In “CIP IN THE CARIBBEAN USED AND ABUSED,” Ricardo Blackman (for the Caribbean Digital Network) explores the Citizenship by Investment Programs of the Caribbean from various standpoints. We emphatically recommend reading the full article on the Caribbean Digital Network site.

The ship of the Citizenship by Investment Programme of the Caribbean set sail in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in 1984, but the journey, though seen as an absolute necessity by many of the region’s leaders in these very challenging economic times, has been on occasion turbulent. There is, in fact, a school of thought which says that while Citizenship by Investment Programmes may be economically viable, they are reputationally risky, the Caribbean being no exception to this theory. Indeed, following concerns expressed by the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom about transparency and due diligence, at least one of the programmes has had to be re-visited, that’s Grenada’s.

But as recent as Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 (at the time of writing), the Citizenship By Investment Bill was debated and passed in Parliament in St. Lucia, with Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Kenny Anthony telling the Chamber that the measure was absolutely essential at this time, while pledging the integrity of the programme.

One of the main reasons for the super rich setting up base in the Caribbean is that the various countries all have programmes to incentivize real estate investment, offering residency permits and citizenship. In fact, in addition to the newly-announced St. Lucia programme, there are currently four Citizenship by Investment Programmes in the region that generate millions of dollars in revenue for their respective governments each year.

St. Kitts and Nevis launched the first Citizenship by Investment Programme more than 30 years ago in response to an economic downturn and offered immediate citizenship to immigrant investors. With the success of the St. Kitts and Nevis programme, in terms of its positive impact on the national economy, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica and Grenada subsequently launched their own programmes.

According to a report commissioned by Arton Capital and the World Economic Forum entitled: Global Citizenship: Planning for Sustainable Growth” there are many different reasons why an ultra-high net-worth individual might seek a second citizenship, including greater stability and security, tax efficiency, ease of travel, higher standard of living, increased options for children’s education, and investment opportunities that may not otherwise be available.

Caribbean countries with a Citizenship by Investment Programme are seen as competitive with all these especially ease of travel. According to the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, the Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts & Nevis passports provide visa-free travel to some 132 countries and territories including all 26 European countries in the Schengen Zone. Dominica and Grenada passports provide visa-free travel to 91 countries and territories including all European countries in the Schengen Zone.

But what are the requirements? [. . .]

For full article, see


As curator Julie Chae writes, in “Mettre Noir Sur Blanc,” Cuban artist Juana Valdes explores the global trade and the manufacture and import/export of china throughout history. Through her installations, the artist explores transculturation, pigmentocracy, history and memory. The exhibition has been on view since July 3 and will continue through August 1, 2015 at the Guttenberg Arts Gallery (so you have a few more days to catch it if you are in New Jersey). The Guttenberg Arts Gallery is located at 6903 Jackson Street, Guttenberg, New Jersey. [Many thanks to Mary Ann Gosser for bringing this item to our attention.]

Description (by Julie Chae): In Juana Valdes’ solo exhibition “Mettre Noir Sur Blanc” (literal translation: “to put black on white”), the artist invites the viewer to ponder the history of global trade through the display of china and other domestic wares she collected for this show. A multi-media installation artist trained in Western post-Modern philosophy and with backgrounds in sculpture and printmaking, Valdes presents a Duchampian project in which the artist’s selected objects become the art. Each of the domestic wares presented embodies the cultural values of its time and place, reflecting aesthetic and economic decisions made by the manufacturer and by various consumers throughout its existence. Having exhibited art installations with maps, ships, sails and various other media in the past, Valdes continues with her latest project to explore transculturation, pigmentocracy, history and memory.

Valdes began exploring the manufacture and import/export of china throughout history during her ceramics residency in Holland in 2012. She discovered that the first corporation ever formed – and the model for many of today’s businesses – was a Dutch trading company created in 1602 for selling china from Asia to European countries. The Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC) was the first public company to issue negotiable shares, and its hugely successful trade with Asian countries made the Dutch a major global commercial trader. The profitable business of making and selling china for export as well as domestic use spread throughout the world by other companies, and Valdes displays examples of china made in different countries and time periods in the centerpiece of her show, An Inherent View of the World (2015 – ongoing).

Beautifully and wittily arranged on a tall, multi-layered table Valdes built herself using the variety of home construction materials available at Home Depot, these domestic wares reveal a surprising wealth (pun intended) of information about economics, migration, colonialism, valuation, aesthetics, collecting, selling and even women’s history. At one point in the chain of all the economic activity in global trade is the women who purchased and used the china as vessels for food, drink and other sustenance, and Valdes encourages us to think about how the design and decoration of the domestic wares each woman chose for her home provided her children with their first aesthetic experience.

Juana Valdes completed her M.F.A. in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in 1993 and her B.F.A. in Sculpture at Parsons School of Design in 1991. She was born in Cabañas, Pinar Del Rio, Cuba and came to the United States in1971. Ms. Valdes’ work has been included in exhibitions at the Hudson River Museum, Art in General, El Museo del Barrio, WhiteBox Gallery, Bronx River Art Center, P.S.1 Contemporary Art, Center and Paul Sharpe Contemporary Art, and Nohra Haime Gallery, Newark Museum’s, The Caribbean Abroad: Contemporary Artists and Latino Migration, Un-staged at Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam, D’ailleurs – I Won’t Play Other to Your Sameat Galerie Art & Essai, University Rennes, France and many international venues. Ms. Valdes’ is included in Newark Museum’s permanent collection and many private collections in the United States.

[All images courtesy of the artist and Guttenberg Arts: “Juana Valdes: Mettre Noir Sur Blanc” at Guttenberg Arts Gallery (installation view).]

For more information, see

For more on the gallery, see or contact STUDIO@GUTTENBERGARTS.ORG or call (201) 868.8585.


St. Augustine, Florida, is observing its 450th birthday and there is a flurry of events to pay tribute to the United States’ oldest city. Funny that in all the announcements of activities the noun “Spain” is notably absent. Could it be that calling it the U.S.’s oldest Spanish city could sound misleading or somehow unpalatable? Here is one event that acknowledges Spain by referring to “sangria.” On August 26, Tom Touchton, map collector and founding chairman of the Tampa Bay History Center—where the event takes place—will take visitors on a tour of the exhibit “St. Augustine at 450: A Look at the Oldest European City in the U.S.” [My stress on European. I mean, really. No one seems to have a hard time referring to a “French city”; why should “Spanish city” be so difficult?] In any case, this should be a fascinating tour, especially for those who love maps (like the Repeating Islands team)!

Description: This exhibit includes more than 40 Spanish, French, British and American maps, charts and color lithographs of St. Augustine. Mr. Touchton will share stories ranging from the unusual to the nostalgic, about their acquisition and publication. (Program includes a glass of Columbia Restaurant sangria, garage parking and gallery presentation.)

For original post, see


Brooklyn Museum presents “Target First Saturdays”—“engaging and eclectic free art and entertainment programs” every month (except September), held from 5:00 to 11:00pm. Saturday, August 1, 2015 will focus on Caribbean Heritage. As the museum site explains, their Michelin-starred Saul restaurant and bar is open all evening and The Counter café serves lighter fare. (Parking is a flat rate of $5 starting at 5:00pm.) Here is the schedule of events:

MUSIC—5:00pm. BombaYo performs traditional Afro Puerto Rican bombadrumming, which combines West African, Taino, and Spanish percussion. Presented in partnership with CaribBEING.

FILM—5:00–9:00pm. Experimental media program Black Radical Imagination presents short films made by women of color who have connections to the Caribbean.

PERFORMANCE—6:00 pm. The Braata Folk Singers present Caribbean folk music representing the diverse cultures of the West Indies.

FILM—6:00pm. Selena Blake presents clips from her film Taboo Yardies (2011), which examines homophobia and the struggle for LGBTQ rights in Jamaica.

POP-UP CARNIVAL—6:00–9:00 pm. Poet Arielle John performs and hosts a presentation of carnival costumes and musical traditions from various Caribbean islands. Curated by CaribBEING.

HANDS-ON ART—6:30–8:30 pm. Explore carving, printing, and layering techniques in printmaking to create an island landscape.

FILM—7:00 pm. Papa Machete (Jonathan David Kane, 2014, 10 min.) tells the story of one of the few remaining masters of machete fencing, a martial art which emerged from the Haitian Revolution. A Q&A with the director follows. Presented in partnership with CaribBEING.

MUSIC—7:00 pm. Cuban jazz pianist Elio Villafranca blends sounds from the island nations of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba.

FILM—8:00 pm. Ackee & Saltfish (Cecile Emeke, webseries) [see photo above] follows best friends Rachel and Olivia as they tackle everything from gentrification to the difficulties of getting Lauryn Hill tickets. A talkback with the director follows. Presented in partnership with CaribBEING.

BOOK CLUB—8:30 pm. Naomi Jackson, raised in Brooklyn by West Indian parents, discusses her new novel, The Star Side of Bird Hill (Penguin Press, June 2015), a story about community, betrayal, and love centered on a matriarchal family in Barbados.

MUSIC—9:00 pm. Klash City Sound System and Supa Frendz perform a mash up of reggae, punk, and hip-hop, expanding notions of Caribbean music.

For more information, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 30, 2015

Humanitarian Occupation of Haiti: 100 Years and Counting


Tuesday, July 28, marked the 100th anniversary of the commencement of the U.S. Occupation of Haiti. Mark Schuller (Associate Professor of Anthropology and NGO Leadership and Development at Northern Illinois University) writes: “A century after the U.S. military invasion of Haiti in 1915, a U.N. ‘stabilization mission’ continues to compromise the nation’s political and economic sovereignty.” [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below.

This Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of the commencement of the U.S. Occupation of Haiti. On July 28, 1915, U.S. Marines landed on the shores of Haiti, occupying the country for 19 years. College campuses, professional associations, social movements, and political parties are marking the occasion with a series of reflections and demonstrations. Several have argued that the U.S. has never stopped occupying Haiti, even as military boots left in 1934. Some activists are using the word “humanitarian occupation” to describe the current situation, denouncing the loss of sovereignty, as U.N. troops have been patrolling the country for over 11 years. While the phrase “humanitarian occupation” may seem distasteful and even ungrateful to some considering the generosity of the response to the January 12, 2010 earthquake, there are several parallels between the contemporary aid regime and the U.S. Marine administration.

The U.S. Marines invaded Haiti a century ago ostensibly to restore an order disrupted by an armed peasant resistance known as the kako and violent inter-elite turmoil. Between 1910 and the 1915 invasion of the U.S. Marines, Haiti had 7 presidents. The exploits of the occupying forces were well documented. Many U.S. troops came from Jim Crow South, and they brought their white supremacy with them. Racism colored how they saw elements of Haitian culture and folklore, and in turn how the rest of the world came to view Haiti.

Apparently less understood is the current military occupation, but like the U.S. invasion of 1915 it has compromised Haitian sovereignty and provided impunity for foreign forces. On February 29, 2004, a multinational force led by the U.S. came to quell dissent following a U.S.-backed regime change. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide declared he was “kidnapped” aboard a U.S. military plane, to be dumped in the Central African Republic. Less overtly imperialistic under a U.N. banner, MINUSTAH (the International United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti) took over on June 1, authorized by U.N. resolution 1542. The polyglot that peaked at over 13,000 troops from 54 countries is led by Brazil, which has been pressing for a permanent seat on the Security Council. Nonetheless, many in Haiti saw MINUSTAH as serving U.S. interests, as Haitian NGO worker Yvette Desrosiers declared: “the Americans hide their face, they send Brazilians, Argentines… he’s hidden but he’s the one in command!” [. . .]

Why would its mandate be renewed, following the 2006 elections that brought René Préval and his ruling Lespwa party to power? Colleagues in Haiti emphasize that the keyword “stabilization” refers to keeping agreeable leaders in office and quelling dissent. In 2009, activists reconciled their conflict over Aristide to call for an increase in the minimum wage, from 70 gourdes a day ($1.75) to 200 ($5). Both houses of Parliament voted unanimously to approve it. However, in a report for which he spent only days in the country to write, Oxford economist Paul Collier outlined a strategy of tourism, export mango production, and subcontracted apparel factories. He suggested Bill Clinton as U.N. Special Envoy. Clinton and newly-named U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Préval in support of the Collier Report, and Bill Clinton publicly questioned the minimum wage increase as undercutting Haiti’s “comparative advantage” (WikiLeaked documents outline the extent of  pressure applied to keep wages low). In the end, Préval rejected the 200 gourdes increase, unconstitutionally writing in a figure of 125 gourdes (a little over $3) for workers in overseas apparel factories. When street-level demonstrations increased their intensity in response, U.N. troops responded with escalating force–taking a lead role instead of supporting the police, as their mandate dictates.

Some argued that it was fortunate to have over 11,000 soldiers on the ground to assist in logistical support in the earthquake response. However, the troops provided only minimal logistics in rebuilding. Moreover, the quality of their construction work was called into question following an outbreak of cholera in October, barely nine months after the earthquake. Infected U.N. troops stationed outside of Mirebalais spread their fecal matter in leaky sewage from the base, which ran into Haiti’s major river. Within days, the outbreak spread to the entire country. In addition to this epidemiological evidence, genetic evidence pinpointed troops from Nepal as the source. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, the U.N. claimed immunity for an outbreak that has killed over 8,500 people in four years and continues to kill. Lawyers from the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and the Bureau des Avocats Intérnationaux sued the U.N. on behalf of the victims and their families. However, in January 2015, days before the fifth anniversary of the quake, a judge confirmed the U.N.’s immunity. While this represents the most egregious invocation of their immunity, it was also confirmed following several cases of sexual abuse brought against U.N. troops.

A Haitian proverb declares konstitisyon se papye, bayonèt se fè: “a constitution is made of paper, a bayonet of iron.” In other words, the pen is not mightier than the sword. In reality during occupations, the pen is pushed by the sword. During the 1915 U.S. Marines Occupation, Franklin Delano Roosevelt bragged to have personally written the Haitian constitution–formally adopted in 1918–which opened up land for foreign ownership, and formalized the linguistic hegemony of the ruling classes by naming French as the only official language. Paving the way for U.S. agribusiness interests such as United Fruit to buy up tracts of land, the 1918 constitution allowed foreign investors and local merchants to monopolize foreign trade while expropriating thousands of peasant farmers. But it also triggered a massive kako rebellion.  In response, marines placed the mutilated body of Charlemagne Péralte, who they identified as the resistance movement’s intellectual author, on display in a public square–a warning to others.

Constitutional changes were also introduced during the contemporary occupation. In addition to advocating the rejection of the minimum wage increase, Bill Clinton and the U.N. are also credited for introducing constitutional reforms. Haiti’s 1987 constitution was the culmination of what Fritz Deshommes called a re-founding of the nation. Passed with over 90% of the vote on March 29, 1987, the constitution guaranteed liberal political rights, like freedom of press, religion, and assembly, as well as social rights, such as education and housing. In addition, the constitution elevated Haitian Creole as an official language alongside French. In a country reeling from 29 years of the Duvalier dictatorship and wary of centralized executive power, the office of Prime Minister, to be ratified by Parliament, was established. Power was also shared in the Territorial Collectivities, including 570 communal sections.

However, since the start of the occupation some of these provisions have been reversed by controversial new amendments passed under opaque circumstances.  In April 2010, parliament had voted to dissolve itself to make way for the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), co-chaired by Bill Clinton. When Parliament came back in session in 2011, the first task laid out for them was ratification of amendments to the constitution. President Michel Martelly, the winner from the second round of an election with record low voter turnout of 22%–less than half the previous 2006 elections–pushed for the ratification. He was joined by several foreign agencies, apparently keen on naming the Permanent Electoral Council in a top-down, rushed process that advantaged the current government. Amidst all of this confusion, it was not clear what the final version of the amendments was, and only the French version was published. [. . .]

[Photo above: Marines during the U.S. the occupation of Haiti, which began a century ago in July 1915. (USMC Archives / Creative Commons)]

For full articles see Schuller in NACLA Report on the Americas and in Counterpunch, in

See excellent related articles here:

“The Long Legacy of Occupation in Haiti” by Edwidge Danticat, The New Yorker,

“One Hundred Years of American Occupation in Haiti” by David Kroeker Maus, Antillean Media Group,

“US Interests in Haiti’s Natural Resources Led to Invasion” by Margaret Mitchell Armand (Boston Haitian Reporter)

“Haiti Marks 100th Anniversary of U.S. Occupation” by Jacqueline Charles for Miami Herald. See

“The US Occupation of Haiti Continues to This Day” by Jonathan Leaning;


In “The most crowded island on Earth,” Katie Amey writes about a tiny Caribbean islet that is “just over two acres but is home to a staggering 1,200 people.” The islet is called Santa Cruz del Islote. Amey summarizes, “Santa Cruz del Islote lies off the coast of Colombia, with 90 houses, two stores, a restaurant and a school. Its size – 0.012 sq km – and number of inhabitants makes it four times more densely populated than Manhattan. First discovered 150 years ago, the island was initially favoured because it had no mosquitoes – a rarity in the area Life on the island is a peaceful one with crime almost non-existent and many locals earning a living through tourism.”  See more information, photos, and a video in the link below. [Photos by Luca Zanetti.]


Here are excerpts:

It’s a tight squeeze on the island of Santa Cruz del Islote in the Caribbean, with 1,200 people inhabiting a lump of rock that’s just 0.012 square kilometres. The island, a two-hour boat trip from Cartagena, Colombia, is four times more densely populated than Manhattan.

Discovered just 150 years ago by a group of passing fisherman, the 2.4 acre islet is situated in the archipelago of San Bernardo. The fishermen, who were travelling from the coastal town of Baru, some 50 kilometres away, made a stunning realisation when they first stumbled upon the island: it had no mosquitoes. A relative rarity in the area, the explorers immediately set up camp. Today, the population has sky-rocketed, topping 1200 inhabitants. It’s also home to 90 houses, two stores, a restaurant and a school. However, space is so limited that many structures extend out over the water.

Since there are no high-rise structures, the isle has built itself outwards instead of upwards, ensuring everyone lives and works on the ground floor. The only empty space on the island is a small courtyard.

Though many residents describe the island as paradise, Santa Cruz del Islote has no doctors, no cemetery – the dead are buried on a nearby island – and one sole generator that runs for just five hours per day. There’s no running water, with the Colombian Navy delivering supplies to the island every three weeks.

The only service that the state provides is a lone security guard, who is stationed at the island’s school, which is attended by 80 children. Law states that there must be a guard for every school in the country.

Lacking basic amenities, it’s unsurprising that most work on nearby islands with tourism being the backbone of the local economies. They offer tourists boat tours along with snorkeling, fishing and diving experiences. Others use their knowledge of the local marine life to supply nearby restaurants with fish.

The life they lead is one that they treasure, with islanders reportedly never having to worry about theft and often gathering in each other’s doorways to watch soap operas, according to Colombia Reports. [. . .]

For full article, a photo gallery, and a video on life on the island, see

final_caribbean_logo_webCODE’s 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature is now open for submissions. The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2015.

In its third edition, the Award, established by Canadian education NGO CODE with the generous support of the Literary Prizes Foundation and in partnership with the Bocas Lit Fest, aims to celebrate the literary achievements of Caribbean authors while improving young readers’ access to books that are engaging and meaningful to them.

Part of a global initiative also present in four African countries and Canada, the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature is an annual Award that will be given to three English-language literary works for Young Adults (aged 12 through 18) written by Caribbean authors. A First Prize of $10,000 CAD, a Second Prize of $7,000 CAD and a Third Prize of $5,000 CAD will be awarded to the winning authors. Publishers of winning titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase of up to 2,000 copies, which will be donated to schools, libraries and literacy organizations throughout the region so young Caribbean readers can enjoy them.

Published books, previously self-published books, and unpublished manuscripts are eligible for the Award.  Eligible books and unpublished manuscripts can be submitted to the Bocas Lit Fest by publishers registered and operating in the Caribbean. Unpublished manuscripts or previously self-published books can also be submitted by authors directly to the Bocas Lit Fest.

Books published between 1 October 2013 and 31 October 2015 and eligible manuscripts must be received at the office of the Bocas Lit Fest by 31 October 2015.

Winners will be announced at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad and Tobago in the spring of 2016.

Learn more about the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature

Consult the official guidelines and get entry forms

For more information, please contact /Telephone:  222 7099

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 29, 2015

Dr. Roy Hastick appointed Brooklyn Ambassador

2015-07-28-nk-hastick-cl01_iBrooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams has appointed the founder, president and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn-based Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), Roy Hastick, as a Brooklyn Ambassador. Dr. Hastick was born in Grenada. See excerpts below:

“It is my pleasure and honor to officially inform you that you have been selected to be a Brooklyn Ambassador,” said Sandra Chapman, the Guyanese-born chief program officer in the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, in a letter to Hastick, made available to Caribbean Life.

[. . .] As Brooklyn Ambassador, Hastick is expected to attend community meetings, workshops, conferences and events on behalf of the Borough president, according to Chapman.

[. . .] Born in Grenada, Dr. Hastick migrated to the United States in 1972 and worked for several years as an administrator, community advocate, entrepreneur, and newspaper publisher. In 1985, he founded CACCI with 10 members. Under his leadership, CACCI has become a well-recognized and well-respected organization with more than 1,700 members in the Tri-State area and in the Caribbean.

For the past 30 years, Hastick said CACCI has sustained and developed its mission to advocate on behalf of Caribbean American, African American, and other small businesses.

He has been credited for his tireless efforts to put in place a structure that serves the small business community, promotes economic development, and continues to foster a climate of unity and harmony among diverse cultures.

In collaboration with the CACCI membership and the wider community, CACCI organizes emergency responses to hurricanes, flooding and other natural disasters in the Caribbean region, including St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico and Haiti.

Hastick said CACCI has hosted numerous Caribbean heads of state on their visits to New York. He participates annually in planning of the Annual National Caribbean Heritage Month Conferences and instituted the annual economic development brunch, which is held in Washington, D.C.

An ardent advocate of two-way trade between the United States and the Caribbean region, Hastick served as an elected delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business, and successfully campaigned to get two-way trade with the Caribbean region into the final recommendations that were submitted to the U.S. Congress.

CACCI manages the NYC-owned Brooklyn-based micro enterprise incubator, a 9,000 sq. ft. Flatbush Caton Vendors Market, which houses more than 40 vendors who sell a variety of African and Caribbean artifacts and a small business service center, which provides business counseling services. [. . .]

For full article, see

Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 29, 2015

Marlon James on Man Booker long list


The longlist, or ‘Man Booker Dozen’, for the £50,000 Man Booker Prize is announced today, Wednesday 29 July 2015.

This year’s longlist of 13 books was selected by a panel of five judges chaired by Michael Wood, and also comprising Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, John Burnside, Sam Leith and Frances Osborne. The judges considered 156 books for this year’s prize.


This is the second year that the prize, first awarded in 1969, has been open to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK.  Previously, the prize was open only to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.

The 2015 longlist, or Man Booker ‘Dozen’, of 13 novels, is:

Author (nationality) – Title (imprint)

Bill Clegg (US) – Did You Ever Have a Family (Jonathan Cape)

Anne Enright (Ireland) – The Green Road (Jonathan Cape)

Marlon James (Jamaica) – A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications)

Laila Lalami (US) – The Moor’s Account (Periscope, Garnet Publishing)

Tom McCarthy (UK) – Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)

Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) – The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press)

Andrew O’Hagan (UK) – The Illuminations (Faber & Faber)

Marilynne Robinson (US) – Lila (Virago)

Anuradha Roy (India) – Sleeping on Jupiter (MacLehose Press, Quercus)

Sunjeev Sahota (UK) – The Year of the Runaways (Picador)

Anna Smaill (New Zealand) – The Chimes (Sceptre)

Anne Tyler (US) – A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus)

Hanya Yanagihara (US) – A Little Life (Picador)


Chair of the 2015 judges, Michael Wood, comments:

‘We had a great time choosing this list. Discussions weren’t always peaceful, but they were always very friendly. We were lucky in our companions and the submissions were extraordinary. The longlist could have been twice as long, but we’re more than happy with our final choice.

‘The range of different performances and forms of these novels is amazing. All of them do something exciting with the language they have chosen to use.’

The judges were struck by the international spectrum of the novels, with the longlist featuring three British writers, five US writers and one apiece from the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, India, Nigeria and Jamaica. Marlon James, who currently lives in Minneapolis, is the first Jamaican-born author to be nominated for the prize. Laila Lalami, now based in Santa Monica but born in Rabat, is the first Moroccan-born.

One former winner, Anne Enright, is longlisted. The Irish writer won the prize in 2007 with The Gathering. She is joined by two formerly shortlisted British writers: Tom McCarthy (2010, C) and Andrew O’Hagan (1999, Our Fathers, and longlisted for Be Near Me, 2006). US author Marilynne Robinson has been shortlisted for Man Booker International Prize twice, in 2011 and 2013.

There are three debut novelists on the list: Bill Clegg, Chigozie Obioma and Anna Smaill.

Four independent publishers are on the list, with Garnet Publishing and Pushkin Press appearing for the first time.

For the original report go to

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 11.50.35 PM

Trinidad-based artist Peter Doig set a sales record this May whenSwamped, a painting of his from 1990 that alludes to both the climactic scene from the horror film Friday the 13th and the death by drowning of Group of Seven painter Tom Thompson, was sold at a Christie’s auction for $26-million (U.S.) Terence Dick reports for the CBC.

According to news reports, this made him the highest selling living British artist of the moment. Last year his painting of a rainbow-decorated tunnel familiar to anyone who has driven Toronto’s Don Valley Parkway set the record. The year before, it was his painting of Eaton Centre architect Eb Zeidler’s home in Toronto’s upscale Rosedale neighbourhood. In each case he was celebrated as a British or European artist, but the nationality of his most valuable paintings has a lot more to do with our home and native land.

Changing studios, changing temperatures, changing humidity — all these things affect paintings, but you don’t really realize it until you move.

Born in Edinburgh in 1959, Doig spent his formative years growing up in Canada. He moved to England in his twenties to study painting, but the breakthrough work he created in London was inspired by his memories and the natural imagery of Ontario. He is quick to distance himself from our national art history and only admits to sharing with the Group of Seven a sympathy for American and European artists like Whistler and Munch, but when prodded will acknowledge his artistic roots.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 11.50.12 PM

“The effect of a place is not necessarily immediate,” he tells me over the phone from a stopover in London on his way home from Düsseldorf where he teaches at the Fine Arts Academy. “Sometimes it takes some time. Sometimes it takes some distance. In the case of my so-called Canadian paintings, it wasn’t until I left Canada that they started happening.”

These paintings effectively blur the line between representation and abstraction by magnifying the atmospheric effects of melting snow or emphasizing the Jackson Pollock-like web of branches in a forest. Nature is portrayed not as an idyllic harmony, but a chaotic complexity contrasted with humanity in the form of modern architecture or ambiguous figures – often in canoes – who aren’t clearly on one side or the other of that divide.

There is a definite Northern sensibility to these early works that has disappeared now that he calls Trinidad home. For a painter so tied to landscape, moving studios from England to the Caribbean had an inevitable effect.

“Changing studios, changing temperatures, changing humidity, all these things affect paintings, but you don’t really realize it until you move. Travelling from the atmosphere in London to one where it’s much more humid, the canvas itself behaves in a very different way.”

His recent works are currently on view at the Palazzetto Tito in Venice and, while they maintain his psychedelic colour scheme and fascination with subtly surreal scenarios, the influence of his new home is unmistakable. “The colour combinations I’ve seen in Trinidad have influenced me. The palette becomes brighter. The picture plane becomes less fractured, less muted.”

Whether these works will one day fetch the same high prices as his Canadian landscapes is a question, like the matter of his nationality, that the artist does his best to dodge.

“It all remains quite abstract to me really,” he says as our conversation ends, “and I try to keep it that way because it’s not really my world. That’s another Peter Doig.”

Peter Doig’s work is being exhibited at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Palazzetto Tito in Venice, Italy through October 4, 2015, and at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark until August 16, 2015. 

For the original report go to

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