PREE Editor Annie Paul on Caribbean Racisms

All about the Culture recently spoke to Editor-in-Chief Annie Paul on the “Caribbean Racisms” issue of online journal PREE. Here are excerpts. [For full interview and snippets from some of the PREE stories, see All about the Culture: PREE explores race, ethnicity in the Caribbean.]

We asked PREE’s Editor-in-Chief about her goals around the Caribbean Racisms issue. She told us:
“In the wake of the George Floyd killing in the US and the vigorous and sustained protests that followed, both in the US and internationally, Kei Miller, one of Jamaica’s foremost writers, wrote a longish post on Facebook asking how, in this particular moment, Jamaicans could plan to show solidarity with African-Americans without doing the hard work of introspection right here, at home. His meditation took him back to lessons he had learnt during and after the publication of his groundbreaking 2018 essay, White Women and the Language of Bees, in PREE. Some of the issues he revealed there provoked a series of responses on Facebook, introspective examinations by a range of individuals about their particular backgrounds and heritage and how they fit into the charged racial landscape of the Caribbean. [. . .] “With Caribbean Racisms we aimed to initiate an honest and introspective discussion about race and racism in the Caribbean.” [. . .]

Why did you decide to launch PREE?

“We felt there was a gap in the literary ecosystem of the region. While countries like Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and the Bahamas have produced many outstanding writers, nearly all of them have had to find their own way, cultivate their talent abroad and hope to be discovered by agents and publishers. While there are excellent literary festivals such as Calabash and Bocas these are geared towards authors of books, indeed such festivals are primarily book-centric. The problem with this is that by the time an author publishes a successful book they’re at the end of the production process so to speak. We want to be involved at a much earlier stage, providing emerging writers with a platform to showcase their work, giving them the critical feedback and support needed to develop their writing and making their work visible to publishers, agents and audiences well beyond the confines of the Caribbean. 

“I should add that the principals involved in this project are themselves successful writers and critics with a wealth of knowledge and experience to impart. Everything in PREE is blind reviewed by at least two experienced writers. We also lasso some of the hugely successful writers from the Caribbean—Marlon James, Kei Miller, Ingrid Persaud just to name a handful—into the review process soliciting their critical feedback on the most promising work submitted to us. We work with writers as they go through the process of reworking and revising based on the suggestions made by our reviewers. All of this is provided free of cost, incidentally.” 

Tell us about your latest issue.

“PREE 6 is themed the Rub-a-dub-dub issue because we wanted to publish writing centred in provocative and experimental ways on one of the most exciting and innovative musical artforms to have developed here—Dub. In this issue we are particularly proud of the fiction—four intricately developed, compelling narratives, set between them in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the British Virgin Islands and Jamaica. Saffy’s Song and Hummingbird Dub both feature young women with musical ambition; Riddim of my Life is a raucous, raunchy joyride through the annals of dancehall told in a vivid and unforgettable Vincy voice (St Vincent). Shedding, by the poet laureate of the British Virgin Islands, his first attempt at fiction, is an intriguing story weaving together traditions of noir and Caribbean gothic. 

Also in this issue is a painting and meditation by Che Lovelace (TnT) in which he imagines the celebrated writer and thinker, CLR James, in the streets of Trinidad along with other carnival revellers. [. . .]”

For full article, see http://allabouttheculture.com/pree-explores-race-ethnicity-in-the-caribbean/

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