Literary Festival & Writers’ Conference
9-1 1 NOV ATLANTIS PARADISE ISLAND BAHAMAS
A PROJECT OF CREATIVE NASSAU • A MEMBER OF THE UNESCO CREATIVE CITIES NETWORK
9-11 ATLANTIS PARADISE ISLAND BAHAMAS
a c ele b rat ion of w r it ing
Collection Copyright 2018 Creative Nassau All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, copyright to individual contributions of creative writing belong to the contributors. SeaWords Bahamas a project of Creative Nassau a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network https://www.seawordsbahamas.com https://www.creativenassau.com Doongalik Studios 20 Village Road P.O. Box CB-13151 Nassau, The Bahamas Telephone (242) 394-1886 This document researched and written by Patricia Glinton-Meicholas and produced by Neko Meicholas Guanima Press Limited firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.guanimacreative.com
SeaWords Bahamas is a project of Creative Nassau (CN), a registered non-profit organization in The Bahamas, which was established in 2008 to promote Bahamian history, heritage, arts and the culture of The Bahamas in general. In 2014, after six years of work, CN secured membership in UNESCO’s global Creative Cities network, the first to do so without government backing. Four of the members of CN are members the SeaWords Bahamas team: Pam Burnside, president, Rosemary Hanna, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, vice president and Neko Meicholas. The origin of the Festival is simple. Richard Coulson approached Glinton-Meicholas with the idea of launching such an event and found fellow feeling, as the latter and her husband, Neko Meicholas, had been contemplating doing the same under the aegis of Guanima Press of which Neko is owner/publisher. Creative Nassau’s reasons for taking on this monumental project are several and based on the following sincerely held beliefs: • Writing and literature are essential to personal and national development; • The Bahamas has produced and continues to produce gifted poets and writers, but it is difficult for them to come to international notice, except for those who have migrated to larger, more developed countries; • Literature has not yet achieved the level of sponsorship it deserves in our country.
• Creative industries, including careers in writing and other literary pursuits, can profitably diversify the Bahamian economy; • Consumption of literature is fundamental to building basic and critical literacy. Our credo holds that critical literacy underpins invention, innovation and success in every discipline and every worthy endeavour.
critical literacy can propel students and citizens, more broadly toward greater participation in national discourse, and, ultimately, toward meaningful social transformation.
Of the productive value of literature, Michael C. Pintard, then Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, told 12 grade students of Mary, Star of the Sea School, Freeport, Grand Bahama: If you are minded, beyond literature, beyond The Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) to pursue an area in the creative industries, I want you to know that in many countries, this is one of the fastest growing segments of national economies; film, literature, performances, whether it is staged performances, or as musicians, persons in media, sports, all of those comprise creative industries.
The brilliant members of our organizing team and the carefully chosen, equally brilliant panel discussants and leaders of SeaWords workshops all espouse literature and writing. We all believe in their value in attaining growth of quality in a multiplicity of pursuits from the common to the grand. Many Bahamians are of like mind and we wish that we could have included many more superbly talented performers in this inaugural event. The need for diversity, funds and time, however, firmly dictated the boundaries of our natural liberality.
One of the participants in this inaugural SeaWords Bahamas event, expresses the centrality of critical literacy brilliantly: As a developing country, with the foregoing social and economic challenges and goals, achieving literacy is critical to The Bahamas’ continued development. While the importance of basic literacy is acknowledged equally important to meeting these (economic challenges) is attaining critical literacy… Critical literacy is… the lens through which we examine texts in various forms and modalities, and challenges assumptions and ideas about our society and our world. Ultimately, it involves recognizing the power not only to read and critically analyse ideas, but, where necessary, to present alternative perspectives on issues of national importance; thus
~ Marie Sairsingh, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, University of The Bahamas.
For the foregoing reasons also, I have chosen to take this festival publication beyond the usual “programme booklet” and make it a tribute to a sample of Bahamian writers and writing, from the 18th century to this second decade of the 21st. I end with something I said some years ago in an interview regarding my hope for literature and literacy in The Bahamas: I dream of a truly, confidently literate Bahamas—a country where we will take joy and search out word art as ardently as we pursue junkanoo and music; a country in which creatives don’t have to pretend to see the emperor clothed when he is obviously naked, to follow trends from without rather than from within and condemn those who, like the small boy, will have none of this pompous falsity. I want to see a Bahamas where we can count yearly on the appearance of great fora, journals, books, etc. For this we need more cooperative efforts, more good critics, more readers, more literature in our schools, shared by teachers who have the skill and appreciation to bring literature to life and share it with their students as an essential element of their development. PATRICIA GLINTON-MEICHOLAS, EDITOR
PAMELA BURNSIDE Logistics Services Coordinator
Pam Burnside is the editor of the book I Come To Get Me by Arlene Nash-Ferguson, which provides an inside look into The Bahamas’ cultural festival of Junkanoo, and was a proofreader for the Dawn Davies’ Art Collection Catalogue, Love & Responsibility. In 1978, Pam and her late husband, Jackson Burnside III, established Doongalik Studios to offer diverse art, design and cultural entertainment services to the public with the mission that ‘by the year 2020 more persons will visit The Bahamas for its Arts, Culture and Heritage rather than merely for its sun, sand and sea. To solidify this mission, in 2008 they formed Creative Nassau (CN). In 2014 CN achieved the designation of the Bahamas capital, Nassau, as a City of Crafts and Folk Art in the prestigious UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Pam is the President of this registered non-profit community organization. A founding member and Secretary of Transforming Spaces, Pam is actively involved in the development and planning of that successful annual art tour, begun in 2005. In 2011, in conjunction with the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, she curated ‘Master Artists of The Bahamas’, an exhibition encompassing the work of eleven Bahamian artists. The show travelled to the Waterloo Center for the Arts in Iowa, USA and then on to Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida in 2012. Pam manages the Doongalik Studios Art Gallery on Village Road, exhibiting and promoting the work of a range of local artists. She also hosts a weekend Farmer’s Market, coordinates the new bi-monthly Art Walk in Marina Village at the Atlantis, Paradise Island, and curates the art display showcases at the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau. Pam Burnside graduated from McMaster University in Canada with a B.A. degree in English and subsequently earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion and Textiles from St Martin’s School of Art in London, England. For a number of years, she operated a clothing factory and designer boutique in The Bahamas.
Seawords Bahamas Organizers RICHARD COULSON Richard Coulson’s memoir of his peripatetic life, A Corkscrew Life: Adventures of a Traveling Financier, vividly describes his unique travels and the exceptional people he met along the way. His adventures began at birth and continued into his childhood with his glamorous mother in Nassau, Bahamas. Following an Ivy League education and army service in Korea, he became a New Yorker practicing law with a major Wall Street firm. His move into investment led to eight years in London, and his eventual return to Nassau, an offshore financial centre. His professional career has involved projects with locations ranging from Latin America to Europe to the Far East, with particular emphasis on Mexico, where he advised on many ventures and made lifelong friends. He enjoyed gaining intriguing insights with contacts in Iran, Iraq, Malaysia and Switzerland, as well as a notorious American inside-trader, and a charming fugitive scoundrel known as the “Pirate of Prague”. During Richard Coulson’s career as lawyer and investment banker, he lived in New York City, London, and finally, in Nassau, Bahamas. He continues his work as a financial consultant and an author of articles and a monthly newspaper column. He has enjoyed worldwide travel exposing him to exceptional personalities and unique adventures.
NEKO MEICHOLAS Communications Website creator/manager Advertising Graphics
ROSEMARY HANNA Photography
Rosemary Clarice Hanna is author of the book Pictorial History and Memories of Nassau’s OverThe-Hill. The work was driven by Rosemary’s distress at the decay afflicting her childhood neighbourhood. With over 300 colour and black and white images of churches, homes and families, the work paints a picture of what life was like in the “Over-The-Hill” area of New Providence. Based on the book, Hanna’s documentary film “Nassau’s Over-The-Hill” premiered at Government House, official residence of the Governor-General in 2014. She also hosted the educational TV series “The Bahamas – then and NOW”, centering on the preservation of Bahamian history, heritage, the creative arts and culture. She is also a member of Creative Nassau and of the Board of The “Bahamian Project” and one of its photographers. The Project is creating a permanent collection of portraits for posterity. Hanna holds associate degrees in Banking & Finance and Music from the College of The Bahamas, and a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada. She enjoyed a 40-year financial services career and is an Associate of the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (ABIFS).
Neko Meicholas is owner and publisher of Guanima Press Limited. He is a fine artist, illustrator, photographer, graphic and web designer and video producer. His professional experiences have included work with Pan American Health Organization, stints with several of the major marketing and advertising agencies in The Bahamas and years as a production manager for one of the largest local printing firms. More than 20 years ago, Meicholas founded Guanima Press for a very specific reason. Having attended sessions where his poet/writer wife and others like her read from their works, he came to realize that The Bahamas’ literary world needed a publishing house that would provide editing services and put out books that would be accepted by libraries and booksellers globally. Since then, Meicholas’ select list includes more than 40 books and he has brought to light such works as Dame Ivy Dumont’s From Roses to Mount Fitzwilliam, Michael Pintard’s Still Standing, Davidson Hepburn’s memoir Terribly Well. Meicholas’ giving has been extensive but discreet. He has a particular passion for promoting literacy and literature, especially through his “Guanima Books for Students” by which he has given away thousands of books. His clients have also included the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, The Ministry of Education, Rum Bahamas Festival, Colina (Imperial Life), The Roman Catholic Archdiocese, The Ministry of Education, The College of The Bahamas (University of The Bahamas), The Ministry of Tourism, The Cancer Society of The Bahamas, master artisan Barbara Jesubatham and the late Sir Durward Knowles.
Chair, magazine editor, funding, public/media relations
Patricia GlintonMeicholas is a poet, essayist, author, cultural critic and a respected researcher in Bahamian folklore, art, culture and history. She was the first winner of the Bahamas Cacique Award for Writing and recipient of a Silver Jubilee of Independence Medal for Literature. Her poetry collection, Chasing Light was a finalist in the 2012 International Proverse Prize Competition, and was published by Proverse Hong Kong. In 2015 The School of English Studies of the University of The Bahamas presented her with a lifetime achievement award for contributions to culture and literature. At the institution’s Charter Day ceremony, she presented her poem, “All Hail Our University” written for the occasion.
ADJUNCT MEMBERS LerDon Barr is intrigued with the literary world, which prompted her to obtain her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Language (Secondary Education) from The College of The Bahamas. Mrs Barr has been contributing to the teaching profession for over fifteen years and prides herself on being an innovative instructor. Involvements such as The Drama Club, Interact, World Scholar’s Cup and Speech and Debate coach, are just a few of the initiatives, which she has spearheaded to expand the learning and skill-building experiences of her students. Also, she has judged many literary competitions both nationally and internationally and is a budding writer herself. Above all, after numerous certifications to hone her craft, she believes that inspiring creativity in others is the greatest craft of life. LERDON BARR Teacher, R. M. Bailey High School
Three of Glinton-Meicholas’ 20 published books are in use in the schools of The Bahamas: An Evening in Guanima (short stories), A Shift in the Light (novel) and Robin’s Song, a poetry collection for children. Her short story “The Gaulin Wife”, appeared in the Penguin Anthology Under the Storyteller’s Spell as early as 1988 and she has contributed poetry to local and international publications. She has contributed essays to the 34-volume Grove Dictionary of Art (1996); eight biographies to the Oxford University Press Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography, and, most recently, a chapter in Routledge’s Companion to International Children’s Literature. She has also contributed to the ProQuest series. Additionally, Glinton-Meicholas has written and directed several film documentaries. A respected public speaker, Glinton-Meicholas’ presentations have included the Sir Lynden Pindling Memorial Lecture; the Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage at City Hall, London, UK; the 2012 Commencement Address at the College of The Bahamas, and the Keva M. Bethel Distinguished Lecture. In 2015 the Saint Louis Art Museum invited her to pay tribute to the revered American poet Maya Angelou. Glinton-Meicholas spent an aggregate of 17 years with The College of The Bahamas as a member of faculty and the administration. She is Vice President of Creative Nassau, co-hosts the Creative Nassau radio show broadcast twice weekly on 102.9 FM. Her participation in community affairs is extensive.
LINDA FISHER Librarian, Government High School Senior Teacher Linda Fisher is currently employed by the Ministry of Education at the Government High School where she is the librarian. She has been teaching in Bahamian public and private high schools for 38 years and is also a college instructor in English and Education courses. Ms Fisher is a graduate of St Anne’s High School and The Honor Oak Grammar School for Girls, Peckham Rye, London, U.K. She earned a Teachers Certificate from the College of the Bahamas, a B.Sc. Education in English and Social Studies from University of Miami and obtained a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction (K – 12) from the University of St Thomas, Minnesota. She is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star (MF & AM).
Captain Charles Johnson: A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates (1724), a satire on British authorities. …the judge got up a tree and had a dirty Tarpaulin hung over his shoulders… Judge: You must suffer, for three Reasons: first, because it is not fit I should sit here as Judge, and no Body be hang’d. Secondly, you must be hang’d because you have a dam’d hanging Look – and thirdly, you must be hang’d because I am hungry: for know, Sirrah, that ‘tis a Custom, that whenever the Judge’s Dinner is ready before the Tryal is over, the Prisoner is to be hang’d of Course—There’s Law for you, ye Dog—So take him away Gaoler.
Mary Elizabeth Kelsall – Henrietta, My Daughter (Excerpt, 1802) Writing news of Eliza Duncombe, another of her four daughters, Mary Elizabeth noted to Henrietta: Wonderful to tell, she had a ball at their house about a fortnight ago; she had five ladies and a good many gentlemen, and what makes more surprising, all these ladies had received their education in England. Another of her letters provides a look at the other side of Loyalist life—the pathos of slavery: The negroes are in general in good health, and they all dread the idea of being sold. Henrietta, My Daughter is a collection of letters to one of Kelsall’s four daughters that give a picture of the lives of the Loyalists, who exited the United States following the American War of Independence and were resettled in British colonies in the Americas such as The Bahamas. Mary Elizabeth came to these islands with husband William and daughters in February 1790, but suffered declining financial circumstances following his early death in 1792. The collection was edited by Mary K. Armbrister circa 1824. John Boyd: The Vision and Other Poems in Blank Verse (1834) The Last Day (Excerpt) Ah me!—that advent hour: When Messiah, enthroned in power, Shall descend with his sacred train, Through air, o’er earth, and wat’ry main To summon man’s vile erring race, The great judge in his wrath in face: The quick and the dead to judgement call, And fix the future doom of all! The pealing trumpet shall resound, And blazy light’nings flare around! Loud thunders burst in awful tone And ruin spread her pall alone! The falling stars shall shower forth Their scathing fires upon the earth,
And, rushing in a torrent-stream, The burning waves of flame shall beam: The sun shall flee the face of day, An deep in darkness merge his ray! The elements commingling roll-“The heaven’s vanish like a scroll!” John E. L. Boyd was a free person of colour in the 19th century, born on New Providence island in the Bahamas. His 1834 book, The Vision and Other Poems in Blank Verse, may be the first book published by a native, non-white Bahamian. He was selftaught, but the fact that Charles Rogers Nesbitt, Secretary of the Colony (1831-1867) and sometime Lieutenant Governor wrote the foreword “Preliminary Observations” speaks to his respect that Sir James Carmichael-Smyth (Governor of the Bahamas 1829-1833) had made him Clerk of Visitors of the King’s School suggests that Boyd’s skills were of a high order. In a communication to the Colonial Office in London, Carmichael-Smyth commented on Boyd’s talents: “If your Lordship has time to look at the minutes herewith enclosed; your Lordship will not look at them with less interest for their being in the handwriting of a free black man of the name of Boyd whom I have appointed Clerk of the Visitors.” From The Vision and Other Poems in Blank Verse Exeter. Printed by R. J. Trewman; London, Longman, 1834 Henry Christopher Christie: Blackbeard or The Pirate of the Isles: A Romance of the Bahamas (late 1800s) The Lucayan’s Lament (Excerpt) (The speaker is a surviving Lucayan chief ) The Lucayan describes the idyllic life enjoyed by the original inhabitants of these islands, and then he says in part: “Ah! day of days, accursed day The day when Lucay fell, The Spanish guns within the bay, Sounded our funeral knell, And slowly as a funeral train, The people swarmed from hill and plain, And on the ships of cursed Spain They passed from Heav’n to Hell.” From Blackbeard or The Pirate of the Isles: A Romance of the Bahamas. Bahamas Publishing Co. Ltd. (1955) Christie was remembered in a speech by His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes GCMG, Governor-General at the One Bahamas Service, Ebenezer Methodist Church, 28 November 2010. Sons of Henry Christopher Christie were Frank Holmes Christie, CBE and Sir Harold George Christie, KT, CBE, who founded the real estate firm H.G. Christie Ltd. in 1922. Both, at some point, served in the House of Assembly.
MARION BETHEL “On a Coral Cay” (Excerpt) On a coral cay we live on a tourist plantation and a banking estate, where the air is conditioned and so the hands that do not know the fishing line or pineapple soil. We produce nothing, or hardly; we service the world, or nearly. In our air conditioned service we are blessed waiters of grace divine.
The SeaWords Poets
Bethel, Marion. in Guanahani, My Love. Edicion Casa de Las Americas, 1994 Marion Bethel is an attorney, poet, essayist, filmmaker, human and gender rights activist, and writer from Nassau, The Bahamas. Bethel has published two poetry books, namely, Guanahani, My Love, which won the Casa de Las Americas Prize in 1994 and Bougainvillea Ringplay which was published in 2009 by Peepal Tree Press, Leeds, England. Her writing has appeared in journals and anthologies, including The Massachusetts Review, River City. She edited a special section of The Caribbean Writer Vol. 13, 1999 called Poetry from the Bahamas. She was the Alice Proskauer Poetry Fellow at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Harvard University (September 1997 to August 1998). In 2012 Bethel produced a documentary film entitled Womanish Ways: Freedom, Human Rights and Democracy, The Women’s Suffrage Movement in The Bahamas 19481962. The Rotary Club of Nassau Sunrise recognized Ms. Bethel with a Paul Harris Award in November 2012. In 2014 Bethel became the first Bahamian and 11th recipient of the prestigious CARICOM award for women. Two years later, she was elected committee member of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Bethel holds a Bachelor of Arts (Law) and Master of Arts (Law); Cambridge University; Master of Arts (Education); Columbia University; and Bachelor of Arts (Spanish), McGill University.
CHRISTIAN CAMPBELL “To Hold a Meditation” (Excerpt) Laid out on the shore, he is a shell of the sea’s patience. Still in his blind-white catechist’s gown, now all laced with seaweed, coral has cocooned his legs, caked his graying hair. Eyes closed with two stones. All on shore rejoice my find— the brethren, the braiders, the cigar sellers, the lovers. We smoke spliffs from pages of the Bible: first Peter, then Matthew, then all of Psalms. Campbell, Christian. “To Hold a Meditation”, Running the Dusk (Peepal Tree Press, 2010) Christian Campbell is a Trinidadian Bahamian poet, essayist and cultural critic. He is the author of Running the Dusk (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), which won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was a finalist for the Forward Prize for the Best First Collection and the Cave Canem Poetry Prize among other awards. Running the Dusk was also translated into Spanish and published in Cuba as Correr el Crepúsculo (Ediciones Santiago, 2015). In 2012, he delivered the fifteenth annual Derek Walcott Lecture for Nobel Laureate Week in St Lucia. Note: Campbell was invited to participate in SeaWords but unable to attend in person.
PATRICE FRANCIS “Affected, Afflicted and Takin’ Last!” (Excerpt) Tonight I realize We don’ need politics to spread her mouth We could revitalize our own soul – By gathering, By talking to each udder, By learning we neighbour name, An’ bearing we brudder burden. By popping in one Ronnie cd, By remembering Exuma was a man, an island an’ a planet, A planet, an island an’ a man. By picking up one guitar now an’ den, An’ whether we play it or not, Waving dem strings up ta heaven An’ tanking God for forming Youngie. Yeah, grunt right dere like Joseph Spence used to grunt. Grunt! Cus Bain town ain no ghetto, An’ Timothy Gibson did already know Dat pledging to excel Is still da best revenge. Last! Patrice Francis was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas in what she terms “a village of independent thinkers who valued education, oral history, hospitality and service to humanity.” A playwright, Patrice has written and produced various plays including two full-lengths at The Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts. Having contributed her poetry to several anthologies over the years, in 2016, she co-wrote the book of Bahamian poetry and photography, Catch da Cat, a celebration of the culture and people of Cat Island. Additionally, she has extensive written and broadcast experience, and is best known locally as the host of the iconic television show, Native Show. She earned an Associate’s degree in Bio/ Chemistry and a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and subsequently a Master’s degree in Psychology and Counselling, both from Troy State University (Alabama).
PATRICIA GLINTON-MEICHOLAS “Stormtrooper” I cried shame on the normally bold, hotheaded sun for vacillating and wetting himself in a sky echoing with thunderous volleys finally fleeing before the lightning charge of a million crackling, sulphurous volts. But all was soon forgiven. He retrieved his name when in the grey dregs of declining day he fired a defiant parting shot turning crystal sea to molten pewter and satin-leaf trees to brazen flame. From Glinton-Meicholas, Patricia. No Vacancy in Paradise. Guanima Press, 2001 Note: Glinton-Meicholas’ biography appears earlier in this publication.
HELEN KLONARIS “Kore’s Nightmare” I shiver though it is not cold I speak to you and words pour out through unpainted lips like a river loosed breaking through centuries old stone walls wild with grief and rage and like grief and rage, inexhaustible. From “Kore’s Nightmare”. Helen Klonaris is a Bahamian human rights activist, writer and teacher of comparative mythology and religion at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Klonaris’ collection of stories If I Had the Wings was published by Peepal Tree Press (2017). The book was longlisted for the prestigious 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have been published in Calyx, So to Speak, The Caribbean Writer, Poui, Small Axe Salon, Proud Flesh, Anthurium and such anthologies as The Racial Imaginary: Writers and the Life of the Mind, Haunted Tropics: Caribbean Ghost Stories, and Let’s Tell This Story Properly. Her short story “Cowboy” was shortlisted in the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and she was the International Writer in Residence in the 2017 Small Wonder Short Story Festival. She co-edited the anthology Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices with Amir Rabiyah (2015). Klonaris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Wesleyan University and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Consciousness from the New College of California. She was the founder and co-founder of The Rainbow Alliance of the Bahamas, and WomanSpeak: A Journal for Caribbean Women’s Literature and Art and most recently, the Bahamas Writers Summer Institute.
ERIC ROSE I Old Man Collins came to church today. He wiped his feet on the worn welcome mat And sauntered in during the Minister’s procession, Walking with the stride of a man Proud of his colour Set in his ways Sure of his Strength. He walked behind Deacon Davis, Keeping in time with their solemn march, As they oozed like Holy Mercury to the pulpit. Rose, Eric. “Old Man Collins”, Poetry of A Life Renewed: A Selection of Poems. Lulu. com, 2017. Born in Nassau, The Bahamas, Eric Demond Rose, a photojournalist and poet holds a Print Journalism BA degree from Clark Atlanta University (CAU), where he was awarded the Internal Journalism Award and served as Editor-In-Chief of the newspaper, ‘The Panther’. He earned the International Communications MA degree from Communications University of China (2015). He was the first foreigner to win a top prize in the prestigious Ying Shi photography competition. Rose was the official photojournalist/journalist for the Bahamas National Children’s Choir performances in Prague, Czech Republic and China and Bahamian delegations to China, the Isle of Wight and the Caribbean. He also had a photography spread in the U.S.-based “Afar” Travel Magazine ( January 2011). His poetry appears in such anthologies as Poui and Carifesta X and a limited production of “Lorraine Hansberry: A Work in Progress,” in Atlanta, showcased his poem “Fairy Tales.” His book A Life Renewed: A Selection of Poems By Eric Rose was published in 2017.
LELAWATTEE (ASHA) MANOO-RAHMING “Guanahani” (Excerpt) “If I rested my head on your bosom Would I hear a primal pulse Heart beats of a hutia-skin drum?” If I inhaled you reminiscent Would I recollect infinity Wet with sea spray suds and spume? “And if I called your name Guanahani Let it glide like a seagull on the wind Would you respond, in whale song blues?” Manoo-Rahming, Lelawatee.”Guanahani”, Immortelle and Bhandaaraa Poems, Proverse Hong Kong, 2011. Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming is a Trinidadian Bahamian Mechanical/Building Services Engineer, poet, fiction writer, and artist. Her first book of poetry, Curry Flavour, was published in 2000 by Peepal Tree Press. Her second collection of poetry, Immortelle and Bhandaaraa Poems, was shortlisted for the Inaugural Proverse Literary Prize, and contains some of her artwork (Proverse Hong Kong, 2009) Manoo-Rahming has won the David Hough Literary Prize and the Canute A. Brodhurst Prize from The Caribbean Writer; the Grand Prize in the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association 2001 Short Story Competition; and was shortlisted for the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize for Fiction in 2013. She has also been published in WomanSpeak: a Journal for Caribbean Women’s Literature and Art; Anthurium; Poui; Interviewing The Caribbean; The Commonwealth Foundation’s addastories; Akashic Books Duppy Thursday; and Caribbean Erotic. Peepal Tree Press, 2011. Her work has also appeared in Capitals, a poetry anthology on the capital cities of the world (Bloomsbury, 2016); Thicker Than Water, an anthology of poems, fiction and creative non-fiction by Hollick Arvon Prize finalists (Peekash, 2018); as well as We Mark Your Memory an anthology of writings by the descendants of indenture (eds. Dabydeen, Kaladeen and Ramnarine. Pub. School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with Commonwealth Writers, 2018).
THEA RUTHERFORD “Ode to a Red Seagrape Tree” (Excerpt)
ZEMI STEWART “Lukku-Cairi” (Excerpt) Red skinned Lucayans hidden in thick brush and limestone caves Send heartfelt cries to Taino ears high on mountain peaks Scratches leak blood of the same consistency of Caribs Whose scars glisten in the sun as they fight back With poisoned arrows, sharpened stones and piercing bones Once separated from Tainos By years of vile war, savageness and cannibalism United now in a front to save Their beautiful land of water and green From pale faces who only see In shades of green, gold and white pearl Fragile minds enslaved and afraid As they mourn the lynched Caciques That hang from the branches of mango trees Quinep trees, sycamore trees, silk cotton trees Or fall broken and rotten to the ground To be savored by Spanish dogs Mange, rabies, fleas Stewart, Zemi. “Lukku-Cairi”, I Gave It to the Pages. The Author, 2014 Zemi Stewart describes herself as a “hard-heel island girl” who grew up catching lizards and frogs. Originally from Gregory Town, Eleuthera, she moved to Nassau as a teen after the sudden death of her mother. Through writing poetry and short stories, Stewart found a way to manage her pain and eventually heal. Releasing her pain to the pages became her therapy and helped her overcome the loss of her mother, subsequent heartbreaks & an abusive relationship. Her book, I Gave It to the Pages is a collection of prose and poetry that follows her journey through motherlessness and womanhood. Stewart graduated from the University of Waterloo (ON, Canada) with a B.A. in Mathematical Economics in June 2017. Though a creative at heart, she works as a business analyst and volunteers as a mathematics tutor. One of her greatest desires is to inspire young women to overcome adverse circumstances and attain selfworth.
Decked in red-leafed defiance You stand Like a flame tree, shady, in Your canopy and your motives Painting light On freckled faces Of your burnished leaves. Your green offspring Huddle in homage to A monarch Of the shoreline Roots seasoned in majesty Published in Yinna, Vol. 4, BACUS, Guanima Press Ltd., 2012 Currently a Language and Literature teacher at Bishop Michael Eldon School, Thea Rutherford has produced writings covering a range of topics for the past thirteen years. Previously, she worked as a reporter for The Nassau Guardian for seven years as a features reporter, writing numerous stories for the Lifestyles and Arts & Culture sections. Rutherford’s works of non-fiction and poetry have been published in regional literary journals, including The Caribbean Writer and Yinna. She holds a B.A. in History and Political Science from McGill University and a Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rutherford earned a second Master’s degree in Arts Education from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.
IDE AMARI THOMPSON Ide Amari Thompson is a “true true” Bahamian-American writer and poet who hopes with his work to “wake the sleepers wide.” As a Senior at the University of the Bahamas studying History, English, and Linguistics, Ide is well suited to “integrate and interrogate Bahamian and Caribbean social life and ways in which these cultures interact with and are influenced by other cultures.” He believes that all forms of creative literature, and especially the written word, are avenues by which various groups can learn about not only their differences but also more importantly their commonalities.
Workshop Leaders & Panelists
Note: The biographies of presenters Rosemary Hanna, Helen Klonaris, Neko Meicholas and Patricia GlintonMeicholas appear earlier in this publication.
Dionne Benjamin-Smith has achieved critical regard and success as a professional graphic designer and visual artist. In the late 1990s, Benjamin-Smith created an email marketing service promoting local art and cultural events. Over the years it evolved into a popular weekly digital online eMagazine called Bahamian Art & Culture Newsletter, produced by Smith & Benjamin Art & Design, a company owned by Dionne and her husband, Jolyon Smith. The eMagazine highlights local art and cultural events, competitions, and workshops and also features editorials, letters to the editor, academic art texts, and inspirational news and stories about local, regional, and international artists and creatives, boasting a sizeable readership in The Bahamas, Caribbean, and throughout the world. Recently, Benjamin-Smith was inspired to create an independent publishing press called Smith+Benjamin Publishing geared towards producing books that give voice to writers, poets, and artists outside of the mainstream who otherwise would never be heard. To date, the new press has published two books, Lou Lihou, The Artist and the Sea and The Bahamas: A Lifetime of Photography by Roland Rose. Dionne BenjaminSmith obtained a BFA in Graphic Design with honours from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
Nicolette Bethel, Ph.D. is a playwright, poet, fiction writer and anthropologist. Nicolette Bethel served as Director of Culture for The Bahamas for five years (2003-2008). She founded the Shakespeare in Paradise theatre festival (2009) and Ringplay Productions theatre company (2001). She was founder and editor-in-chief of tongues of the ocean, an online literary journal (2009-2014). She edited Junkanoo: Festival of The Bahamas (Macmillan Caribbean, 1991). Her 1990 play Powercut was made into a film released by Plantation Pictures in 2001. In 2008, her second play, The Children’s Teeth, was produced in Nassau and Guyana to critical acclaim. Her essays, poetry, and plays have appeared in such anthologies as The Oxford and Cambridge May Anthologies 1993, WomanSpeak, Yinna, Trespass Magazine, The Caribbean Writer, Calabash, Social Identities and others. Her poetry chapbooks include Mama Lily and the Dead, Lent/Elegies. A third collection of poems was published in If, as part of the installation of the same name in Transforming Spaces 2015. Bethel is also a theatre director, whose credits include two productions at Pearson College, BC, Canada in the 1990s: Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and many in Nassau. Most recently she oversaw the dramaturgy and direction of Shakespeare in Paradise’s Short Tales (2018). Nicolette Bethel holds a BA (Hons) in Literature and French from the University of Toronto, and an MPhil and a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge. She is currently Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of The Bahamas, and serves as Chair of the School of Social Sciences.
Orchid Burnside has an extensive knowledge of the Bahamian Art scene and joined Islandz Tours team in 2013 as a guide on the Gallery Hop and Art & Dine tours, while pursuing other projects at various cultural institutions. In 2014, she became a full time member of the Islandz Tours Group, in the capacity of Tour Manager.
Gravette D. Brown is the Chief Commercial Officer at Aliv, the Bahamas’ newest and best telecommunications company. She is the VP responsible for the marketing, communications, business and product development portfolio at Aliv. Before joining Aliv Ltd. She was an investment professional with 18 years of experience in the fields of portfolio management and emerging market principal investing. Ms Brown began her international career as an associate at JP Morgan in New York City and Geneva, Switzerland where she worked as a business analyst in the investment and private banking divisions. She then worked for 12 years at the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, where she attained the rank of Principal Investment Officer and concluded her career there leading the corporation’s investments in the manufacturing and services sectors across the African continent – a $250 MM per annum business. Gravette has lived and worked in New York, New York; Washington, DC; Geneva, Switzerland; Dakar, Senegal and Lagos, Nigeria. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA where she graduated with Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees in International Relations, French and Economics. She is also the holder of a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Columbia University in New York, New York with a concentration in Finance. She speaks fluent French.
Orchid completed her undergraduate degree at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, in Music and French. Following her studies, Orchid remained in the United States to work for the prestigious Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. She returned to The Bahamas with a commitment to develop and impart her country’s rich cultural heritage with Bahamians and guests alike.
Erica Wells-Cox is a communications and media professional with more than 20 years’ experience, Wells Cox works across print, broadcast, digital and online platforms. She began her career as a reporter at The Tribune newspaper and has served in senior editorial positions at The Tribune and Nassau Guardian, as news editor and managing editor respectively. Most recently she served as managing editor of the Bahamas Handbook. In addition to a strong background in news reporting and production, Erica writes regularly about Bahamian history, culture and heritage. She started the arts and culture sections in both The Tribune and Nassau Guardian. She has also written for the New York Times and The Associated Press, and has contributed to BBC Caribbean and The Times of London newspaper, among other international news agencies. Erica earned a BA in English from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, in 1995, and a Master’s in international journalism from City University in London, England, in 1999. She is the current president of the Board of Directors for the Hands for Hunger organization.
Christopher Curry (Ph. D.) serves as Associate Professor of History and Chair of the School of Social Sciences at University of The Bahamas. Dr Curry has published several books and articles. In 2006, he successfully coauthored a three-volume series entitled Social Studies for Bahamian Secondary Schools. Published by Macmillan Caribbean, these books are widely circulated throughout Junior-High Schools in The Bahamas. Published articles include: “The contributions of Baptists to Education in The Bahamas,” American Baptist Quarterly 26:4(2007): 374-387; “A Critique of Bahamian Society After Emancipation,” At Random, 9 (Fall 2004): 26-28; and “Christianity and Slavery in The Bahamas: A Catalyst for Revolutionary change or a Quest for Respectability,” in The Bahamas Historical Journal (October 2005): 4-8. Recently published in the spring of 2017 is his monographic study entitled Freedom and Resistance: A Social History of Black Loyalists in The Bahamas. Dr Curry has presented papers at several important academic conferences including Harvard University’s 2010 Atlantic World Summer Institute. In 2004, he researched and co-produced a thirteen-week television series on Bahamian history entitled “Time Longer than Rope: The History of the Bahamian People”.” He is Chair of the National Reparations Commission and is the Director of Education on the Clifton Heritage Authority Board. Curry earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Connecticut in 2011.
Dorothea Davis (nee Francis) is a product of the Fort Fincastle community of the 1940s and beyond. Her childhood was coloured with stories told by her aunts and uncle. She was unaware, at the time, that this was a cultural tradition passed on for generations as a means to amuse and entertain anyone willing to listen. In her first book, Tales My Brothers Told Me and Other Myths…, she recounts the stories of the elders and her brothers, who believed they were endowed with this gift. In her second book (soon to be published) Reflections of a Bahamian Policewoman 1965 - 1984, she speaks to the events of that era focusing primarily on her tenure in the Royal Bahamas Police Force. She is a 1958 graduate of St John’s College, Nassau; a 20-year veteran of the Police Force. She read Law at Buckingham University and currently lectures at the Police Training College.
Kendrick Delaney Jr is the Senior Business Development Manager at Aliv, The Bahamas’ best telecommunications company. He is responsible for product development and digital solutions portfolio at Aliv. Before joining Aliv, he was a senior consultant and business professional with 12 years of experience in the fields of enterprise building, process digitization, training and business management. He began his international career as a database manager and advisor at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, USA where he reimagined application processing and student services for four campuses across the USA. He then worked for several years at the University of Rhode Island managing a similar portfolio including marketing and international education. Kendrick most recently lived in Singapore and Canada where he worked as a senior business consultant for restaurants and hotel groups hoping to grow their enterprises by digitizing processes and creating new revenue opportunities. He has lived and worked in Providence, Rhode Island; Singapore, and Toronto, Ontario. He is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI with a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship. He is also the holder of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI with a concentration in International Trade.
Erica Pople Ferreira is the managing partner at Ferreira & Company, a boutique Nassau-based law firm. Her practice focuses on Intellectual Property law and management, corporate and commercial law, real estate law and project management, resort and hotel development and legislative and policy drafting, with special emphasis on intellectual property and environmental matters. Erica has approximately twenty-five years’ experience in managing intellectual property portfolios, inclusive of trade marks, design copyrights, copyrights and patents. She currently co-chairs the Intellectual Property Committee of The Bahamas Bar Association and is actively involved in the overhaul of the Bahamas’ intellectual property legislation. Diane Gedymin has worked in nearly every area of the book publishing industry and published many U.S. national best sellers. She was formerly senior vice president and publisher of HarperSanFrancisco (HarperCollins), where she acquired and edited Sidney Poitier’s #1 New York Times best-selling autobiography, The Measure of a Man, and was the worldwide host publisher of Just as I Am by Billy Graham, another #1 New York Times best seller. Gedymin was also vice president and senior editor at the Putnam/Berkley Group (Penguin), where she edited and acquired Sheri Reynolds’ novel, The Rapture of Canaan, also a #1 New York Times best seller. She is the publisher of Grant’s Town Press, an independent publisher in Nassau, where she edited and published Sir Orville Turnquest’s best seller What Manner of Man Is This? The Duke of Windsor’s Years in The Bahamas. She is also the founder and president of The Publisher’s Desk, which offers professional publishing services to authors, publishers and literary agents such as author coaching, editing, packaging, and publishing consultation. Gedymin is the co-author of Get Published! Professionally, Affordably, Fast. She divides her time between the metro New York City area and The Bahamas. Felicity L. Johnson is the author of The Black Prince of Grant’s Town: The Life of a Bahamian Hero, a combination of a memoir of her father, who served in World War II as a member of the Royal Air Force and a well-researched history of the RAF in that extraordinary period. She began her professional life as a public school teacher and later joined the faculty of the College of The Bahamas. In 1984 she took up the study of law and was called to the Bahamas Bar in January 1988, practicing in private chambers for 10 years thereafter. She next joined the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation as in-house Legal Counsel. She participated as a member of all government-appointed committees during the lengthy privatization process and also developed expertise in regulatory telecommunications law. Retiring from BTC in 2013, she joined Cable Bahamas Ltd in 2015, as General Counsel for both Rev and the country’s second cellular licensee Aliv. In 2017 Johnson was honoured with the Women of Distinction Global Leadership Award in Telecommunications. She is a member of the Bahamas Bar Association, the Bahamas National Trust and the Historical Society. She has written several articles on contemporary topics which have been published in the local media. Felicity Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from McMaster University, Canada, teaching certification from the University of the West Indies and a Master of Arts from the University of Miami.
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Michelle Malcolm is a veteran journalist who spent more than two decades in the field of broadcasting, Michelle Malcolm is the former General Manager of the Verizon Media Group. She served as Director of Public Affairs for Genting’s Resorts World Bimini (RWB) where her responsibilities included public relations, communications with the Resort’s internal and external customers, and community liaison officer. Prior to joining the team at RWB, she served as consultant to the Ministry of Tourism where she wrote, produced and co-hosted the Tourism Today television series as well as a number of PSAs. Malcolm’s tenure at the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas spanned 20 years, during which time she held a number of positions, ranging from Deputy General Manager with responsibility for Television Programming and Production to News Anchor and Talk Show host. Her civic undertakings include the Presidency of the Miss Bahamas Organization, which positively impacts the lives of young women through its enhancement program.
Kareem Mortimer has won over 31 awards for his projects. His work has been distributed in more than forty countries. Broadcast on PBS and the ASpiRe Network, his short film “Passage” was named by Cine Caribes as one of the ten best Caribbean films and Kareem named as “a director you should already know.” His most recent narrative film “Cargo” has premiered in over two dozen film festivals around the world. Mortimer wrote and directed the short narrative film “Float” that has won five international awards and has been distributed in North America, Germany, Australia, and Austria. In 2011, he released his debut feature film “Children of God”, which has won 18 awards. It has been distributed in 26 territories, gained theatrical exposure in the US, Netherlands and UK and has aired on SHOWTIME. BET named “Children of God” one of the top ten movies of the year. Subsequently, he co-directed the film “Wind Jammers”, which received worldwide distribution through Filmworks. Kareem has also produced and directed over 50 television commercials clients and has also provided production services for the Hollywood films “Into The Blue” and “After The Sunset”. He has worked for HGTV, OWN, ESPN, Tennis Channel, Bravo, Pie Town Productions and the Food Network. An alumnus of Miami International University of Art and Design, the Toronto International Film Festival Talent lab and Berlinale Talents, he is the Curator of The Island House Cinema and The Artistic Director of The Island House Film Festival in addition to being the Chairman of Best Ever Film, a production company based in The Bahamas.
Suzette Parker is a seasoned PR/ Marketing professional with more than 15 years’ experience in advertising, marketing and public relations, Suzette Parker has developed and implemented marketing campaigns across multiple platforms—television, radio, print and social media. She has created campaigns at The Counsellors Ltd. for clients such as The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, the Bahamas National Trust, the Bank of The Bahamas and NUA Insurance. Her most notable campaigns include the VAT education campaign and The Department of Environmental Health Services “Clean Green & Pristine” television ads. She wrote and produced the documentary “Interrupted” for PACE and the 2012 Laws of Life Essays documentary for the Templeton Foundation. Parker is the writer and producer of the live morning TV show Bahamas@ Sunrise and the Financial Voice. She has served as an Adjunct Professor for Television News Production at the College of The Bahamas and worked at Sports Channel, NY. She holds a BA in Television Production from Hofstra University in Long Island, New York.
Neil Sealey holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Geography from Oxford University, and spent 10 years lecturing in Colleges of Higher Education. He was head of geography at the College of the Bahamas for many years. After a successful period as a textbook writer for both The Bahamas and the Caribbean educational systems, Mr Sealey founded a publishing company with Mr. Larry Smith, the late president of Media Enterprises. Mr Sealey is currently director of publishing and distribution and is a partner at Media Enterprises. As well as continuing to write on a variety of subjects, Mr Sealey undertakes occasional consulting in the fields of geography and environmental matters. He was the founder and editor of the Bahamas Journal of Science until its demise in 2008.
Rogan Smith joined The Punch as a columnist in January 2018. Her satirical biweekly column comments on culture, social trends, urban affairs and politics and highlights the zeitgeist of life in The Bahamas. The column shines a humorous spotlight on the Bahamian way of life. Smith is also the co-host of the Ed Fields Live radio talk show, which airs on Kiss 96.1 FM twice a week. She has also hosted her own talk show. She is the former co-host of Bahamas @ Sunrise, a top-rated morning TV show and has hosted The Financial Voice and You & Your Money. A journalist of nearly 20 years, Smith has covered some of the biggest stories in the country. She has interviewed many international politicians and celebrities, including former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell; Grammy winner, R. Kelly and Today hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. Her articles have been featured in the New York Times, USA Today and the Sun-Sentinel. She is also a former stringer for the Associated Press and has worked for several local news outlets, including the Tribune, the Nassau Guardian/Star FM and Jones Communications Network ( JCN). Smith is a graduate of Georgia State University where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish. She is certified in marketing strategy from Cornell University. In 2018, she was honored with the Most Influential Bahamian Woman in Business award.
Jeanne Thompson is a barrister, retired Justice of the Supreme Court, playwright, actor and sometime journalist. Jeanne Thompson is a woman of extraordinary accomplishments, which were already in evidence when she began writing plays at about 8 years old. She was encouraged by such notables as her music teacher, Lillian Weir and the enormously talented Fr. John Taylor, who was one of the earliest of Bahamian playwrights. Undoubtedly, Thompson helped to midwife modern Bahamian theatre. Stage works from her more mature period included “The Decision”, which won the playwriting award at the Bahamas Arts Festival in the mid 1960s. Following were “Bread, Oil and Standard”, “No More Stranger”, “Vicious Circle”, “The Prodigal’s Brother,” “Columbus Landing” and “Father’s Day “ among others. Contemporaneously, she “trod the boards” as an actor, delivering riveting performances. In the early 1970s, Thompson also co-wrote the popular radio soap opera “The Fergusons of Farm Road” with an old school friend, Sonia McPherson Mills, sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism. The episodes gripped the nation and caused many fans to rush home to listen. There followed another radio soap opera “Sam Finley’s Sandcastle”, a radio series for the Bahamas Medical Association called “Clinic” and a series of Christmas plays for Monsignor Preston Moss, then priest in charge of St Bede’s Catholic Church.
Adair White-Johnson, Ph.D. is an American. Affectionately known as ‘Dr Adair’, she is a graduate of State University of New York at Buffalo. She is a publisher, international bestselling author of 11 books, motivational speaker, and youth empowerment expert. She created Johnson Tribe Publishing House, a full-service publishing agency dedicated not only to publishing, but also to motivating and teaching aspiring authors the skills of writing and publishing their books. Adair White-Johnson will bring to SeaWords Bahamas Aliv a powerful message of writing and publishing as a vehicle for motivating and empowering youth in her presentation titled “From Storm to Story”. White-Johnson has been named a State of Georgia Professional School Counselor of the Year and Writer of the Year and has also been featured in The Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, Rolling Out, POSE, Glambitious, and BOLD magazines. Dr. Adair has appeared on several national and international radio shows and podcasts and is the recipient of several academic and civic awards. She has presented internationally in such countries as Canada and India.
CHERYL ALBURY In his one-track passion, Oblivious to the passing years. Summer came, Sun-scorched July and August days. Too soon September, Became October rains. He watched the pregnant earth Give way, once more, To winter mornings. New beginnings. Slates scrubbed clean With January resolutions. And he was constant. Albury, Cheryl. From “And He Was Constant” in Perspectives from Inner Windows. (The Author)
A Further Sampling of Poetry & Prose
The Saint’s Day of their cook’s grandmother was approaching, a major festivity to be held in the lady’s country home. We were invited to attend and after several fortifying shots of tequila gran reserva, Juan drove us far off the main highway along bumpy roads swirling with dust, the car laden with gifts for grandma. Her house was the typical one-floor construction of adobe brick, partly whitewashed, with iron rebars rising from the roof in hopes that someday a second storey would be built. As soon as the Lans’ cook leapt from the car into the miniscule front garden full of cactus and flower pots, a stream of relatives emerged to embrace her and us all—her mother, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, a slew of children hopping with excitement. Inside the grandmother was sitting in a deep chair, too aged for movement but smiling warmly on her vast family. The next few hours passed in delightful confusion, as taco, tortillas, quesadillas, tamales and carne asada of every description for lunch, together with a never-ending flow of tequila and beer.
On the wall in the hallway of her home there is a picture of young Juliette presenting a poem to the Duchess of Windsor upon arrival of the Royal Couple in The Bahamas. Juliette recalls that she was upset because her hair was plaited, and she had a ribbon bow on top of her head while the other little girl who took part in the ceremony had candy curls. Juliette also remembers that had she followed the instructions to curtsy and then walk backward she surely would have fallen off the platform because there was little room for that maneuver.
As the sole gringo present, I was encouraged to rise to my feet and try my beginner’s Spanish in song, which I did by creating primitive tunes for such hackneyed lyrics as “Ay… mi corazon…sufre mucho…por amor…de ti received with hilarity, whistles and catcalls. Not until dusk fell were we allowed to escape, with endless abrazos of farewell for a woozy return to the city. Coulson, Richard. Excerpt from A Corkscrew Life: Adventures of a Travelling Financier. iUniverse, 2017, pp 88-89.
Gwendolyn witnessed the aftermath of the riot on the third day when she looked down from her porch and saw the Duke of Windsor standing on the street below with his hands clasped behind his back and shaking his head. She watched as he walked across the street to survey the burnt out police station and fire engine. Then he walked back up Blue Hill Road to Government House. Gwendolyn managed to retrieve a few of the books that were not burnt when the library was ransacked. Hanna, Rosemary C. Excerpts from Pictorial History & Memories of Nassau’s Over-The-Hill. Author, 2013.
MICHAEL PINTARD “Confined” (Excerpt) Yes, I’ll use you each comma and quotation mark I will hyphenate away joining inseparable words which form concepts your creators didn’t design but your mechanics permit Imperative concepts like “Amandla! Awethu! “Power Is Ours!
JANICE LYNN MATHER “A lure” He shows up at your back door, skin appleseed black from riding afternoon bareback eyes sharp as whittled shark teeth, pulls you into the morning’s whitelight hum. Inside, the children chatter, husband butters white Wonderbread, calls to you from the table, any sausage left? Voice flutters at your back a bill and coo for your soft down and dowdy feathers, culled claws. The sky clamps down, pushing a chlorinated blue against your irises. Red poinciana petals fall, wet backs against the grass. And children call your name. (unpublished excerpt) Janice Lynn Mather is a Bahamian writer, who holds a BFA and MFA from the University of British Columbia. She launched her first novel, Learning to Breathe in 2018. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers ( June 26, 2018), the book is currently a finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for young people’s literature (Canada). Mather has also published in journals and anthologies such as Tongues of the Ocean, A Sudden and Violent Change, and We Have a Voice. Her writing has been short-listed for the 2011 Small Axe Literary Competition and the 2012 and 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She lives in Vancouver, BC
My tongue, pens, computer will spew you out. And I will speak, about injustices in their own words using you – their vehicle of propaganda and socialization. I’ll undress their issues, peeling away subtleties and veneer of liberalism. I shall expose the naked realities of their schemes to the light. Pintard, Michael C. “Confined” in Still Standing. Nassau, Guanima Press, 1995. Michael C. Pintard is a performance poet, playwright, author, radio talk show host, motivational speaker and politician. In his literary persona, he has recorded poetry in Toronto and appears in a reggae compilation recorded in Montreal. His recitals and plays are generally oversubscribed by enthusiastic followers. As CEO at Scribes Edutainment Ltd, he offered services in human resources development and motivation. For a time he served as the Organizational Development Manager for the Grand Bahama Airport Company, Freeport Harbour Company and Freeport Container Port. He also provided consultancy services to Vopak Terminal Bahamas. Politically active since his college days, Pintard (5 July 2014) was appointed senator in Parliament by the Free National Movement, which was then in opposition. Under the FNM banner, he won a seat in Parliament in the General Elections of 10 May 2017, first given the portfolio of Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture and, in 2018, transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources. Pintard earned an associate of arts degree in agriculture at The College of The Bahamas and a bachelor of science degree in agronomy from Tuskegee University. He also completed a number of graduate-level courses in agricultural economics at Montreal, Canada’s McGill University.
OBEDIAH MICHAEL SMITH
IAN GREGORY STRACHAN
In Uzunguni Lodge
“The man in the bed” Is a man a strong tall tree his arms branches that shade the little ones? his legs bold black trunks that laugh at wind? Is a man a strong tall tree his arms branches that give fruit to the little ones his legs bold black trunks you can lean on and rest close your eyes against the scowling sun?
all the clothes you wore were in a heap upon the chair in another heap upon the bed you and I were bare © Obediah Michael Smith, 2018 4:44 AM Saturday 18.8.18 Obediah Michael Smith, Bahamian born, published 20 books of poetry. At University of Miami and University of the West Indies, Cavehill, Barbados, he participated in writers’ workshops facilitated by Lorna Goodison, Earl Lovelace, Grace Nichols, Merle Collins, and Mervyn Morris. His poems in English are included in literary journals and anthologies throughout the Caribbean, in the USA, in England and in Kenya. Translated into Spanish, his work is included in anthologies in Colombia, in Mexico, in Peru, in Venezuela and in Spain. He attended Kistrech Poetry Festival in Kisii, Kenya, in 2014. Since this festival, he has remained in Africa, spending these three years in ten African countries. Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dramatics and Speech from Fisk University. He has lived and has studied French, in Paris, France. At Universidad de Costa Rica, in 2011, he studied Spanish. Obediah was the Poetry Workshop facilitator for the Bahamas Writers Summers Institute, in 2009 and again in 2011.
Yes? Yes? Then who is this in the dying bed? Ian Gregory Strachan is a poet, playwright, novelist and filmmaker. He is Vice President of the University of The Bahamas-North and Professor of English. Strachan’s talents and academic and creative output are considerable. His book, Paradise and Plantation: Tourism and Culture in the Anglophone Caribbean, was published in 2002, and he co-edited Poitier Revisited (2014), a scholarly book on the films of Sidney Poitier. His first novel, God’s Angry Babies was published in 1997. He has written and directed a number of plays, including No Seeds in Babylon (1991), which appears in the anthology Contemporary Drama for the Caribbean (2001) and Diary of Souls (1999). His Gun Boys Rhapsody is now on the national BGCSE curriculum. He wrote, directed and produced the documentary Show Me Your Motion: The Ringplay Games of The Bahamas in 2006, which was featured in the UNESCO Caribbean Traveling Film Showcase in 2007. He is the writer, producer and director of the television series, “Gippie’s Kingdom” which has aired in eight Caribbean countries and jurisdictions. Ian Strachan holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a former Research Fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia (1998-1999) and Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (1999-2001).
HEATHER L. THOMPSON “Walcott in Nassau” A lion roars claims centre stage then coughs admits frailty is acknowledged as king despite infirmity of tribe and age shakes his mane ready for a slow kill content to maim rattle the cage where art is never simply understood and the masses are consigned to their darkened huts Thompson, Heather. “Walcott in Nassau”. Published in tongues of the ocean 25 July 2010.
Milestones 1823-1824 “Henrietta, My Daughter” – A series of letters written by Loyalist Mary Elizabeth Kelsall, to her daughter Henrietta. Mary Elizabeth had arrived in The Bahamas on 5 February 1790 with her husband William Kelsall, who created The Hermitage estate on Exuma. William died in 1792. Mary Elizabeth began writing to the 16-year old Henrietta circa 1802. The collection also contains some of Henrietta’s letters. Collected and edited by Mary K. Armbrister. 1834
Publication of John Boyd’s The Vision and Other Poems in Blank Verse.
Edwin Moseley established The Nassau Guardian.
Leon Dupuch established The Tribune.
1936 – Mid-1940s
Eugene Dupuch created “Smokey Joe”, a weekly humorous commentary on Bahamian politics, society and manners, which was carried by The Tribune and spoken by the writer himself on ZNS Radio.
James Catalyn launched ‘James Catalyn & Friends’ in December 1979. At the invitation of the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas, the show turned into the weekly television series “An Evening With...” on ZNS TV13.
Bahamian Anthology. The College of The Bahamas. London: Macmillan Education
Macmillan Education notes:
“Bahamian Anthology is a collection of short stories, poems and sketches depicting the vivid colour and special flavour of the local landscape, people, life, styles, customs and folklore in all their diversity.
“It is a fascinating portrayal of indigenous Bahamian culture from the earthy, hilarious pronouncements of Smokey Joe and the humour of Ole Zeke to the more profound considerations of Breakfast Bruise and Savacou.” https://www.macmillan-caribbean. com/
Bahamas Writers’ Association was formed. First Nassau Poetry Conference (May)
Junction: An Anthology of Bahamian Poetry and Prose, (ed) Eunice Bethel Humblestone. London: Macmillan Caribbean & Bahamas Poetry Society.
Editorial Committee: Nicolette Bethel, Jerome Cartwright, Ileana Esfakis, Charles Huggins and Carol Lightbourn.
Junction was the offshoot of the first Nassau Poetry Conference and the writings contained therein are drawn from those who participated in the Conference. Clement Bethel, then Director of Culture in the catch-all Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Community Affairs wrote the following reflection of the name of the publication:
“Why Junction? Perhaps, because the anthology, like the nation from which it springs, represents a meeting of worlds, a mixing of traditions, a mingling of minds. It consists of work of poets and writers of varying nationalities and backgrounds, and yet, their work is centred around a particular point in time and space.”
Contributing writers: Roberta Alkire, Eunice Bethel Humblestone, Marion Bethel, Nicolette Bethel, Pamela Burnside, Luis Cabalquinto; Jerome Cartwright, Penelope E. Cates, Richard Coulson, Anthony Dahl, Patricia Darville, Ileana Esfakis, Peggy Hering, Charles Huggins, Brian G. Humblestone, Maureen Hurley, Tsipi Edith, Keller, Garth Hilbert King, Barbara Knowles, Carol A. Lightbourn, Sherron Norlen, Susan Nutt, Bradley Pratt, Ella E.E. Rahming, Patrick Rahming, Mary C. Simons, Obediah Michael Smith, Marcella Taylor, Chester Thompson, Ann Zoller.
Guanima Press established in 1991.
Neko Meicholas, owner and publisher, founded Guanima Press to fill a woeful gap. Meicholas understood the economics of the major international publishers, who tended only to consider and publish the odd Bahamian book that they could sell to the Bahamas Ministry of Education for use in the nation’s schools and basically at the impetus of that body. He has said that he came to see the rising brilliance of local writers whose work deserved a wider audience and he decried the fact that many chose to live abroad to find a more generous audience and fame.
Womanspeak: A Journal of Literature and Art by Caribbean Women (1991)
Womanspeak was launched in 1991 and published a ninth volume in 2018. Over the years, has brought to its readers the writings and art of brilliant women from The Bahamas, the Caribbean region and elsewhere. Its founder and editor, Lynn Sweeting, herself a gifted poet, describes the publication thus: “A space where women writers and artists speak to each other via the work is definitely a deliberate intention. We are not only creating a journal; we are creating community among women. Nothing upsets the patriarchy more than when women gather together outside the company of men to speak of womanish things, its very existence depends on our being divided from one another. And these are not just any women, these are some of the best womanish voices of our generation.”
“Columbus and the Discovery of Self”, a critical essay on Bahamian writing is published in the journal Weber Studies, Fall 1992, Volume 9.3 by Dean W. Collinwood, (Ph.D., U of Chicago). Collingwood once lectured at the University of the West Indies/College of the Bahamas. Among his books are Modern Bahamian Society (1989), The Bahamas Between Worlds (1989).
From The Shallow Seas, an anthology of Bahamian prose and poetry was brought out by Casa de Las Americas, Habana, Cuba (1993)
Lignum Vitae, a journal of the Bahamas Writers’ Association, vol. 1 (November 1992) was published.
The Commonwealth Writers of The Bahamas, headed by Vera Chase launched a National Poetry and Short Story competition, later hosting a Storyteller’s Convention. For a period, the group put on “Writing The Region”, a radio show broadcast on 1540 Radio Bahamas.
Bahamas Writers Summer Institute (BWSI) Co-founders Marion Bethel and Helen Klonaris.
According to the founders, BWSI was established to foster a love for writing and literature. Its three-week programme focused on writing workshops, seminars, lectures and readings.
Shakespeare in Paradise (SIP)
SIP celebrated it 10th season in October 2018. In the programme booklet, when Nicolette Bethel, Festival Director, wrote of the vision of the organization, she noted the intention to create: a theatre festival that would expose local audiences to the wide range of theatre from around the world and attract visitors by combining Shakespeare with The Bahamas, a space to allow local actors, playwrights and directors to hone their craft and expand their resumes and, finally, create opportunities for students to see world class theatre here in The Bahamas.
Poinciana Paper Press was born in 2009, specializing in printing through the art of letterpress. This fortuitous birth is the literary child of Sonia Farmer, poet, writer, bookbinder, letterpress printer, and hand papermaker, who graduated from the Pratt Institute, New York with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Farmer is a winner of the poetry prize in the Small Axe Literary Competition (2011). As noted in the Caribbean Beat Magazine (Issue 119), Farmer is “keen to work on collaborations with visual artists, on ‘books that have to do with language and art.’ She notes that collaboration is the spirit of small presses, breathing new life into an old art.
Farmer produced her own book, “Infidelities” (2017) which offers a novel view of the myths surrounding female pirate Anne Bonny and was longlisted for the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize in Caribbean Literature for poetry. In 2018 she also published “A True & Exact History”, an erasure of Richard Ligon’s 1657 text, “A True & Exact History of the Island of Barbadoes” (Erasure uses an existing text to recreate new bodies of text, in this instance, to challenge what it means to write a “true and exact history” of any place). Among other projects, she has created limited-edition handmade chapbooks of work by a wide array of Bahamian authors, including Obediah Michael Smith, Angelique Nixon, Nicolette Bethel, and Letitia Marie Pratt.
In February 2009, a novel publication sailed into view across the literary horizon of the Caribbean region and cyberspace— tongues of the ocean was an online magazine with Nicolette Bethel as founder and editor in chief, assisted by Nadine Thomas-Brown and Sonia Farmer. For four years until October 2014, ‘toto’ published poetry and prose from around the world, paying particular attention to the creativity of poets and writers from the region and its diaspora.
Bethel’s requiem for this seminal enterprise noted: The magazine met a need in the Caribbean region at the time. I was its founding editor because I myself experienced the challenge of finding homes for my own work, especially if the focus and the language were Caribbean.
We were flooded with submissions in those early years, and through the process of editing them, we were introduced to the work of writers such as Shivanee Ramlochan, Danielle BoodooFortuné, Nicholas Laughlin, Lasana Sekou, Kendel Hippolyte, Joanne Hillhouse, Andre Bagoo and many others too many to name. I was also able to share with the wider world my favourite Bahamian writers, people like Marion Bethel, Ian Strachan, Patrick Rahming, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, Helen Klonaris, Lynn Sweeting, and Obediah Michael Smith—people whose work stretched and inspired my own.
Public Treasury Art Programme (PTAP) Presents “Bahama Mama” was officially launched on September 23, 2011 during the tenure of Treasurer of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Eugenia Cartwright.
A selection of 25 talented female artists, photographers, designers and writers, either born or living in The Bahamas, were invited to produce works which investigated the historical, cultural, and social aspects of Bahamian women. Participating writers were Asha Rahming, Ashli Fox, Keisha Ellis, Lynn Sweeting, Maelynn Seymour-Major, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, Thea Rutherford, Yasmin Glinton.
Ian Strachan launched Ceiba, an online magazine. He says of it: “Ceiba faithfully tells the Bahamian story. Because stories have value and power.”
SeaWords Bahamas Festival was established and its inaugural event scheduled for 9 to 11 November 2018. Its founding members are Richard Coulson and four members of Creative Nassau: Pam Burnside, Rosemary Hanna, Neko Meicholas and Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, who is voted first chair of the event.
AND BEST WISHES TO SEAWORDS BAHAMAS & ROSEMARY C. HANNA ON THE INAUGURAL LITERARY FESTIVAL AND WRITERS’ CONFERENCE FROM CLARICE A. COOPER DR ANDRÉE G. HANNA PAUL AND LEE HANNA
META DAVIS CUMBERBATCH A classical pianist, writer, composer, actress, and teacher, Meta Davis Cumberbatch was one of the most talented artists the Caribbean has ever produced. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago to Vincentian parents. She studied medicine in Britain, but the siren call of music drew her to train as a concert pianist at the Royal Academy of Music of which august institution she became a diplomate. Her virtuosity on the stages of Wigmore Hall, London, and Carnegie Hall, New York won her international acclaim. Cumberbatch’s grandson, attorney Peter D. Maynard gathered together poems, plays, essays and compositions and published them in Complete Works of Meta Davis Cumberbatch
FRONTRUNNERS EUGENE DUPUCH Eugene Dupuch used his alter ego “Smokey”, a creolespeaking Bahamian rustic to satirize Nazi Germany’s diplomatic manoeuvring in the early days of World War II to secure the support or neutrality of countries such as Britain. Dupuch evoked a war between minuscule Spanish Wells and Harbour Island, with other tiny communities of the Eleuthera group in The Bahamas deciding the side they would support: Well, bulla I hear diplomatic relations is becomin strained between Harbour I-lun an’ Spanish Wells. It seem dat Spanish Wells want t’ institute a school hall Putsch an’ set up a central gubment which will reduce Harbour I-lun t’ a vassal state. Well Harbour I-lun say dey know how t’ push too if it cum ter a Putsch, so dey is gon insist on d’ right o’ self-determination an’ will mobilize all deir resources t’ defen’ d’ liberty o’ d’ individual under deir constitution. So dey call a meeting under d’ big tree an errybuddy seddown an’ whittle sticks—an’ by d’ time dey get a pole o’ whittlins high as d’ abutment dey decide t’ organize a Sassiety fer d’ prevention o’ Fift’ Columnists. Spanish Wells say dey never did want war in d’ firs’ place cuz dey is a peace lovin’ peepul but dey say deir neighbours has adopted a policy o’ encirclement an’ deir only course is t’ demand economic freedom at d’ point o’ d’ grains. So dey call a meetin’ on d’ cricket pitch t’ decide wedder dey shud set up deir invasion ports on d’ nort’ side or d’ sout’ side—and dey come t’ d’ conclusion dat it don’t make no difference cuz dere’s only two hundred yards in between. Well at two o’clock dis mawnin’ d’ Prime Minister o’ Current call a emergency session o’ d’ Cabinet on d’ sea rocks followed by a meetin o’ d’ High Command, an’ at four twenty-five dey issue a statement t’ d’ effect dat Current will maintain stric’ neutrality. It is d’ opinion of observers at d’ Bogue, however, dt Current will be unable to keep out o’ d’ conflic’ fer very long. In d’ meantime Tarpum Bay say she will supply conch shells t Spanish Wells while Rock Soun’ say she will trade two over-age fishin’ smack t’ Harbour I-lun fer bates in her fishin’ grounds. Savannah Soun’ an’ Palmetto Pint is watchin’ developments. Governor’s
Harbour is ugin arbitration an’ Hatchet Bay is prepared t’ conclude trade agreements wid bote sides fer delivery o’ foodstuffs on a cash an’ carry basis. Unkle Gabe say d’ bes’ t’ing fer Nassau t’ do is t’ adop’ d’ teory o’ ol’ Joe Stalin—sweet up errybuddy an’ keep um goin’ so dey can’t get tegedder an’ gang up on us. Unkle Gabe say if dey ever effect a Anschluss d’ nex t’ing dey’ll do is begin disseminatin’ propaganda ‘bout d’ mistreatment o’ Harbour I-lun an’ Spanish Wells minorities in Nassau an’ if dat ever happen, he say Nassau is los. Unkle Gabe say dat seein’ how our adminstrative departments is staffed an our public utilities is manned almost exclusively by Harbour I-lunders an’ Spanish Wellsians, Nassau will inevitably be d’ subject of a bloodless conquest. ‘Sign solem pacts wid bote sides an’ break um or renew um at your convenience,’ is Unkle Gabe’s advice t’ d’ Nassau Cabinet. Eugene Dupuch, brilliant attorney, journalist, editor, musician, parliamentarian and humourist created the characters Smokey Joe, Unkle Gabe, Aunt Turpee and Unkle Zeek, which allowed these perceptive rustics to inveigh not only on culture, history, economy and society, but on the World War II and its European leaders, which dominated the news in the late 1930s through the 1940s. The Smokey Joe commentaries were printed in The Tribune, the Dupuch family paper, and delivered by none other than Dupuch himself over ZNS Radio. That is until the Duke of Windsor, the then governor of the colony, banned it from the airways—perhaps a truth hit too close to home? We are told that Dupuch described his chief spokesman Smokey as possessed of an “elemental philosophy, a little earthy, but after all, the earth is rock bottom, a level to which few philosophers ever descend to attain. He has a staunch loyalty to things Bahamian without the shallowness of stupid sentimentality. He possesses the happy faculty of hoping for the best, but not being surprised at anything that may happen in a world of paradox and error.”
PERCIVAL A. MILLER The Potato Dreamer (Opening monologue) MAN: Every man dreams of love! A prince, a pauper, a fool, [Slower] The prisoner staring at the morning Through bars of steel The King, combing his hair at the mirror The schoolgirl, happy in her innocence The sailor watching a port come into sight The drunkard drooling where Night finds him The housewife, elbow deep in her domestic labours The old maid, sighing at a favourite photograph [The figure on the bed stirs.] Even an idiot, in a lucid moment, dreams That he can love, that he can be a King. Bahamian Anthology: The College of The Bahamas. Macmillan Caribbean, 1983. Pp 126-127. Long Island-born Percival Miller, civil engineer and playwright, was educated at the Government High School, The University of The West Indies and Southern University, Louisiana, USA. Miller was an early contributor to the development of theatre in the modern Bahamas.
SUSAN J. WALLACE A Story O’ De Pas’ Some say one mountain did sink in de sea An’ leave all ‘ee peaks jookin’ out; Columbus soon come wid dem sailin’ boats tree, An’ spy dem lil isles ta de Sout’. He lan’ on one islan’ he call Salvado, An’ kiss dem wite san’s as he pray; Poor fool, he’en try fine out how many isles mo, Gone trottin’ on he merry way. Sev’n hundid islan’s bin dere in de sun, Spoatin’ de wite sandy beach, Dem clear waves jes’ splash on dem beach, erryone, As far up as dey cudda reach. (Scene 13-14) Wallace, Susan J. Bahamian Scene. Philadelphia: Dorrance & Company, 1970. Susan Wallace is the prolific author of books on poetry, plays, short stories, as well as works on Christianity and counselling. She is considered a founder of the modern era of Bahamian writing. Beginning in the 1970s, her books were among the few local works being studied in the nation’s schools. In this regard, she was noted for keen and often humorous insight into life in The Bahamas.
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Dr Wallace spent many years as an educator at the secondary and tertiary levels, attaining the post of Assistant Director of Education eventually. In support of her religious ministry, she has travelled extensively throughout The Bahamas and the Caribbean. Her journeys have taken her to the United States, Africa, the South American states of Argentina and Ecuador, South Korea, the Holy Land. Her European tours have taken her to England, the Channel Isles, the Isle of Man, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and France. Her education includes a B. Ed. and M.Ed. degrees from Univ. of Miami), a Sp. Arts Degree in Theology, and a Ph.D. in Counselling from Zoe University, Jacksonville, Florida).
ROBERT JOHNSON The Night to Come For the night to come She makes the ancient rocking chair Her pedestal. The twilight of her days Winks to a flickering candle, Or a falling star that bursts Into a million fragments Regally. The ashen head rears to the rush Of death, that sudden enemy, And in a hasty clock She hears another soldier fall, But reads her own— Her final call. Johnson, Robert Elliot. The Road, 1972 (Author) In a joint exhibition at Doongalik Studios with Dwight Ferguson, a longtime friend and supporter, Robert Elliott Johnson read from his best-known work, The Road, a collection of poems, surrounded by the sculptures and paintings of Dwight Ferguson (24 June 2016). Pam Burnside, proprietor of Doongalik Studios & Art Gallery noted in a biographical sketch of Robert Johnson: “A well-known poet of the 1970s whose work has been a staple on the national syllabus for the BJC and BGCSE exams for many years, Johnson happily decided to awaken from his long hiatus to reacquaint the Bahamian public with his writing. Johnson, a former high level Business and Marketing Executive and COB Lecturer, is presently employed with The Counsellors Limited (TCL) as the Sales Coordinator and Producer of the “You and Your Money” television series.” Johnson showed early brilliance at The Government High School and later at the University of the West Indies, Mona from which he earned a bachelor of Arts degree.
In Memoriam JAMES CATALYN
(6 January 1940 – 18 August 2018) I am a Bahamian! It is of no concern to me That my father was born in another land I was born Bahamian I need not look elsewhere For my heritage No one is looking to me for theirs No one is claiming me as “brother man” Unless for dubious reasons. by james j. catalyn © 26/3/92 James Catalyn, born in Nassau, Bahamas was a playwright, poet, satirist, and actor. He was passionate about his Bahamian identity and preserving Bahamian heritage and culture. He focused specially on preserving Bahamian Creole, which he insisted on calling “Bahamianese”. He was first schooled in the dramatic arts by the renowned Meta Davis Cumberbatch and Basil E.A. Saunders. He also studied at the University of the West Indies Extra Mural Department and The Sammy Dyer School of Theatre and Stage One, both in Chicago Illinois. Catalyn wrote “Courtship”, his first major play in 1970. Nine years later he established James Catalyn & Friends, the same year he published his first collection of poetry, “Expressing Myself ”, which was dedicated to his mother Theresa Elizabeth Major. He also pioneered Summer Madness, a twice yearly revue, which enticed Bahamians from across the social spectrum into the theatre in June and September. It became the longest running theatrical production in The Bahamas. Among his plays are “Autumn Leaves” and “The Best Dressed Man”. In 2016, he was given a Queen’s Honour and was named as an officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Catalyn served as a Ministry of Tourism officer for 32 years.
DR CLEVELAND WILMORE “CLEVE” ENEAS (5 July 1915 - 1 December 1995)
Cleveland Eneas was truly a renaissance man. He was a dentist by profession, author, storyteller, amateur photographer. He graduated with a B.Sc. degree from Tuskegee Institute and later from Meharry Medical School with a degree in Dentistry in 1941. When Dr Cleveland Eneas debuted his book Bain Town (Timpaul Publishing) in 1976, he opened an important and necessary space in Bahamian writing. The work extolled the virtues and foibles of the people of Bain Town, the ‘over-the-hill’ township where he was born and which had been formed by freed African slaves. He celebrated and promoted through countless public engagements his own Yoruba ancestry and the fact that the people of Bain Town and other over-thehill townships had not only preserved many elements of their African heritage, but developed, out of this matrix, a Bahamian identity that privileged blackness, once disparaged. Standing out was a deep vein of humour. In addition to Bain Town, he published Let the Church Roll On, Tuskeegee Ra! Ra! and the History of The Class of 1941 of Meharry Medical College. Eneas’ photographs of the same character were included in “Developing Blackness: Studio Photographs of ‘Over the Hill’ Nassau in the Independence Era”, a formal photography exhibition held at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and curated by Bahamian art historian and educator Krista A. Thompson, Ph.D. In 1950, he became a founding member of the Citizen’s Committee, which Randol Fawkes described in his book The Faith that Moved the Mountain, as a “civic committee”, which was “the spontaneous outgrowth of the Government’s refusal to allow Bahamians to see three American films: No Way Out, Lost Boundaries and Pinky.” Eneas also became editor of The Citizen’s Torch, which was billed as “the official organ of the Citizen’s Committee” and bore the motto ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’. Dr Eneas made lifelong contributions to community development in many spheres.
WINSTON VERNON SAUNDERS, CMG (3 October 1941 – 25 November 2006)
Performing a plethora of roles in his lifetime—educator, lawyer, stage actor, playwright and cultural director— Winston Saunders won many accolades for the excellence of his contributions. Saunders is remembered primarily for his contributions to the growth of theatre in his homeland, The Bahamas. He authored two insightful plays – Them and You Can Lead A Horse To Water, as well as The Nehemiah Chronicles (1996). He was Chairman of the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts from 1975 to 1998 and is credited with supervising renovations of the theatre and establishing a repertory season, which was named in his honour, posthumously, in 2008. Saunders is credited with founding three cultural institutions, which he had the pleasure of seeing achieve internationally recognition: The National Youth Choir, National Dance Company and National Children’s Choir. Among the many awards Saunders received were several DANSAs for playwriting, the Meta, a special DANSA for Excellence in Theatre, the Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen Award for contribution to Culture, the Silver Jubilee Award for Culture given by the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in 1998. In 2004, he was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG). At the time of his death, he served as Chairman of both the National Commission on Cultural Development and Independence Committee. Saunders was a graduate of The Government High School and the Bahamas Teachers’ College. He later obtained a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Classics from the University of London in 1964.
(14 February 1924 - 24 January 2009) Of Reverend John Taylor, Claire Belgrave wrote: By far the most significant development in the dramatic arts in The Bahamas was the appearance of a young Bahamian man who became the catalyst, the prime mover of drama as a medium for black Bahamian creative expression in amateur dramatics. If anyone ever were to be selected as Father of Bahamian Theatre, the most popular and deserving candidate for the award would be Reverend John Taylor of the Anglican Church in Nassau, as incongruous as this may seem. For, John Taylor, became famous in New Providence and much loved as a dramatist. Most active in the 1940s and late 1950s, the prolific Taylor wrote and produced a wealth of plays, staged primarily at the Catholic St Mary’s Hall and St Benedict’s Hall. Many of his works were religious in nature, marking Feasts of the church. His very first play “The Dream of Queen Esther” and “Diana”, were written for Easter and his “The Martyrdom of St Sebastian” (1947) was a nativity drama. “Oh Absalom” followed in 1948. He also wrote historical plays, including “Catherine Howard” and “The Discoverer”. Taylor’s departure for studies in the United States in 1952 left a considerable void in the Bahamas theatre scene. In 1957, he returned to Nassau as an ordained Anglican priest assigned to the Parish of St Agnes. Happily, for those who had enjoyed his 1940s dramas, he began another productive cycle with the religious play “Man with Maid”. Among Taylor’s works in this period were “Lancelot and Elaine” and “The House on Calamity Street”. His decidedly secular plays included “Gaolbird” and “The Old Man Died”. At the end of the 1950s, he returned to the U.S. to take up a post in a diocese in the State of Illinois.
TELCINE TURNER-ROLLE (3 December 1944 – 17 May 2017) This Land I Celebrate This land I celebrate not for its zeal Of democratic rights, its affluent New halls of residence, its confident And forced-ripe millionaires, but for the feel That people power can make paradise real. We are not free when we turn reticent because of fear, think man omnipotent Instead of God and for the dollar kneel. I see our people common as the sand And just as precious – holding back the flood When tide is high; encircling the land; Together valorous, together good. Although the fingers differ on a hand Each helps the hand to function as it should. (Unpublished) It has been said that Turner-Rolle defined an era in Bahamian literature. Her best known work is Woman Take Two (1987), which won the Playwriting Prize in the University of West Indies 25th Anniversary Literary Competition in 1975 and was first staged under the direction of David Burrows in 1995. The book is still used in Bahamian schools today. Her book of poems for children, Song of the Surreys (illustrated by her husband) appeared in 1977 and Play Me: A collection of three one-act plays, in 2005. She also edited two collections of work from students in her creative writing classes, Once Below a Time and Climbing Clouds. In 2009, she began working on a third collection of student work, “Jah Knows! and Other One-Act plays by College of The Bahamas Students”. Telcine Turner-Rolle earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Diploma in Education from the University of the West Indies; a Master’s degree in Theatre from Northwestern University; and a diploma in Writing for Children and Teenagers from the Institute of Children’s Literature. In the 1970s, she taught in several Bahamian high schools before taking up a post in English language and literature at the Bahamas Teachers Training College. In 1976, she joined the staff of The College of The Bahamas in the division of humanities, of which she eventually became chair.
(31 October 33 – 11 June 2003) Marcella Taylor was a longtime employee of St. Olaf College, Rochester, Minn. She taught creative writing, film studies, poetry and English at St. Olaf from 1975 until her retirement in 1996. Taylor was the first faculty member of African descent to make full professor at St. Olaf and the first to retire with emerita status. Taylor deserves an honoured place in the annals of the literature of her birthplace as an early advocate of Bahamian writing. She contributed to the Nassau Poetry Society and the First Nassau Poetry Conference. She also wrote the introduction to Bahamian Anthology (London: Macmillan, 1983). She was published in numerous journals and anthologies and produced two books of poetry: The Lost Daughter, Songs for the Arawak and A Body That Remembers (Black Hat Press, September 20, 2001). Taylor earned her bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., and her master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She was also a member of the national Catholic honor society Delta Epsilon Sigma.
P. ANTHONY WHITE (1940 - 26 November 2013)
…Freedom and democracy are streets – avenues, nay, superhighways – broad enough to accommodate all travellers, no matter their direction of motives, just as how, six or seven years ago, the objectors to the film “Brokeback Mountain” were assured an open and unencumbered lane in that highway, except, of course, in The Bahamas. We must be extremely careful how and what we censor or control in a society in which full and total measure of freedoms is still in pretty much an experimental stage, and indeed in which basic democracy yet awaits some fundamental Constitutional amendments. The bottom line is that those in this community who are gays and lesbians, some of whom might desire same sex marriages, are Bahamians with fundamental constitutional rights, and are privileged to enjoy the same freedoms of the straight sisters and brothers. The difficulty in this too-selective community and perhaps other such pastoral communities is that the aiming of the guns of outrage are too often at pre-determined areas of society. Will the society stand silently by, idly, unresisting as a puny congregation of paper saints take The Bahamas backwards, backwards, BACKWARDS to a time when a whole village had to gather around a crackling radio and only a handful could read and write? …We can deal with it legally, sensibly, and effectively, or, alternately, we can simply pray . . . for what it’s worth. https://pawbahamas.wordpress.com/ P. (Paul) Anthony White worked as a professional writer for more than 40 years. During his career, he served as a New York correspondent for the Nassau Herald and spent three years at the New York Herald-Tribune. In addition to his media work, White was respected as a playwright, who made a notable contribution to growing Bahamian theatre. He wrote “Five Miles from Fox Hill”, “Anthony and Juliet”, “A Foretaste Divine of Glory Divine and “ The Raisin’ the Flag Now. White’s “biting” critiques in the 1970s angered the government of the day, prompting him to relocate to the Cayman Islands and later the Seychelles in the South Pacific where he established the Government News Bureau. White was also chairman and CEO of radio station Joy FM and wrote a column for The Punch tabloid up until his death. He held a St John’s University in New York. One of his daughters, Dr Adair White-Johnson was invited to present at the inaugural SeaWords Bahamas Festival.
CHESTER THOMPSON (1 July 1921 – 2 October 2012)
Alone on his hilltop the old man looks across the pale blue waters of the Sea of Abaco, shimmering with golden light in the afternoon sun. Nearby, the cays are clearly defined; bold brush strokes of green palms and white beaches. Known to him for a lifetime. With names like Cooper Jack, Lubbers Quarters and Tavern Cay, they seem like old friends. Further along to the south and west the misty outline of Great Abaco Island marks where horizon and sky become one. To the east, waves surge on the reef, ending their long voyage across the Atlantic; the eternal murmur of sea meeting land as much a part of the old man as breathing. Far above in the deep blue sky several frigate birds float in slow circles. As he looks, one of these starts a steep downward spiral toward the sea. Below, white sails, as two dinghies, seemingly painted on the sea’s surface, make an unhurried voyage. Settling more comfortably in his rocking chair and closing his eyes, he thinks, “Where did I fit into this seascape? What awesome convergences of time and space placed me on this island at this moment in eternity?” Throughout his life he had been reaching out for some ultimate reality, groping for some elusive truth, seeking a clear cut path through the tangled thickets of existence. Excerpt from the Prologue of The Long Day Wanes … A Memoir of Love and War. White Sound Press; 2nd edition (2006) A native of Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Abaco, Chester Thompson, in his twenties, served with the British Navy during World War II, commanding a Landing Craft Tank, delivering supplies to Normandy, which was the site of one of the most dangerous theatres of combat. Following the war, he entered and graduated from The University of Toronto’s Victoria College, returning home to begin a career in real estate. Mr Thompson’s love of reading led him to write books: “The Fledgling”, which is studied in the schools of The Bahamas, describes the life of a boy growing up in Hope Town. The second book, The Long Day Wanes …A Memoir of Love and War is noted for its beautiful prologue.
DR CLAUDIUS ROLAND WALKER (6 May 1897 – 15 November 1971)
We Bahamians are the sons and grandsons, the daughters and granddaughters of those who arrived. We seek to reclaim that which was snatched from us over 300 years ago – our dignity and self-respect as human beings. During the interval between then and now, we have become the most brainwashed people in the world. You see, teachers and missionaries did not tell us that there was a period in ancient history when Rome was barbarous and Greece slept but Africa flourished with its own governments, economic systems, and military forces, religious and social organisations. Indeed, in the very beginnings of mankind, the African nation of Egypt occupied a central role in world history. We were taught that our ancestors contributed nothing to the advancement of civilization. Yet it was common knowledge that Africans were the first to practice agriculture – the first of the cultures – along the banks of the Niger River. Neither did they tell my people, Gentlemen, that the earliest known pottery was created in Africa more than thirty thousand years ago, during the Paleolithic (stone) age. …It is a psychological truism that an oppressed and rejected people soon come to see themselves through the eyes of the oppressors. As a result, the black man soon learned to hate himself and others in his own race. Representing The Bahamas Federation of Labour, Dr Walker presented these words in a speech to the Duke of Windsor’s Committee on 3 June 1942, following the riot launched by aggrieved workers on 1 June 1942. Quoted in The Faith that Moved The Mountain: A Memorial Edition (2003) by Sir Randol F. Fawkes. The Estate of Sir Randol F. Fawkes Family, p.33 Claudius Roland Walker, MD, was a physician, musician, teacher with a gift for mathematics and languages, speaking, in addition to his mother tongue, French, Spanish and German. He and his American wife Mabel (nee Holloway) played key roles in the struggle for civil rights in The Bahamas. Sensitive to the racism of the day, he built The Reinhard Hotel to accommodate non-white visitors, who were not welcome in the major hotels, but also hosted the special occasions of local people. An indication of the respect his fellow Bahamians accorded him is the fact that Dr. Walker was chosen by The Bahamas Federation of Labour to address the Duke of Windsor’s Committee on behalf of the Bahamian workers following the 1942 Burma Road Riot. Walker obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree from Howard, Washington, D.C. and his medical degree from Meharry Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee (1929).
FRI NOV 09
“A SEAWORDS EVENING” SHOWCASING BAHAMIAN POETS & AUTHORS (Prince of Wales Room) Purchase Tickets for this event at Doongalik Studios $30 (Free with Gold Pass) 5:00 – 5:10pm WELCOME Patricia Glinton-Meicholas 5:10 – 6:00 pm PERFORMERS: Marion Bethel/ Patrice Francis/ Helen Klonaris / Zemi Stewart / Lelawattee (Asha) Manoo-Rahming / Eric Rose /Thea Rutherford/ Ide Thompson/Patricia Glinton-Meicholas 6:00 – 6:30pm COCKTAIL RECEPTION Meet the Authors, Book Sales & Signings
ROOM: ATHENA FROM DREAM TO FINISHED BOOK: MAKING IT HAPPEN IN TODAY’S COMPETITIVE PUBLISHING MARKETPLACE Diane Gedymin CONCURRENT PANEL DISCUSSIONS 10:30 – 11:45 ROOM: HERA I TELLING IT LIKE IT IS: NON-FICTION Christopher Curry Rosemary Hanna Felicity Johnson ROOM: HERA II CREATING & RECREATING WORLDS: FICTION & MEMOIR Helen Klonaris Dorothea Davis Richard Coulson ROOM: ATHENA WEAVING A STRONG WEB: BUILD INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE & INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Neko Meicholas Erica Ferreira 12:00 – 1:30pm Buffet Lunch (Grand Ballroom E)
SAT NOV 10
8:00am – 12 noon: REGISTRATION 9:00am – 12 noon: Coffee Station
CONCURRENT WORKSHOPS 9:00 – 10:15 ROOM: HERA I POETRY: OPENING THE TREASURE CHEST OF WRITING Patricia Glinton-Meicholas ROOM: HERA II BIGGING UP THE ‘SMALL SCREEN’: SCRIPTING & PRODUCING FOR TELEVISION Michelle Malcolm Suzette Parker
2:00pm – 3:30pm PANEL PRESENTATION: “THE BOOK’s JOURNEY” Essential Language Skills, Editing & Proofreading, Budget & Costs, Design & Layout, Marketing, Sales, Social Media Discussants: Neil Sealey / Neko Meicholas/ Dionne Benjamin-Smith / Marie Sairsingh Moderator: Patricia Glinton-Meicholas 3:30 – 5:00pm Marina Village Art Walk 5:30 – 6:30pm GRAND PERFORMANCE AND BOOK SIGNING BY CAROL ANN DUFFY, U.K. Poet Laureate (Grand Ballroom A) Purchase Tickets for this event at Doongalik Studios $35 (Free w/ Gold & Sat. Pass) (Free soft drinks, cash bar) 7:00 – 10:00pm Marina Village Art Walk & Junkanoo Rush Out
SCHEDULE SUN NOV 11
9:30am – 1:30pm: REGISTRATION 10:30am – 1:30pm: Coffee Station CONCURRENT WORKSHOPS 10:30 – 11:45 ROOM: HERA I IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE BARD: PLAY WRITING & STAGING Jeanne Thompson Nicolette Bethel ROOM: HERA II BIG SCREEN MAGIC: FILMMAKING Kareem Mortimer ROOM: ATHENA “FROM STORM TO STORY”: USING WRITING TO MOTIVATE AND EMPOWER YOUTH Dr Adair White Johnson
CONCURRENT PANEL DISCUSSIONS 12 noon– 1:15pm ROOM: HERA I WRITING THE ROAD: TRAVEL/TOUR WRITING Noelle Nicolls Orchid Burnside ROOM: HERA II FORGING A BRAND: MARKETING Gravette Brown Kendrick Delaney Sherridan Thompson ROOM: ATHENA PRINT MEDIA: WRITING & EDITING Erica Wells Cox Rogan Smith 2:00 – 3:30pm Buffet Lunch (Imperial Ballroom C) 6:00 – 8:00pm “EVERYTHING BAHAMIAN” FOOD, FROLIC & OPEN MIC at Doongalik Purchase Tickets for this event at Doongalik Studios $30 (Free w/ Gold & Sun. Pass)
20 VI LLAGE R OAD | Tel. 394- 1886 OP EN: MON - WED 10:00AM - 4:00P M
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