5th Congress of Caribbean Writers

Writing (for, in, on) the Caribbean

5-9 April 2017 – MACTe Guadeloupe

The 5th Congress of Caribbean Writers is preparing to deploy its architecture, building on the first four founding blocks set firmly in Guadeloupe’s soil between 2008 and 2015.

Although the idea of a writers’ conference is not original as such, this Guadeloupian initiative is marked by its innovative approach, glorifying the Caribbean spirit that expresses emotions and thoughts in all its linguistic sonorities.

Our cultural singularities match the fragmentation of our natural environment. Consequently, the shared Caribbean memory is a progressive construct overcoming the numerous obstacles to encounters and to the circulation of literary output and of “new expressions”.

Furthermore, development strategies deployed in our region are essentially based on the geopolitical and economic dimensions. With regard to culture, musical, cinematographic, pictorial and body expressions are promoted more; literature has been lagging behind, although we should recognise the value of the efforts made by Cuba and its Casas de Las Américas, as well as by many Caribbean and Latin American publishing houses, to promote works produced in the region.

The Congress of Caribbean Writers is a bearer of this vision and is motivated by this educational mission. Since the first edition, it has made it possible to take stock of what exists, aggregated into four tableaux:

• Caribbean literature in the world: state of the art and perspectives, 2008
• Circumstances, conditions and issues in Caribbean literary creation, 2011
• Our fight for freedom, a collective epic, 2013
• Travel, migration and diasporas in Caribbean literatures, 2015

This fifth edition of the congress opens up a new era where a dialogue of writings by creators from the Caribbean basin and the continental Americas will be staged. Books, performing arts, plastic arts and musical expressions are all aids to help decipher the complexity whilst stimulating the imagination. They produce meaning and knowledge of the world.

The congress should increasingly become a forum for the spontaneous expression of writers’ living words. A space where everyone can explain how s/he creates emotion whilst operating within the new listening and receiving paradigms of our populations, especially the younger generations. Paradigms that are torn between a worried search for identity and a tendency to local self-absorption in a world where doors are increasingly open.

The Caribbean is represented in its multiplicity, and its literatures offer aesthetic choices and relations with the real world that need to be brought together both in their search for the absolute and their relation to the urgency of the moment.

Although literature is basically universal, it is characterised by shading that makes it possible to discover the colours of writers’ frames of reference. What are the pleasures that arise from the act of writing about one’s nurturing region, that is the insular and continental Caribbean? And to say what to readers here and elsewhere? Questions that underpin the challenges that Caribbean writers’ pens have to take up.

This will be the central theme of the congress during this festival devoted to the dialogue of written works. It will make it possible to raise questions about why writers choose to write about the Caribbean or, in other words, about this approach to pleasure. Is it an obligation? Can the author free him/herself from the imaginary or the creative Caribbean reality to speak to the whole world? How might readers respond to written works dealing with such challenges?

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