Thu | Aug 16, 2018

Tanya Shirley to launch poetry book

Published:Friday | January 2, 2015 | 12:00 AM
File Kellie Magnus
File Sean Paul
Contributed Protoje
Derrick Morgan

Tanya Shirley will launch her newest collection of poems, The Merchant of Feathers, on Thursday, January 8, at 6:00 p.m. in Lecture Theatre 3, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. The launch is being hosted by the Department of Literatures in English, UWI, Mona campus.

With a gift for highlighting telling details in her vivid and arresting poems, the young Jamaican scholar-poet has been published in Small Axe, The Caribbean Writer, New Caribbean Poetry: An Anthology and So Much Things to Say: 100 Calabash Poets. Her debut collection, She Who Sleeps With Bones, was a Jamaican bestseller in 2009, reflecting both the popular appeal and literary merit in the unusually frank and often highly personal poems.

While the thematic diversity of The Merchant of Feathers makes it difficult to be typified, reviewers describe it as a collection that speaks to "contemporary Jamaica in all its exuberance and brokenness".

Shirley is a graduate of UWI, Mona, where she now teaches in the Department of Literatures, as an adjunct lecturer. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, USA. A Cave Canem Fellow, she has participated in the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshops and, more recently, read and taught at Narrating the Caribbean Nation, a conference/festival held in the UK to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Peepal Tree Press.

In 2014, she read at The Poet Laureate Reading Series, Portland (Jamaica), the Stanza Literary Festival, St Andrews (Scotland), the University of Glasgow (Scotland), and the Bocas Literary Festival South, San Fernando (Trinidad). In 2013, she read at the April Rabbit, Newfoundland (Canada), the Yardstick Poetry Festival, Bristol (UK), the Kingston Book Festival (Jamaica) and the ACLALS 16th Triennial Conference (St Lucia).

She has captivated audiences at the 8th World Poetry Festival (Venezuela, 2011), the British Colonial Hilton (Bahamas, 2010), and at the University of Miami (USA, 2003).

Later this month and in February, Kellie Magnus, founder and editorial director of Jackmandora, a Caribbean children's media company, will conduct a second workshop that focuses on writing picture books, early readers and chapter books for early-childhood and primary markets. The workshop is hosted by the Department of Literatures in English, UWI, Mona.

This workshop will be held on January 14, 21, 28, and February 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Graduate Conference Room, Faculty of Humanities and Education, at UWI, Mona. Persons interested in registering should call 927-2217 or email

Magnus is the author of more than 15 children's books and stories, including the popular Little Lion children's book series and several books for the Ministry of Education's Literacy 123 series. Two of Jackmandora's books, A Book for Baby and Trixie Triangle, were selected for the 2011 BookStart Jamaica Pilot Programme. She also co-authored the Jamaican translation of the best-selling children's book parody, Go the F*** to Sleep with celebrated poet Kwame Dawes.

She writes on the arts, education, and entertainment for regional and international publications and serves on the boards of the National Library of Jamaica, the Early Childhood Commission, and the Book Industry Association of Jamaica. She has lectured on publishing and media at numerous conferences and taught at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication and the City College, City University of New York.

Magnus was one of the developers of Max and Friends, a multimedia package designed for children with autism and related developmental disorders, and one of the authors of Shaggy Parrot and the Reggae Band, a picture book and CD project featuring the voice of Grammy-winning recording artist, Shaggy.

A graduate of Harvard and Columbia universities, her work at Columbia combined educational technology and media, with an emphasis on technology and media for children, and the management of information, communication and media resources.

Oje Ken Ollivierre, more popularly known as Protoje, is the new brand ambassador for the contemporary clothing line produced by MFW Apparel, the Ras Collection. As part of the partnership, Protoje will be dressed primarily by the Ras Collection for many public appearances, performances and tours over the next two years. Additionally, Protoje will be one of the faces of the upcoming marketing campaign across social media and traditional channels.

Siann Marlowe, a young Jamaican fashion designer, created the Ras Collection, to offer both the fashion savvy and culturally conscious individual a means of refined, yet bold, self-expression. The unique handcrafted men's clothing line is made in the USA.

Protoje is the first in a series of brand ambassadors for the Ras Collection.

As part of its corporate social responsibility for 2015, MFW Apparel intends to support non-profit organisations that promote sickle cell awareness and research.

As part of Black History Month 2015, the Kingston 13 musical journey from ska to dancehall event will be held at the Caribbean Palm Estate, Spanish Town Road, Kingston 13, on Sunday, February 15.

Those scheduled to perform include King of Ska Derrick Morgan, OD; Stranjah Cole; Max Romeo; Johnny Clarke; Earl 'Chinna' Smith and the 'Inna De Yard' movement; Prince Alla; Triston Palma; History Man; Phillip Fraser; Tinga Stewart; Dillinger; Pashon Minott; Nature; Mighty Diamonds; Eddie Fitzroy; Cornell Campbell and the Eternals; King Shark; One Dez; Danny English; Steve Tulloch; Moeish Ishabelle and Ruffi-Ann.

Backing bands are the Andrew Bassie All-Star band and Strike Force, with Tony Mack, Empress Isis, DJ String and Istacharles of Roots FM hosting.

There will be a number of special guest artistes who will be performing for the first time in Jamaica. These include US Virgin Islands reggae artiste Messenger Selah, who is produced by Andrew 'Bassie' Campbell. Philadelphia rapper 1926 will also be a part of the celebration.

Special honours will be presented to Tommy Cowan, Desi Young and Lloyd Jackson of the late '60s group Lloyd and the Groovers.

The event is being presented by the Greenwich Town music fraternity and is aimed at highlighting the contribution made by its musical citizens.

Sean Paul presented the third production from his Dutty Rock Label, the Full Speed Riddim, for pre-order on iTunes last Tuesday. The riddim will be officially released on iTunes on January 13. Konshens, Mr Vegas, J Capri, Cham and Sean Paul are all featured on the beat.

Full Speed follows Sean Paul's Material Riddim Medley, released in 2011, and his Hypocrite single of November this year. Through Full Speed, Sean Paul extends his experience in music to help in the development of young artistes as well as expose young acts to his worldwide fan base. Fans will receive the Konshens single Move Dat Body with a pre-order of the Full Speed Riddim.

Track List

Sean Paul - Take It Low

Konshens - Move Dat Body

Mr Vegas - Workshop

Cham - Slow Wine

J Capri - Only Me

Vanessa Bling (Gaza Slim) - Supernova

Denyque - Ring The Alarm