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Poet Laureate Honoured

For Release Upon Receipt - Friday, February 22, 2019

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Literary legends: Esther Phillips with Professor George Lamming at last Friday’s Laureate Series event.

Esther Phillips, Barbados’ first Poet Laureate, was honoured by the Cave Hill Campus last Friday evening.

The Laureates Series: Celebrating Poetry and Barbados’ First Poet Laureate, brought together an eclectic audience of artistes, academics, educators, government officials and diplomats. The series was hosted by the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) in collaboration with the Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature. It was first staged in 2015, and has returned after a brief hiatus.

The award-winning Phillips is the editor of Bim: Arts for the 21st Century, founder of Writers Ink Inc. and the Bim Literary Festival & Book Fair. She is also the producer of the CBC radio programme, What’s That You’re Reading? as well as chair of the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment. Her publications include When Ground Doves Fly; The Stone Gatherer and Leaving Atlantis.

Some of her poetry has been translated into Spanish as part of a PEN project implemented by the University of Puerto Rico. The bilingual collection will be published by Peepal Tree Press later this year.

“Her poetry is rooted in our islands but it also explores the innerscapes of our humanity and our soul,” said Professor Curwen Best, Professor of Popular Culture and Literary Studies.

Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, John King, also spoke highly of her contributions to Barbados and the wider world.

Phillips paid tribute to people from all walks of life in her readings, among them were literary icons and academics, Professor George Lamming – who was present – and Kamau Brathwaite.

She also acknowledged women whom she described as “intelligent and resourceful but were denied the opportunity of education, [and] were the foundation on which we stand”.

Phillips said she felt honoured by the event, particularly by the diversity of the audience. The literary luminary said her next major project is the BIM Literary Festival and Book Fair scheduled for 2020.










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