Lovers of Caribbean literature are invited to the launch party of The WomanSpeak Journal, vol. 5, 2010, on Saturday, November 27, at The Hub, downtown Nassau, from 4pm to 6pm.
Patrons will be treated to readings from prize-winning contributing authors Marion Bethel and Lelawattee Manoo Rahming and others, sip wine gifted by Burns House Ltd, and get their signed copy of the new book published by The WomanSpeak Press and edited by yours truly.
The WomanSpeak Journal Vol 5/2010 is the long-awaited new collection of literature and art by Caribbean women, and includes the work of Marion Bethel, Nicolette Bethel, Lelawattee Manoo Rahming, Helen Klonaris, and more. This issue is the first WSJ with regional writers like established Jamaican poet and editor of the esteemed Caribbean Writer, Opal Palmer Adissa as well as new voices from beyond The Bahamas. To understand the significance of this, you have to remember the time in which this manuscript was first being stitched together: it was back in the late 1990s, ie, before the internet, when it was quite miraculous that our little journal was growing and making this kind of connection. Now in creation it stands as a little monument to the bravery , tenacity and imagination we had, in an impossible time, in an impossible place. Who knows what can happen now? The possibilities are endless...
What is fresh about the collection today, beside the new voices of Rhonda Claridge, Angelique Nixon, Sonia Farmer and others, is the wonderful art by Caribbean women included in this collection. Works by Lillian Blades, Claudette Dean, Chantal Bethel are beautiful and telling. I'm happy and grateful that the journal is becoming a forum for women artists, at a time when male artists are receiving so much attention and acclaim.
Published by WomanSpeak Books, Nassau, the new book marks a revival of the kitchen table press co-created by Helen Klonaris and I in the 1990s which produced four small collections of writings by Bahamian women in an effort to create a forum for those writers where none had existed before.
The journal remains dedicated to publishing fine literature and art by Caribbean women, especially new and emerging writers and those with diverse voices and viewpoints. Its return marks a new beginning for The WomanSpeak Press, and the revival of a dream to produce an annual publication that women writers across the Caribbean contribute to, and love to read.
The return of the WomanSpeak Journal after such a long time is cause for celebration. I’m happy to see our journal in print again together with all the other good books being produced by Bahamians today. In many ways this is the journal that was never meant to be made. There were many obstacles, interruptions, disconnections and outright impossibilities to contend with in the making of it. But it had a life of its own, it might have even died at one point but it would not stay dead.
The the work now is to keep on creating the space where the WSJ can grow into an international annual journal of women's literature with a Caribbean focus. It could happen. And so at the launch party I'll be announcing the call for submissions for the 2011 edition. I'm quite sure that the theme of the next one will be, "Women Writing to Heal the Earth." For that edition we'll create a special section entitled, "Earth Women Speak," for writings and art by Caribbean Indian women, ie, Tainos, Caribs, etc.
In the meantime we can celebrate vol.5 on Saturday night at The Hub. I love this little book. I love the myth and lore section, the spine-tingling "Miss Annie" by established writer Patricia Glinton Meicholas, the mysterious "Infedelities" by new voice Sonia Farmer, I love, the epic tale by Lelawattee Manoo Rahming. "Once Upon A Goddess Time," wonderful! I love the bravery of Helen Klonaris's play, excerpted in this collection: "The Death of Silence," which tells the story of a Greek Bahamian girl's survival of sexual abuse. I love the "Lily Poems' by Nicolette Bethel, so beautifully written. I am especially happy to include the poems of Opal Palmer Adisa, our first international/Caribbean writer, the author of "I Name Me Name" and many other acclaimed books of poetry and fiction.
It really has been a joy to put the WSJ vol. 5 together. The majority of these works were submitted to me a good thirteen or fourteen years ago, I am grateful to all the writers for their patience and faith. I thank them all too for their wonderful words.
See you all at the launch!