Quartet of writers for Love Affair With Lit
Sunday morning's Love Affair With Literature 4 features Poet Laureate of Jamaica Professor Mervyn Morris and three talented young writers.
The signature event of the Department of Literatures in English, Love Affair With Literature 4, kicks off the department's annual March celebrations and also the Kingston Book Festival.
It will be staged at the Neville Hall Lecture Theatre (N1) of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, on Sunday, March 1, starting at 11 a.m.
For this staging, the department brings together veteran poet Mervyn Morris and three rising stars of Caribbean literature - Tanya Shirley and Roland Watson-Grant from Jamaica, and Sharon Millar from Trinidad.
Morris is poet laureate of Jamaica and the author of six collections of poetry including The Pond (1973), On Holy Week (1976), Examination Centre (1992) and I been there, sort of: New and Selected Poems (2006).
Morris has had an extraordinary career as literary critic and poet. His many awards include the 1976 Silver Musgrave Medal for Poetry, the 1997 Una Marson Award for Literature, the 2003 Caribbean Hall of Fame Award for Excellence (Literary Arts) and the Order of Merit from the Government of Jamaica (2009).
Shirley graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland and is a past Cave Canem Fellow. Her first collection, She Who Sleeps With Bones, was a Jamaican bestseller in 2009, which reflects both the popular appeal and literary merit of her work.
Her second collection, The Merchant of Feathers, was recently launched at UWI to a capacity crowd. According to one critic, "Tanya Shirley's poems take the pulse of contemporary Jamaica in all its exuberance and brokenness. She tells her stories with a winning mixture of acute observation, outrage, outrageousness, tenderness and understanding."
Watson-Grant's 2011 short story, Sketcher, was an International Prize Winner at the Annual Lightship Literary Prizes in England. The short story became his first novel, Sketcher, which was published in 2013 to critical acclaim and nominated for an Amazon Rising Star Award.
Times of London called Roland Watson-Grant's debut novel "a wonderfully joyous, eccentric first novel,", Bookseller Magazine described it as "a tragicomic tour de force", and The Spectator referred to Sketcher as "most original by a mile." His second novel, Skid, appeared in 2014.
Rounding out this carnival of Caribbean voices is Trinidadian Sharon Millar. She is a graduate of the Lesley University MFA programme and a past student of the late Wayne Brown. She is the winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the 2012 Small Axe Short Fiction Award. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writer's Prize for fiction.
A past NGC Bocas Lit New Talent Showcase writer, her work has appeared in a number of publications, including Pepperpot: Best New Stories from The Caribbean. Her first collection of short stories, The Whale House and Other Stories will be published in April by Peepal Tree Press.