Symposium—“Blues Writing: Jean-Claude Charles and Modern Caribbean Literature”


[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Florida State University’s Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies presents “Blues Writing: Jean-Claude Charles and Modern Caribbean Literature.” This symposium will take place during March 22-24, 2018, at Florida State University, Miami, Florida. Speakers will include Louis-Philippe Dalembert, Edwidge Danticat, Michaël Ferrier, Fabienne Kanor, Dany Laferrière, Yanick Lahens, Alain Mabanckou, James Noël, and Makenzy Orcel. Attendees must indicate their interest by July 15, 2017, at

Description: This event brings together leading international authors, artists, and scholars in a celebration of the work of one of Haiti’s most talented and yet least read or understood writers. Through an innovative combination of workshops, performances, and readings we will assess the legacies of this singular figure in Caribbean writing. It is our conviction that the novels, poetry, and essays of Jean-Claude Charles are of primary importance to any understanding of modern Caribbean literature.

Born in 1949 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jean-Claude Charles left his country at the age of 21, first for Mexico, then the United States, Chicago and New York, where began what he termed his “enracinerrance,” his life as a “nomade aux pieds poudrés” and a “nègre errant.” He then lived in France, where he studied, and worked as a journalist for publications including Le Monde. A poet, novelist, screenwriter, director, and radio producer, he described himself as an “homme de nulle part,” a man from nowhere.

Since 2015, the Winthrop-King Institute has been collaborating with Rodney Saint-Éloi and Mémoire d’encrier in the republication of Jean-Claude Charles’ entire oeuvre.

We are not issuing a conventional call for papers, and are looking to build a program of interactive activities between the authors and attendees, including students, scholars, and readers, with the aim of creating new synergies and imagining new forms, actions, and collaborative ways of working. In this regard, we aim to incorporate non-literary forms, such as dance, painting, theatre, music, and digital formats. The major themes and discussion points will be announced in due course, and participants will be invited to prepare short interventions around these themes. If you are interested in attending the event please indicate so by 15 July 2017 at the following address:

For more information, see

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