Caribbean writers includingSt Lucian born Derek Walcott and T&T's VS Naipaul have shone on the global stage.Once more, two local writers have flown the red, white and black proudly. They are Trinidad-born writer, Rabindranath Maharaj and Dr Marina Ama Omowale Maxwell.
Maharaj has won this year's prestigious $20,000 English-language Trillium book award.Maxwell made it into Wikipedia and the prestigious list of 400 only women writers in Contemporary Women Writers.Maharaj, who lives in Ajax, Ontario, nabbed the honour over a week ago for his immigrant tale The Amazing Absorbing Boy.Jeff Latosik of Toronto won the $10,000 Trillium Book Award for English-language poetry for Tiny, Frantic, Stronger.The Ontario government established the Trillium Book Award in 1987.
This year it also handed out a $20,000 prize for best French-language book (Montreal native Estelle Beauchamp won for Un souffle venu de loin) and a $10,000 award for children's literature in French-language. The winner was Daniel Marchildon of Penetanguishene, Ontario for La premiere guerre de Toronto.Previous winners of the Trillium Book Award include Margaret Atwood, Wayson Choy, Alice Munro and Michael Ondaatje.Publishers of the winning books each receive $2,500 towards their promotional costs.
Dr Marina AmaOmowale Maxwell
Local writer Dr Marina Ama Omowale Maxwell has made it into Wikipedia. A Google search said: "She was born Marina Archibald Crichlow in San Fernando, Trinidad. She gained a BA and MSc (Sociology) and an MA at Michigan State."
Apart from being a published writer, poet, journalist and lecturer in Creative Writing and a TV producer, Maxwell founded the Writers' Union of T&T in 1980. Quoting Maxwell, a release said: "It is a signal honour to be listed on these two locations (400 only women writers). I hope it will encourage writers, especially women to keep on believing in and working on their creativity."She shares the view "foreign media and video games are our crime schools."She is due to launch her next novel The 8th Octave, an eco-political book in the magical realism mode later this year.
Influence of Magical Realism
Maxwell often employs the technique of magical realism in her work such as Chopstix in Mauby. It was also adopted by Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Marquez-who is renowned for Love In the Time of Cholera.Magical realism is an aesthetic style or genre of fiction in which magical elements blend with the real world. The story explains these magical elements as real occurrences, presented in a straightforward manner that places the "real" and the "fantastic" in the same stream of thought.
Chopstix in Mauby is set in the Orisha compounds and 1970 Rebellion of Trinidad. Her book of poetry Decades To Ama, which she labelled "bio-poetry", is a deeply personal journey by a woman who is an elemental force in Caribbean writing. The poems "offer a vision of the Caribbean in which destructive imagery and hope of regeneration hold equal power."
• TV Violence Is Killing You emerged from her PhD thesis research and the production of over 100 local programmes for TTT;
• She has trained writers in Communications and creative work in the north, south and east Trinidad;
• The former Secretary of Caribbean Artists Movement in the UK has been instrumental for decades in developing various forms of literary writing and the dramatic and media arts;
• Founder of the Yard Theatre while living in Jamaica and influenced all Caribbean Theatre;
• Invited to be a Commissioner for the Schomburgh Centre (New York Public Library) for the Preservation of Black Culture;
• Chosen as one of the two delegates to ACLALS–the Commonwealth Writers' Conference held in Uganda, Africa;
• Travelled to writers' meetings in Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria;
• Worked as a journalist for Radio Jamaica;
• This odyssey led to the formation of the Writers' Union of T&T;
• Publication of About Our Own Business-a slew of articles and interviews-including an interview with Nigeria's Chinua Achebe-famous for Things Fall Apart;
• A delegate to the Juries of Casa de las Americas in Havana, Cuba.
Maxwell to train aspiring writers
She will hold classes in TV and TV script writing and Creative Writing-this time for women. There are plans for a Writers Retreat from July to August 2011. Details will be released soon.For more info on Maxwell visit.www.peepaltreepress.com/author -display.asp