New Book: From Sugar to Revolution – Women’s Visions of Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic

Another text to look forward to in 2012 is Myriam J.A. Chancy’s third academic book, From Sugar to Revolution: Women’s Visions of Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic (Wilfrid Laurier University Press), which closes a trilogy on Caribbean women’s literature.

Description: Sovereignty. Sugar. Revolution. These are the three axes this book uses to link the works of contemporary women artists from Haiti—a country excluded in contemporary Latin American and Caribbean literary studies—the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. In From Sugar to Revolution: Women’s Visions of Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, Myriam Chancy aims to show that Haiti’s exclusion is grounded in its historical role as a site of ontological defiance. Her premise is that writers Edwidge Danticat, Julia Alvarez, Zoé Valdés, Loida Maritza Pérez, Marilyn Bobes, Achy Obejas, Nancy Morejón, and visual artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons attempt to defy fears of “otherness” by assuming the role of “archaeologists of amnesia.” They seek to elucidate women’s variegated lives within the confining walls of their national identifications—identifications wholly defined as male. They reach beyond the confining limits of national borders to discuss gender, race, sexuality, and class in ways that render possible the linking of all three nations. Nations such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba are still locked in battles over self-determination, but, as Chancy demonstrates, women’s gendered revisionings may open doors to less exclusionary imaginings of social and political realities for Caribbean people in general.

Myriam J.A. Chancy is a Haitian-Canadian writer born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in Haiti and Canada. She holds an MA in English Literature from Dalhousie University and a Ph. D. in English from the University of Iowa. Chancy is the author of both non-fiction and fiction, including Framing Silence: Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women (1997), Searching for Safe Spaces: Afro-Caribbean Women Writers in Exile (1997), which won the Choice OAB Award for 1998, and Spirit of Haiti (2003), shortlisted for the Best First Book, Canada/Caribbean region, Commonwealth Prize 2004. The Loneliness of Angels (2010) was shortlisted in the fiction category of the OCM Bocas Prize in Caribbean Literature 2011 and won the Guyana Prize Literature Caribbean Award, Best Fiction, for 2010.

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