Celebrating Caribbean Literature Day (Online)

What is Caribbean literature, who is writing – and where? This weekend, tune in to two online sessions celebrating Caribbean Literature Day. Yes, this is a “first”! And a wonderful concept. See the information below… And thanks to National Librarian Beverley Lashley for letting me know about this.

By the way, I have reviewed a number of Caribbean literary works. Here are links to a few of my reviews that you might enjoy reading – some are young adult novels, but they are very good reads for adults too…

You will also find a list of older book reviews, primarily world literature, that I have written, if you click on “Book Reviews by Petchary” above. There are some gems in there. I started a book blog a while ago, but it needs revamping and renaming – another project that I need to get started on. I will keep you informed.

A classic Jamaican novel: Children of Sisyphus by Orlando Patterson. (My photo, taken at the Calabash International Literary Festival in Treasure Beach, Jamaica)

Coming soon! I have just finished reading Jamaica’s (and probably the Caribbean’s) first “climate change novel” by award-winning writer and environmentalist Diana McCaulay, to be published soon. It’s called “Daylight Come.” Stay tuned for my review shortly!

House of Nehesi Publishers

Celebrating Caribbean Literature Day in Jamaica and the Caribbean region

The House of Nehesi Publishers, on the occasion of the 18th annual St. Martin Book Fair, 2020, issued the invitation to “all writers, aspiring writers, literary festivals, book clubs, journals, creative writing programs, and all creative artists, institutions, and media of the Caribbean region; all Caribbean peoples; and all lovers of Caribbean writings, authors, and books, from everywhere in the world, to join in celebrating: July 12 as Caribbean Literature Day.”

In honour of Caribbean Literature Day, the IGDS-RCO will host two Zoom webinars on Facebook, under the theme: The Gendered Word, on Sunday, July 12, 2020, from 12 noon to 2 PM and from 5 PM to 7 PM.

Poets, writers, and teachers of literature in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean region and diaspora, are invited to read their work and/or the works of other Caribbean writers, or comment on Caribbean literature. Those who wish to participate may email their interest at: igdsrco@gmail.com.

Caribbean Literature Day is anticipated to be the first pan-Caribbean literature day, “celebrating the roots, range, and excellence of writings and books across the language zones of the region.”

Caribbean folk can celebrate the region’s literature by reading the works of their favourite Caribbean authors; buying books by Caribbean authors, and presenting Caribbean books as gifts.


The burning of Mayan sacred works by Spanish Franciscan friars. From the website: mexicolore.co.uk Image from Diego Muñoz Camargo, Descripción de la ciudad y provincia de Tlaxcala, Glasgow University Library, MS Hunter 242, folio 242r) courtesy of the Special Collections Department, Library, University of Glasgow

Caribbean Literature Day, July 12, is symbolically linked like a phoenix to the 458th anniversary of the date in 1562 when the Spanish Franciscan priest and bishop of Yucatán, Diego de Landa, burned the sacred books of the Maya people—a great loss of literature and encoded orature of one of the earliest civilizations that influenced the region.

For more information, contact the IGDS at igdsrco@gmail.com or Mr. Lasana M. Sekou, Projects Director, HNP, at Nehesi@sintmaarten.net.

“Have a happy Caribbean Literature Day, to everyone in every Caribbean country and territory, to everyone in what George Lamming called the Caribbean’s ‘external frontiers’ and around the world.”

Caribbean literature live: Jamaican novelist Roland Watson-Grant reads from “Sketcher” at a session at Bookophilia in Kingston a few years back. (My photo)



5 thoughts on “Celebrating Caribbean Literature Day (Online)

  1. Emma, have you ever thought of putting these reviews in a small book. I know that John Updike put his reviews in a book, because I have that book.


  2. Where can one buy or which publishers produce these books. ( if you want a physical book rather than on line)


    1. Good question, Belinda! I think Marlon James’ book would be widely available in bookstores overseas (and maybe in Jamaica) as he is more of a “big name.” Try amazon.com for the others – I got copies directly from the publishers for review purposes. If you are in Jamaica then Kingston Bookshop in Liguanea Post Office Plaza has quite a good selection of books and will also special order I think, although it would likely be more expensive…? You could also try Bookophilia on Hope Road, although I haven’t been there for a while and I don’t know what their stock is like.


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