapotille)