GREAT BAY, St. Martin — Acclaimed novelists Edwidge Danticat and Earl Lovelace are the new recipients of the St. Martin Book Fair “Presidents Award.”
Danticat and Lovelace accepted the award at the literary evening that closed the festival’s 16th edition on June 2, 2018, following their captivating recitals, said book fair coordinator Shujah Reiph.
The authors were guests of the St. Martin Book Fair, where Danticat delivered the keynote address on June 1, to an audience of over 300 people at Motorworld Showroom, Cole Bay, said Reiph, who is also president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF).
Earl Lovelace is well known for his groundbreaking novels about carnival and religion in Trinidad and Tobago, The Dragon Can’t Dance and The Wine of Astonishment. His more recent award-winning novels, Salt and Is Just a Movie have advanced his regional and international standing as a noted Caribbean author.
Edwidge Danticat (Haiti/USA), a much in-demand writer around the world, is the author of Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik? Krak!; The Farming of Bones; and Claire of the Sea Light. She is the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States. A MacArthur fellow, Danticat has written six books for children and young adults. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, is a USA National Book Critics Circle Award winner.
“Both authors are also courageous advocates for the advancement of Caribbean sovereignty and human rights,” said Reiph. Reiph presented the hand-carved ebony statue award to each author in the museum at the historic grounds of Emilio’s on L.B. Scott Road, Cul-de-Sac. The full house audience included Caribbean and USA authors that also recited their poetry and fictions at the literary evening event.
“The Presidents Award is presented to individuals and institutions whose work is noted for its excellence and for combining literary, cultural, and liberation components in the service of progress, of their people or nation, and of humanity,” said Lasana M. Sekou, projects director at House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).
Previous recipients of what the Daily Herald has called a “prestigious award,” include George Lamming (Barbados), Casa de las Americas (Cuba), Benny Wenda (West Papua), Bankie Banx (Anguilla), Derek Walcott (St. Lucia), Dr. Quince Duncan (Costa Rica), and Sir Roland Richardson (St. Martin).
CLF and the Book Fair Committee organized this year’s St. Martin Book Fair in collaboration with St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, University of St. Martin (USM), and L.C. Fleming Foundation. The Presidents Award is named after the presidents of CLF, HNP, and USM.