“Writers of the Caribbean” presents an opportunity to consider the impact of the Caribbean in today’s world with some of the writers and thinkers who know it best. Thursday’s keynote address by acclaimed Antiguan writer Jamaica Kincaid will discuss cultural appropriation, an issue that is central to understanding Caribbean influence and that has become a flashpoint in American life. On Saturday night, the seminar pays tribute to the late Nobel Prizewinning poet (and former seminar keynote speaker) Derek Walcott, including discussions of his legacy with novelist and playwright Caryl Phillips and his longtime publisher, Jonathan Galassi.
Throughout the weekend, the Caribbean will serve as inspiration, setting, myth, memory and idea. Featured presenters include Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James, author of “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” and Haitian icon Edwidge Danticat. Jamaican novelists Kei Miller and Nicole Dennis-Benn will examine the literary context of their island home and Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura will discuss literary life in Cuba today with his American translator, Anna Kushner. In a conversation particularly relevant to the Florida Keys, Esmeralda Santiago and Tiphanie Yanique will examine this year’s devastating hurricanes and their impact on writers in Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands.
Although this year’s seminar is sold out, a free and open-to-the-public session will be held from 2-5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 14, also at the San Carlos Institute. All seating is first-come, first-served and doors open at 1:45 p.m. In conjunction with the main event, seminar organizers have also arranged for Jamaica Kincaid to meet with students at Key West High School, and for acclaimed writer Teju Cole to kick off the Friends of the Library Lecture Series on Jan. 15. An expanded schedule of literary walking tours is also offered throughout the weekend.