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Two Bahamians have made the short list of 19 writers vying for the noted Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2013.
The prize, awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000 - 5,000 words), is part of an initiative by the Commonwealth Foundation called the Commonwealth Writers, which seeks to unearth, develop and promote the best new fiction from across the Commonwealth.
Bahamians A.L. Major, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, and writer Janice Lynn are competing with writers from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, India, Trinidad and Tobago, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Australia and Canada for the top prize.
Regional winners receive 1,000 pounds and the overall winner receives 5,000 pounds.
Lynn told Guardian Arts&Culture she's "really, really" excited to have been shortlisted.
"Some really well-respected authors have won or been shortlisted for Commonwealth competitions: Olive Senior, V.S. Naipaul, Aminatta Forna, Zadie Smith, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, Vikram Seth and so many others," Lynn notes.
Lynn's story, "Mango Summer", was written a few years ago. She wrote the first draft a couple of years after a number of boys went missing in Grand Bahama.
Lynn says she remembers it being a terrifying time.
"I couldn't get the events of that time out of my head. "'Mango Summer' is by no means a retelling of that series of tragedies, but it deals with the horror and senselessness and loss of missing children, and is told from a little girl's perspective," she says.
"I wish I could say that it's lost relevance with time but with horrific crimes like what happened to Marco Archer in 2011, it's not."
Lynn, who has been writing since she was six-years-old after her mother encouraged her to keep a diary, decided to enter the competition in hopes of advancing her career as a full-time writer. Lynn also made the short list for the 2012 short story competition. If she wins this year, apart from screaming herself hoarse with delight, she will use the accomplishment to help establish herself as a writer.
Lynn says her inspiration to write comes from a desire to "write our truths as a nation".
"So much of the public narrative -- especially on the international scale -- about The Bahamas centers on the idea of paradise and perfection. Almost every time I mention to a non-Bahamian that I'm from The Bahamas, their eyes glaze over and exclaim what a wonderful, glorious, trouble-free place it must be. I love The Bahamas, I really love my home, but it's obviously no utopia, and this myth of perfection and paradise galls me," she says.
"I'm inspired to write against that, to write my truth and to try to write our truths as a nation. Often that involves trying to expose and examine social ills -- crimes, murders, violence, prejudices, self hatreds -- by presenting them through the eyes of everyday people. I try to tell stories that are whispered about, or that might get forgotten, but shouldn't be."
Another Bahamian writer who made the shortlist is A.L. Major. Her story, "Antonya's Baby Shower on Camperdown Road", follows a Bahamian woman who reluctantly takes care of a young Haitian illegal immigrant, whose family drowned when a boat taking them to Florida capsized.
"Last summer, I read Edwidge Danticat's short story 'Children of the Sea', in which Danticat writes, 'They treat Haitians like dogs in The Bahamas, a woman says. To them we are not human. Even though their music sounds like ours. Their people look like ours.'
"I remember feeling great shame reading those works because I knew there was a sliver of truth in that statement," Major tells Guardian Arts&Culture.
Major says she wrote and submitted the story as a response to "Children of the Sea", as a way to further examine, justly, the tensions between Bahamian citizens and illegal Haitian immigrants as both groups struggle to hold onto their humanity.
"Antonya's Baby Shower on Camperdown Road" questions the readers notions of nationhood and the imaginary borders we use to separate ourselves from others, she adds.
Major says she is inspired by the Bahamian people. "We are deeply complex, deeply proud, deeply beautiful, human and incorrigible in all the ways necessary for great fiction.
"Even though I'm abroad attending school, I read The Nassau Guardian, The Tribune and other news outlets online. I'm also often inspired by other writers. Winston Saunders' 'You Can Lead a Horse to Water' was the first work I read that made me believe I could be a writer," says Major.
Major says she is thrilled and honored to have made the short list. "It is a special and wonderful moment at any point in a writer's career when your writing is acknowledged by talented, successful authors who, in choosing your work, have agreed publicly that you have written and labored (sentence-by-sentence) over prose other people should read."
And while she has known about the Commonwealth Foundation's dedication to Commonwealth writers and artists for some time, it was her sister who sent her the link to the submission page online.
"I didn't imagine the outcome. I submitted really because I figured, at the very least, my words would be read and considered by prominent literary authors."
Writing has been a lifelong passion for Major, who says she still has stories she wrote when she was seven years old.
Win or lose, in May, Major will receive her MFA in Creative Writing. She has also been awarded a post-graduate Zell Fellowship, and with her free time she will continue to work on her novel "Dismantle The Sun", which is set in The Bahamas, New York and London.
- Genre : Comedy, Drama, Romance
- Rating :
A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building....
SAINT LUCIA - Saint
Lucian Parisian Fashion Celebrity Vincent Mc Doom will serve as Artistic
Director for the first ever Saint Lucia HOT Couture. Mc Doom, who is a
prominent name and face on the haute couture scene in Paris, France, is
also into media and film.
The celebrity Fashionista has been supporting the Saint Lucia Tourist
Board (SLTB) in establishing the foundational aspects of this novel
festival component. McDoom has also been doing the media circuit since
his arrival to generate interest in the fashion component and
communicate the participation benchmarks for aspiring runway models and
designers, as well as what he hopes to bring to the artistic direction...
Coming soon is the extravaganza known as the Catholic Games!
The Catholic Church in The Bahamas, headed by Archbishop, Most Reverend Patrick Pinder, is about to unfold another chapter in its storied sporting history. The first Catholic Games will be staged on April 6, at the Aquinas College Grounds on Gladstone Road. The marquee Catholic sports organization, St. Bernard's Club, is legendary for a continuity of success over the past decades going back to the 1930s, in cricket, track and field, basketball and baseball.
On the high school scene, the Catholic system has been virtually incomparable. Some institutions, primarily Government High, during the glory school sports years of the 1960s and 1970s, rose to the level of the Catholic's premier entity, St. Augustine's College, at times. However, there has been no real equal to the dynastic character of Catholic sports in the history of this country.
Now, another dimension has been crafted. Bulletins issued throughout the Catholic churches on Sunday past, heralded the event.
"Continuing to celebrate the 'Year of Faith', the Family Life Commission and the Youth Council of our archdiocese have partnered with the Knights of Columbus and the Archdiocesan Catholic Church Men's Association to host the very first Catholic Games (TCG 2013)."
The program is geared for all members of the Catholic faith, inclusive of tots who will have a diaper race scheduled for them. Novelty activities such as fathers racing with a child "aback" will add to the excitement. Traditional track and field events, volleyball and basketball will be the collective base of the games.
There will also be "children" games, rides and contests for prizes. Of course, bingo will be in the mix, but only for adults. It's a fun format, but understanding the competitive sports spirit that is synonymous with the church, it's a safe bet that during the Catholic Games, the desire to excel will be quite evident.
A large collection of outstanding sports men and women have emerged out of sporting events within the Catholic system. Very likely, during the track races and field events of the Catholic Games, surfacing will be some runners and jumpers with extraordinary raw talent. This is a grand initiative indeed.
I congratulate the Catholic system through Archbishop Pinder. At a time when social decay is all around us, activities such as the Catholic Games (and preparing to be ready for such), provide that wholesome option.... thank goodness.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com)
'Heiress to a Curse' is a fantasy romance novel written by Bahamian newcomer Zandria Munson. Published by famed Publishing house 'Harlequin', this is the first novel in the 'Hearts of Stone' series just introduced.
Alexandra Barret is a features writer living alone in her New York apartment. A descendant to an ancient witch Necesar, Alexandra has visions and strange dreams that usually serve as both a blessing and a curse. One day she gets a new neighbor across the hall named Marius Drakon. She is quite taken by his looks and charm but tries hard to ignore it.
Marius, who is over five centuries old, is cursed to roam the earth as a creature for eternity. He was cur ...
Chairman of the COB Council Alfred Sears should generally be applauded for insisting that the next president of the college should be a Bahamian.
Still, this columnist believes that the search should be open to other Caribbean nationals. By example, what if we are able to find a Caribbean national of the caliber of Sir Hilary Beckles, professor of history and pro-vice-chancellor and principal at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies?
The devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake, which devastated Haiti in early January 2010, also sent emotional aftershocks throughout the region as the Caribbean mourned yet another setback for the country.
Following the earthquake, Sir Hilary penned a brief essay entitled "The Hate and the Quake". Such essays rarely go viral. His did because he captured the cries of many for Haiti, chronicling a colonial legacy which put Haiti's history into greater context.
Sir Hilary provided the quality of intellectual and ethical reflection that is at the heart of the role of the head of a college or university. As a native Barbadian and historian of the region, he also provided a Caribbean voice.
The next president of The College of The Bahamas should speak with a Caribbean voice accented by a global worldview. The recent non-Caribbean heads of the college are to be applauded for their contributions to the country.
But as COB moves towards university status and 40 years after independence, the need for a more indigenous voice is essential in light of the role that COB and its president play in national development.
CaribbeanThat voice includes a Caribbean idiom better able to inspire, and to reflect our history and development goals. Such a voice can highlight our successes while being brutally honest about our shortcomings.
The president of COB should be one of the leading intellectual voices in the country, able to speak to a myriad of issues with reason and deliberation, including the ability to speak to issues of public policy in a nonpartisan manner.
The president must speak to the challenges and aspirations of a small developing state, and of the role of education in national development.
The audiences and constituencies of the president include the nation-at-large, but more particularly stakeholders within the college, and potential donors.
The president's voice must be strong enough to insist on institutional autonomy, and strong enough to stand up to political leaders when necessary, with finesse and intelligence.
Within the institution, the president must be able to inspire students, faculty and staff. Further, the president will need the political wiles and determination to pursue the broader good of the institution amidst some of the outsized egos, rivalries and fiefdoms at the college.
The "Profile of the President" issued for the presidential search details a number of qualities a candidate should possess generally, and in terms of leadership and professional experience.
The profile notes that no one candidate is likely to possess all of the qualities desired. Yet what are some of the essential qualities a new president should possess?
He or she should be an individual of demonstrated intellectual ability, namely the capacity for discernment and critical thinking. Notably, academic achievement and intellectual capacity are not necessarily synonymous. There are many academics fluent in their field, yet lack the capacity for critical thinking and informed commentary.
The new president should be able to read and to understand a considerable amount of information, and a capacity to learn quickly. He or she should also be an articulate public speaker and a superior writer.
Other essential qualities include the capacity to raise money and to cultivate donors, as well as general public relations skills. Equally important is the need for demonstrated administrative and managerial skills, including an understanding of finances and budgets.
Given these qualities, who are some Bahamians who possess the leadership and professional experience to lead COB?
The search profile noted that candidates "will preferably possess an earned doctoral degree from an accredited institution of higher learning; and will preferably have at least seven years of senior leadership/administrative experience in progressively more responsible positions, with a strong record of achievement, preferably in an institution of higher education."
The word preferably suggests that the COB Council is open to a candidate who may not possess a doctorate or may not have spent considerable time in an academic setting, but who has extensive professional and leadership experience.
All of which leaves the door open to a more diverse pool of talent. There are a number of international tertiary institutions led by individuals who, though they do not possess a doctorate, proved extremely capable in a given field, making them ideal candidates to lead an institution of higher learning.
It is not that we are without potential candidates to lead COB. The question is whether certain potential candidates would consider leading the institution for a designated period while helping to identify and prepare possible successors.
It is a testament to her extensive experience and knowledge that Dr. Paulette Bethel is currently chef de cabinet for the president of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Bethel has a Ph.D. in sociology. She served as an educator, negotiator and diplomat, with time spent in the private sector. She has taught at COB and served for a brief period as chairperson of the Social Sciences Department.
Bethel has extensive international experience having served The Bahamas as a diplomat at both the UN and in Washington D.C. She served as the country's UN ambassador under both the PLP and the FNM.
Sean McWeeney, Q.C., possesses one of the finest intellects in the country. Well-read, he is highly articulate as a speaker and as a writer, someone who possesses the ability to improve the quality of public discourse in the country.
One of the leading trust attorneys in the country, he served as attorney general and in a number of other capacities including, presently, as chairman of the Constitutional Commission.
He served as advisor, speechwriter and counselor to Prime Ministers Sir Lynden Pindling and Perry Christie. The urbane McWeeney might be a good choice to help COB to raise significant funds.
Teresa Butler, who earned a master's degree in international economics from Georgetown University, is one of the most capable public servants of her generation, having also taught in the government-operated school system.
Following a distinguished career in the public service, including as a diplomat, she rose to the level of permanent secretary.
She has an extraordinary understanding of the public service and is one of the country's leading experts in public policy. An avid environmentalist, Butler has an extensive record of involvement in community service.
Therese Turner Jones is currently the Inter-American Development Bank's country representative in Jamaica. She has a master's degree in economics and served at the IMF and at the Central Bank of The Bahamas.
With extraordinary international experience, she also "has over 20 years of experience in the areas of macroeconomics and economic development, with particular emphasis in the Caribbean".
Dr. Reginald Eldon has a doctorate in theology and extensive administrative and leadership experience in various capacities with the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church. He is also a gifted writer and public speaker.
He has extensive experience as an educator and in youth development, including having taught college level courses overseas. He is presently dean of the Centre for Leadership, Education and Training (CLET).
There are other Bahamians at home and abroad who may prove to be a novel choice as the next head of COB, including a number of medical doctors, international bankers or attorneys who meet the essential qualifications necessary to serve.
To attract the best talent possible we should be willing to handsomely remunerate the next president of COB, paying them a very good salary along with generous benefits. This is standard fare at many institutions of higher learning seeking to attract outstanding leaders.
We are often quite happy to pay foreign consultants all manner of handsome sums. The president of COB is a central figure in the life of the nation. He or he should be financially secure in order to lead one of our important national institutions.
o firstname.lastname@example.org, www.bahamapundit.com.
- Genre : Crime, Drama, Western
- Rating : T - 15yrs and Older
Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a bootlegging gang is threatened by a new deputy and other authorities who want a cut of their profits....
- Genre : Drama, Fantasy, Romance
- Rating : T - 15yrs and Older
Ethan longs to escape his small Southern town. He meets a mysterious new girl, Lena. Together, they uncover dark secrets about their respective families, their history and their town....
Paradise Island is not representative of The Bahamas. It is a playground for tourists conveniently separated from New Providence by a toll bridge. Once over the bridge, tourists have few reasons to venture back to the mainland to mingle with the local populous. The Ministry of Tourism would do well to market the other 699 islands that certainly offer a more Bahamian experience.
And at the cost of $15 million, Bahamian taxpayers are looking for tourist dollars to extend beyond Paradise Island. We are intrigued by this "aggressive" campaign that intends to be a game changer. Perhaps, an advertising campaign that includes the Family Islands is considered revolutionary, albeit well over due.
With Baha Mar set to open in late 2014, there is no question that New Providence needs to increase airlift while attracting more visitors. But New Providence has saturated the North American market. The New York tri-state area is bored of the seemingly regurgitated advertisements for Paradise Island.
If life is "Better in The Bahamas" then show the world The Bahamas, not an artificial tropical domain.
Many in The Bahamas have a perverted view that we lack natural resources, when quite to the contrary our waters are the envy to many. We can arrogantly boast that we have the best beaches with an endless expanse of clear turquoise waters. Why settle for the crowded beaches of New Providence, when a private beach oasis in the Exuma cays awaits?
Harbour Island, Green Turtle Cay and Hope Town draw return visitors year after year with scant international advertising. Set amidst quaint homes, easy to access beaches and welcoming Bahamians, our oldest settlements attract tourists, and more importantly second homeowners, who relish old-world charm and dine on exquisite fare.
The Bahamas is a boater's dream. The Sea of Abaco provides countless miles of protection from the Atlantic; the Exumas are a beach lover's playground; Bimini is a mere 50 miles from Florida, and the fishing is phenomenal. Yet, our prospective audience is subjected to countless images of casinos, pools and crowded beaches when we have so much more to offer.
Few Bahamians have been privy to the expansive salt flats and fantastic birding of Inagua or the caves of Crooked Island. With the majority of the Bahamian population living in New Providence, it is hardly surprising that advertising is Nassau-centric. For a moment let's forget the tourists and cater to Bahamians as tourists - a novel idea indeed.
If we are to seek long-term gains in tourism we must diversify our offerings and revitalize once prominent settlements like Governor's Harbour and Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera. We must give a reason for our visitors to come back again and again, to experience the vast diversity of places that exist in The Bahamas.
As Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said: "We've tried to run tourism with the same game plan that we had 40 years ago and that doesn't work. The world has changed and we have to change with it."
For all the promises of change, the Ministry of Tourism may well surprise us with a revolutionary advertising campaign. With many Nassuvians yearning to return to the Family Islands, advertising outside the capital may generate the excitement needed to return home.
MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Relief workers used innovative technologies in unprecedented ways to aid
in the recovery of quake-ravaged Haiti, a new report has found.
Interactive maps and SMS (Short Message Service) texts helped guide
search-and-rescue teams and find people in need of critical supplies, as
the Caribbean nation became a real-world laboratory for new
Though the innovations had varying levels of impact in Haiti, they
showcased the potential for use in future crises, the report, "Media,
Information Systems and Communities: Lessons from Haiti," concluded..