Critical Caribbean Feminisms: Erna Brodber and Nicole Dennis-Benn

Tuesday, October 9, 2018  6:00pm Barnard Hall, Event Oval, The Diana Center

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BCRW and Small Axe: A Journal of Caribbean Criticism hosts a reading and conversation between authors Erna Brodber (Nothing’s Mat and The Rainmaker’s Mistake, among others)  and Nicole Dennis-Benn (Here Comes the Sun) in the newly expanded series Critical Caribbean Feminisms. In this series, authors discuss issues related to Caribbean and its diaspora, method, feminism, and gender in their work. The conversation will be followed by a discussion moderated by Kaiama L. Glover.

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About the Speakers

Activist, scholar, and writer Erna Brodber has, over the course of a four-decade career, established herself as a major voice in Caribbean literature. Her distinctive polyvocal narratives draw upon the oral and scribal traditions of the African diaspora, echoing sources as diverse as the folk tales of Anansi the spider-god and the modernist novels of James Joyce. Her protagonists contend with destructive magical forces, in the process recovering their own lost or stolen histories—what Brodber describes as “the half [that has] not been told.” In works like Myal (1988) and Nothing’s Mat (2014), she skillfully uses elements of Afro-Jamaican cosmology to convey both the richness of diasporic traditions, as well as the danger of forgetting them. For Brodber, the past is never really dead—an idea she literalizes in Myal, where “spirit thievery” and zombification become a powerful trope for the psychological and political legacies of colonial exploitation. A winner of a Prince Claus Award (2006), the Musgrave Medal (1999), and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (1989), Brodber holds an Honorary D.Litt. from the University of West Indies at Mona (2011). She lives in the village of Woodside, Saint Mary, Jamaica.

Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of the debut novel, Here Comes the Sun(Norton/Liveright, July 2016). Dennis-Benn is a Lambda Literary Award winner, named by Time Out Magazine as an immigrant making a stamp on New York City. Her debut novel has received much acclaim including a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and NPR Best Books of 2016. Dennis-Benn is a Kowald Visiting Faculty in City College’s MFA Program and Faculty in the Creative Writing Program at NYU; and has been awarded fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Lambda, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Hurston/Wright, and Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, ELLE Magazine, Electric Literature, Lenny Letter, Catapult, Red Rock Review, Kweli Literary Journal, Mosaic, Ebony, and the Feminist Wire. Her writing has been awarded a Richard and Julie Logsdon Fiction Prize; and two of her stories have been nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize in Fiction. Vice listed Dennis-Benn among immigrant authors “who are making American Literature great again.” Dennis-Benn was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. She is a graduate of St. Andrew High School for Girls and Cornell University; and holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives with her wife in Brooklyn, New York.

Details and Accessibility

This event is free and open to the public. RSVP is preferred but not required. The venue is accessible to people with mobility disabilities. Please contact BCRW for additional accessibility needs.

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