Opal Palmer Adisa, the editor, decided to focus this special, silver anniversary issue on Haiti for two reasons: first, to pay homage to those Haitians who survived the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country and killed more than 100,000, and second, to commemorate their ancestors who, as freedom fighters, were the first to wage war and win their freedom in 1803.
In addition to providing readers with glimpses of both of these historical events, Volume 25 features prose and poetry by some of Haiti's local as well as internationally celebrated writers. Included are Edwidge Danticat, winner of the 2009 Fellow "Genius Award," Évelyne Trouillot, novelist and professor at Haiti's State University, and Marilèene Phipps-Kettlewell, winner of the Iowa Award for short fiction. It also showcases the works of emerging Haitian-American voices such as Michelle Y. Remy and Wilna Julmiste.
Volume 25 of The Caribbean Writer, an international literary journal published annually by the University of the Virgin Islands, also marks a new epoch in the journal's trajectory as a seminal publication in the Caribbean region. With this first bi-lingual - English and French - issue, The Caribbean Writer is forging ahead to reach a wider readership in the Caribbean, as well as positioning itself for a more diverse international market.
The volume opens with congratulatory remarks by Virgin Islands Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr., UVI President Dr. David Hall, UVI Provost Dr. Karl Wright, UVI Vice Provost for Research and Public Service Dr. Henry H. Smith, and founding editor Erika J. Waters. An introductory overview is offered by editor Opal Palmer Adisa, who references her January 2011 trip to Haiti to bear witness.
This 640-page edition features 70 pages of poetry by some of the Caribbean's leading poets including Kamau Brathwaite, Jennifer Rahim, Ernest Pépin and Sonia Sanchez. Also included are 100 pages of prose, a special section on Haitian Art and interviews with Earl Lovelace, who recently won the 2011 Caribbean Literary Prize, and Trinidad-American writer Elizabeth Nunez. The next section of the journal (pages 403-594) is in French, and editor Adisa, in the acknowledgement section, called on colleagues and friends from various universities and other sites around the country to help make this dream of a bi-lingual issue a reality. Volume 25 is a collector's item for three reasons, its emphasis on Ayiti/Haiti, its assemblage of many of the most important Caribbean writers today and its bi-lingual edition to celebrate being 25 years old.
This issue of The Caribbean Writer showcases the literary production and visual works by Virgin Islanders as well as others from the greater Caribbean region. The cover art work for this special issue features the painting of Pasko "Easter Rock" Mérisier, renowned Haitian artist who divides his time between Haiti and France. Interior art includes works by Sam Doudou, André Eugène, Chéby and Evelt Romain, some of the most innovative artists in Haiti today.
Local writers whose work is included are Arnold R. Highfield, writer, historian and UVI professor emeritus, Daisy Holder Lafond and Winifred "Oyoko" Loving. Also featured are book reviews by current UVI professors Simon Jones-Hendrickson, Gillian Royes, Lomarsh Roopnarine, Valerie Combie and Lucia R. DiMeo. To maintain its credentials as a refereed journal in the academy, works were selected blind by the editorial board comprised of Edgar O. Lake, president of the Society of Virgin Islands Historians, Alscess Lewis-Brown, director of the Human Resources Bureau of the VI Police Department, Kenny Hendrickson and Dolace Mclean, professors from both UVI campuses.
The Silver Anniversary/Volume 25 of The Caribbean Writer is currently available at local bookstores on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, as well as at the UVI Bookstores on St. Thomas and St. Croix. Copies are $25 and can also be ordered directly from The Caribbean Writer's office by calling (340) 692-4152, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.TheCaribbeanWriter.org.