A report by Hafeezah Nazim for the Seawanhaka Press.
At the BRIC Arts Media House in downtown Brooklyn on March 21, a group of Caribbean writers gathered to discuss the art of storytelling and to celebrate the release of distinguished Trinidadian-American novelist Elizabeth Nunez’s latest work. The event was produced by the Brooklyn-based Caribbean Cultural Theatre. Also participating was writer/photographer Glynn Pogue and author Naomi Jackson, who wrote “The Star Side of Bird Hill” in 2015. “Teaching Caribbean literature at LIU Brooklyn, which sits at the heart of the Caribbean diaspora in New York City, continues to be a thrilling experience in the classroom. And as we saw with this Elizabeth Nunez event, the wider community,” says Maria McGarrity, an English professor at the Brooklyn Campus who moderated the discussion.
McGarrity, along with Juliet Emanuel of Borough of Manhattan Community College writer/photographer Glynn Pogue, and author Naomi Jackson came together to discuss and honor the work of distinguished Trinidadian-American novelist Elizabeth Nunez. “Even In Paradise” is Nunez’s tenth novel, and centers around an English-Trinidadian widower who attempts to find solace in Barbados. During the discussion, McGarrity asked Nunez about her defining of stereotypes in the novel, and her decision to reference losing a family member in the Iraq war. “One of the main characters is a white-Trinidadian. One of the ways you can get visas to come to America is through professional visas. A faster way to get a visa is to agree to serve in the military,” replied Nunez.
McGarrity, who moderated the discussion with Nunez, teaches a Caribbean literature course at LIU Brooklyn. Ironically, the event was held just days after the death of famed St. Lucian poet Derek Walcott. McGarrity told Seawanhaka over email, “He was a remarkably gifted poet who brought the wondrous complexity of the Caribbean literature and culture to the world through his writing.”