ANGUILLA LIT FEST: A LITERARY JOLLIFICATION WELCOMES AWARD-WINNING AUTHORS SPOTLIGHT ON BOB SHACOCHIS (USA) AND A-DZIKO SIMBA GEGELE (JAMAICA)

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By anguillian May 4, 2014 09:03 Updated

 

 

imagesAnguilla Lit Fest 2014 author and speaker, Bob Shacochis was recently named a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Shacochis, an acclaimed American novelist, short story writer, and literary journalist, was nominated for his work The Woman Who Lost Her Soul. which is published by Atlantic Monthly Press. A novel spanning 50 years and three continents, the book explores the murky world of American foreign policy before 9/11, using provocative themes to raise difficult moral questions. According to a review of the novel by Publishers Weekly, “A brutal American-style John le Carré, Shacochis details how espionage not only reflects a nation’s character but can also endanger its soul. Gritty characters find themselves in grueling situations against a moral and physical landscape depicted in rich language as war-torn, resilient, angry, evil, and hopeful.”
Shacochis was born in Pennsylvania, but grew up in the Washington, D.C., suburb of McLean, Va. He was educated at the University of Missouri and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and currently teaches creative writing at Florida State University. His first short-story collection, Easy in the Islands, was published in 1985 and received the National Book Award in category First Work of Fiction. The stories are set in various Caribbean locales and reflect the author’s experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Grenadines. His second story collection, The Next New World, contains stories set in Florida and the islands of the Caribbean but also in Northern Virginia and the mid-Atlantic coast. In 1993, Shacochis published his first novel, Swimming in the Volcano, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has worked as a journalist and war correspondent, and as a longtime culinary aficionado, Shacochis served as a cooking columnist for GQ magazine, writing the “Dining In” column, which combined often humorous anecdotes with recipes. (The “Dining In” columns are collected in Domesticity, a hybrid cookbook/essay collection.) He is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, and was instrumental, along with other literary journalists recruited by then-editor Mark Bryant, including Jon Krakauer, Tim Cahill, and Bruce Barcott, in establishing Outside’s popular and critical success.

Also joining the 2014 edition of the Anguilla Lit Fest: A Literary Jollification is Jamaican author, A-dZiko Simba Gegele, whose vibrant debut novel All Over Again (published by Blouse and Skirt Books) copped the inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature at the Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad and Tobago in April. Blouse and Skirt Books is an imprint of Blue Moon Publishing. The narrator of the novel is a young boy, on the cusp of beginning his teenage years, who recounts events both mundane and remarkable in his everyday dealings. Never referred to directly by name, the narrator grapples with the uneven affections of his oft-Draconian father; the anguished disappointments of his mother and the very bane of his existence: his five-year-old sister, Mary Janga. Conducted in lively Jamaican vernacular, the reader accompanies the narrator on his schoolyard romps; his first flutterings of romantic esteem for the comely Christina Parker; his exultation on the day of an important football match. Under Gegele’s guidance, the intricacies of a preteen boy’s inner world are revealed, in onion-layered style, for our scrutiny and our inevitable nostalgia.

The award, celebrating novels for young adults, was announced at a gala event on Friday, at which President of Trinidad and Tobago His Excellency Anthony Carmona was the guest speaker. Simba Gegele was among a shortlist of six writers from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica. “A-dZiko Gegele is a sensational writer,” said Burt Award chief juror, Mala Morton Gittens. “Her novel appeals to readers of all ages and all genders,” she continued, also describing the book as “linguistically exciting”.
– Press Release

(Published without editing by The Anguillian newspaper.)

anguillian
By anguillian May 4, 2014 09:03 Updated

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