Jamaica 50: A Literary Legacy
Wednesday, September 19, 7:30pm, 2012
As Jamaica celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence, Authors at Harbourfront Centre (AUTHORS) hosts an evening of discussion about contemporary Jamaican literature and art with renowned writers and scholars.
Acclaimed Jamaican poet and University of Baltimore instructor Ishion Hutchinson will read from his first full-length poetry collection, Far District. A panel discussion will follow with scholar, author and poet Afua Cooper. Joining Cooper are poet and novelist Kwame Dawes, and theatre worker and poet Honor Ford-Smith, who is also an Associate Professor at York University.
This event is part of the Jamaica 50 Celebration events happening throughout Toronto. Presented by Jamaica 50 Celebration Inc. in association with Authors at Harbourfront Centre.
For more information regarding the Jamaica 50 Celebration events visit jamaica50.ca.
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Afua Cooper (Canada/Jamaica) is a scholar, author and poet. Her publications include the poetry collectionCopper Woman and Other Poems and the Governor General’s Literary Award-nominated work of historical research The Hanging of Angélique. Cooper earned her PhD in Canadian history and the African Diaspora with a focus on the Black communities of 19th century Ontario, and is currently the Ruth Wynn Woodward Endowed Chair in the Women’s Studies Department at Simon Fraser University.
Kwame Dawes (Ghana/Jamaica) is the author of 16 books of poetry, including Hope’s Hospice, and several works of fiction, non-fiction, criticism and drama. He is the founder and director of the University of South Carolina Poetry Initiative and the programmer for the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica. He received an Emmy Award for his contribution to LiveHopeLove.com, a multimedia website on the human face of HIV/AIDS in Jamaica. Dawes’ latest work, Jubilation!: Poems Celebrating 50 Years of Jamaican Independence, is a compilation of more than 50 contemporary Jamaican poets as they reflect upon the historical and existential moment of Jamaican independence.
Honor Ford-Smith (Canada/Jamaica) is a scholar, theatre worker and poet. She is as associate professor in the Community Arts Practice programme in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University and has published widely on the topics of performance and social change, through such issues as gender, class, drama, popular culture and education. She is the author of the poetry collection My Mother’s Last Dance. Her theatre projects include a dramatic adaptation of My Mother's Last Dance and Just Jazz, an adaptation of Jean Rhys's Let Them Call It Jazz. Ford-Smith’s most recent publication is 3 Jamaican Plays: A Postcolonial Anthology.
Ishion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, attended the University of the West Indies and New York University, and received his PhD from the University of Utah. He is the author of Bryan’s Bay and his poetry and essays have appeared in the LA Review, Callaloo and Caribbean Review of Books. Hutchinson presents his first full-length collection, Far District, for which he won the 2011 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry. Far District paints an impressionistic portrait of Hutchinson’s boyhood in rural Jamaica while exploring the West Indian distrust of European literature and mythology.
Far District Painting an impressionistic portrait of the poet’s boyhood in rural Jamaica, these narrative poems explore the West Indian distrust of European literature and mythology. Written in both traditional and formless verse as well as in English and Jamaican patois, the book is structured as the spiritual journey of a poet-speaker caught between two worlds: one a benign culture of bush folk and the other a luminous but dangerous sea of myth.