David Ambrose is a Grenadian educator and author. He holds a master’s degree in Education – Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix. Ambrose is a communication studies lecturer at T.A. Marryshow Community College in Grenada. He is part of the founding team of the Meridian School of Grenada and became head of the all-age private school in 2003. Ambrose published his first novel, White Spice, a crime thriller, in 2015. His second book, That Time in Bogles – A Carriacou Tale, was released in 2018. Ambrose lives in Grenada with his wife and two children.
Barbara Andrea Arrindell is the manager of Best of Books, a leading bookstore in Antigua. She is an ardent promoter of reading and literature in Antigua and Barbuda. Arrindell is a human resources management graduate from The University of the West Indies – Cave Hill, Barbados.
Rhoda Arrindell, PhD, is a St. Martin linguist and educator. The former Humanities Division head at the University of St. Martin (USM) has taught English composition and reading; Caribbean literature; and world literature. Dr. Arrindell served as the first minister of Education, Culture, Sports, and Youth Affairs for the southern or Dutch-controlled part of St. Martin after the territory obtained its adjusted “autonomous status” in 2010. She co-authored chapters in Agency in the Emergence of Creole Languages (Dr. Nicholas Faraclas, Ed.), edited Brother Rich ... , Creative Writing in St. Martin; and presents papers on linguistics and literature at international conferences. On May 18, 2016, Dr. Arrindell appeared before the Central Committee of the Parliament of St. Maarten with fellow members of the Independence for St. Martin Foundation (ISMF). She presented the ISMF position to the parliamentarians on why the territory should be placed back on the decolonization list of the United Nations. Dr. Arrindell is the owner of the multipurpose café, Source of Inspirational Learning (SoIL). Dr. Arrindell’s book, Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin, is available at St. Martin Book Fair 2019, SPDbooks.org, and other bookstores. (houseofnehesipublish.com)
Fabian Adekunle Badejo is the author of Fantasies – Love-making poems, Claude – A Portrait of Power, and Salted Tongues–Modern Literature in St.Martin. His essay “Negritude in the Forgotten Territories: Lasana Mwanza Sekou and Aimé Césaire” appears in Negritude: Legacy and Present Relevance (eds. Isabelle Constant, Kahiudi C. Mabana). In 1982, Badejo coordinated the groundbreaking St. Maarten Festival of Arts & Culture (SMAFESTAC). He has produced concerts by kaisonian Mighty Dow and humorists Paul Keens Douglas and Fernando Clark. He has also directed plays and film documentaries and presented scholarly papers on St. Martin’s literature and culture at regional and international conferences. Between 1989 and 2005, the former Nigerian diplomat was managing director/editor, publisher, and news director respectively of The St. Maarten Guardian, St. Martin Business Week, and Today. Badejo is the producer/host of the long-running weekly radio magazine Culture Time on PJD2. (houseofnehesipublish.com)
Peter Bailey is an award-winning author and journalist who formerly worked as a staff writer for Time, Newsweek and The Miami Herald before launching NiteCap Media. Bailey penned the memoir of Miami hip hop pioneer Trick Daddy, Magic City: Trials of a Native Son, a book called “one of the pop music gems of 2010” by The New York Times. His NiteCap docu-series is routinely featured on BET, The Huffington Post, Vibe and other USA media outlets. Mike Tyson, Fantasia, 50 Cent, Janelle Monae, T.I., and billionaire developer Don Peebles are some of the newsmakers featured on NiteCap. Bailey made his acting debut alongside Lynn Whitfield, Clifton Powell and Keith David in the Civil War film The North Star. He is currently on tour screening his latest film Paradise Discovered, inspired by his New York Times Op Ed on Caribbean hurricane survivors, “Has America Forgotten the Virgin Islands.” Bailey was born in the Virgin Islands of Anguillan heritage. The media executive resides in Miami where he was honored as “one of Miami’s most powerful and influential Black business leaders of 2019” by Legacy Miami.
Nicole Cage (Martinique), poet, novelist, journalist, Spanish teacher, psychotherapist, publisher. She speaks French, Creole, Spanish, and English. In 1996, Cage was awarded the prestigious Casa de las Américas prize for Arc-en-ciel, l’espoir, a collection of poems for children and young adults. Her novels and poetry books, which include L’Espagnole, Aime comme musique ou comme mourir d’aimer; Palabras de paz por tiempos de Guerra; Dèyé pawol sé lanmou/Par-delà les mots, l’amour–Poèmes bilingue, and Vole avec elle, have been published in Martinique, Venezuela, France, and the UK. Cage has performed her poetry, often accompanied by jazz, at literary festivals in Colombia, Romania, Mexico, Tunisia, El Salvador, Canada, and St. Martin. Her poems have been translated into Albanian, Arabic, Romanian, Macedonian, English, and Spanish. Awards include the OENEUMI Award (Macedonia), the Poetry Creativity Award (Lebanon), and the Prix Gros Sel for her novel C’est vole que je vole.
Wendy Crawford-Daniel, PhD, teaches sociology at St. George’s University. The research sociologist serves on the Education Task-Force aimed at modernizing education in Grenada. Her population and research projects have focused on persons with disability, disaster preparedness planning, quality of life of older adults, and juvenile justice reform. Dr. Crawford-Daniel serves on the board of directors for the Hilarion Home for the Aged and chairs the Board of Directors of the Grenada Save the Children Fund. She is the author of Unveiling Island Passion, a novel, and Son Rising, a fictional account of the experiences of a gay young man growing up in Grenada.
Doris Dumabin (Guadeloupe), is the author of four novels. The adult theme books are known to raise eyebrows in her homeland because of the way that she writes about male-female relationships in the new worlds that she explores in her French language fictions. The novelist continues to attended literary conferences and festivals such as the Caribbean Writers Congress and the St. Martin Book Fair.
Sara Florian obtained a Ph.D. in Modern Philology at Cà Foscari University, Italy. Her postdoc in Contemporary Singapore Literature was obtained at Singapore Management University. Dr. Florian has studied Caribbean literature at the research facilities of The University of the West Indies in Jamaica, Trinidad, and Barbados—where she interviewed noted authors and scholars such as Mutabaruka, Gordon Rohlehr, Kenneth Ramchand, Edward Baugh, Mervyn Morris, St Hope Earl McKenzie, Maureen Warner-Lewis, Carolyn Cooper, Jeannette Allsopp, Kendel Hippolyte, John Robert Lee, AJA, David Rudder, Hubert Devonish, Funso Aiyejina, Velma Pollard, Jean D’Costa, and Jennifer Rahim. Florian teaches Italian at the National University of Singapore. According to Dr. Florian, “My infatuation with ancient history led me, as a side passion, to share Latin and ancient Greek with my students. My Venetian roots have accompanied me through various uprooting and re-routing journeys. Like the beautiful city on the water, I share an independent spirit of survival and intellectual curiosity, which steered me toward my first encounter with Caribbean literature.” Dr. Florian’s literature reviews, essays, poems, and short stories have appeared in Small Axe/sx salon, Tripwire, Caribbean Quarterly, Moko – Caribbean Arts and Letters, The Sunday Gleaner, and The Jamaica Observer. Luce, la città morente che mi ha fatto rinascere / Light, the dying city which gave me life again (2011) is her debut bilingual novel. Dr. Florian is among the new generation of Caribbeanist scholars, and Caribbean Counterpoint: The Aesthetics of Salt in Lasana Sekou is her first book on comparative and contemporary Caribbean literature. (houseofnehesipublish.com)
Tamara Groeneveldt was born in St. Martin in 1984. She grew up in the traditional fishing village of Grand Case as it was rapidly evolving into a virtual international “cuisine capital of the Caribbean.” Groeneveldt holds a master’s degree in social work from Florida A&M University. In 2012, Groeneveldt read at the Greenlight and Social Cracks slams in St. Martin. She has recited poetry for official St. Martin Day programs and other cultural presentations attended by the island’s officials and the visiting king and queen of the Netherlands; at the “10,000 Men March for St. Martin” (2013); and at “For A World Without Walls” (2019). Groeneveldt coordinates Under the Gazebo, the poetry open mic for the St. Martin Book Fair and recited at the festival’s international literary evening in 2018. The poetry of the former award-winning president of Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters Club were first published in Where I See the Sun – Contemorary Poetry in St. Martin (2013). After The Storm is the first book by Tamara Groeneveldt. (houseofnehesipublish.com)
Deborah Jack (St. Martin), is a poet and visual artist whose work is based in video/sound installation, photography, painting, and text. Deborah has published two poetry collections with House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP), The Rainy Season (1997) and skin (2006). She has read her poetry at literary festivals in St. Martin, South Africa, Indonesia, and Netherlands. Her visual artwork has been exhibited in solo and group shows in the Caribbean, the USA, and Europe. Group exhibitions include the traveling exhibition Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago, which opened at the Museum of Latin American Art in Los Angeles, the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, the Frost Museum at FIU and Portland Museum in Maine in 2019. Her work is being featured in The Other Side of Now at the Perez Art Museum of Miami in 2019. Jack’s work has been exhibited at the 2014 SITE Santa Fe Biennial, Brooklyn Museum, the Jersey City Museum, The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, and Artspace New Haven. Residencies include a Lightwork and the Big Orbit Gallery Summer Artist in Residence. Jack has received a Prince Bernhard Fund grant, a CEPA Exhibition Award, and a New York Foundation for the Arts SOS grant. Deborah Jack is an Associate Professor of Art at New Jersey City University.
Olsfred James is an author and spoken word artist. He is co-founder of The Spilling Ink, an organization that promotes the arts and artists of Antigua and Barbuda. The Spilling Ink received the country’s Literary Art award in 2017. Olsfred’s self-published books are Ashes: A Broken Inception and Ashes: The Continuum. His poetry chapbooks are Silhouettes of Rose, Affliction of Rose, and Reflections of Rose.
Collette Jones-Chin earned bachelor’s degrees in art education, painting, and graphic arts from the University of Guyana and the Burrows School of Art. As a set and costume designer, she has performed and mounted several one-woman and group exhibitions in the Caribbean region and in North and South America. Jones-Chin is an educational youth and community development expert with training in human resource and operations management. Jones-Chin was instrumental in establishing Guyana’s National School of Theatre Arts and Drama and served as its first director of studies, lecturer of Design and Production Management, and festival director. She is the recipient of theater, visual arts, and playwriting awards. She is the director and executive producer of SENOJ CREATIONS. Jones-Chin is married and has one daughter. She resides in Anguilla where she founded Stages Anguilla, a youth drama club. Her first book, Mahaica Belle Rings, highlights childhood experiences in the countryside of Guyana.
Louie Laveist (St. Martin), actor, theater director, politician. He was a founding member of the Cole Bay Theater Company (CBTC) at age 15. In 1991, Laveist founded the United Theatre Company, wrote and directed his first play Who’s Fooling Who?; and became the drama coordinator at the government’s Department of Culture in Great Bay (Philipsburg). In the early 1990s, he took courses in acting and writing plays at Jamaica’s Little Rock Theatre and attended lectures by noted author/playwright Earl Lovelace. Laveist directed his Forbidden Love (1992) at Trinidad’s Little Carib Theatre for CARIFESTA VI in 1995. In 1996, he attended the drama workshop of the Caribbean Writers Institute, University of Miami. It is out of that workshop, conducted by Fred D’Aguiar, that he wrote Bondage (1997), his fourth play. In 2002 he wrote his fifth play, Love You To Death!, which looks at domestic violence and was performed in St. Martin and Cuba that same year. The House That Jack Built and Other Plays is Laveist’s first and only book to date. Awards include “Best Actor” and “Best Supporting Actor” from Aruba’s Caribbean/Latin American Drama Festival. Laveist was profiled in the book St. Martin Massive! A Snapshot of Popular Artists (2000) as one of the island’s 20 most popular artists at the turn of the century. (houseofnehesipublish.com)
N.C. Marks (Natasha C. Marks) is a writer from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Marks holds an MSc in Environmental Management from the University of London and teaches geography at the St. Vincent Girls’ High School in her Caribbean homeland. Her previous publications are When Silence Speaks (2011) and Memoirs of a Teacher (2012). Marks’s writings have appeared in The Daily Herald, repeatingislands.com, and Moko – Caribbean Arts and Letters. The new novel by Marks, Plastered in Pretty (HNP), which has recently been reviewed in The Jamaica Gleaner, is available at St. Martin Book Fair 2019, SPDbooks.org, and other bookstores. At the Anguilla Lit Fest 2019, where Marks was a guest writer along with Alice Walker, she presented the acclaimed USA author a copy of her dystopian novel. According to thecaribbeancurrent.com, Walker later told Marks: “I’m reading Pretty and I’m loving it. It’s fresh, you are writing for these times. I also like the fact that you spoke in your language.”
Heddrick McBride is an author and owner of McBride Collection of Stories LLC. His mission is “to provide diverse children’s books that educate and entertain all readers.” He has published 60 books in his first four years of operating his publishing company. McBride’s books have been featured in publications such as L.A Times, USA Today, and The Bleacher Report. His titles have also been seen on television programs such as ESPN SportsNation, The Bill O’Reilly Show, Time Warner Sports, ESPN Sportscenter, NY 1 News, and the Michael Kay Show. He has co-authored books with 12 professionals, including NBA Star Metta World Peace, and reality television stars Lisa Nicole Cloud and Yandy Smith. McBride’s books are used in schools in US cities, including New York City, Buffalo, Boston, Baltimore, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. McBride Stories books are also being read in South Africa, Kenya, and St. Martin. The new title by McBride is St. Maarten Strong and its English and French editions are available at St. Martin Book Fair 2019. In his spare time, he enjoys watching movies and hanging out with his wife Danielle and their daughter Skylar.
Kei Miller is an award-winning Jamaican poet, fiction writer, essayist, and blogger. Miller was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. He read English at the University of the West Indies but dropped out short of graduation. However, while studying there, he befriended the poet and professor Mervyn Morris, who encouraged his writing. Afterward, Miller began publishing widely throughout the Caribbean. In 2004, he left for England to study for an MA in Creative Writing (The Novel) at Manchester Metropolitan University under the tutelage of poet and scholar Michael Schmidt. Miller later completed a PhD in English Literature at the University of Glasgow. A powerfully prolific Caribbean writer, Kei Miller’s books include Augustown, The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way to Zion, Writing Down the Vision: Essays & Prophecies, The Last Warner Woman, Kingdom of Empty Bellies, There Is An Anger That Moves, and Fear of Stones and other stories.
Opal Palmer Adisa, PhD (Jamaica). is the Director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of West Indies. Adisa has lectured and read her work throughout the United States, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Germany, England and the city of Prague, and has performed in Italy and Bosnia. An award-winning poet and prose writer Adisa has over sixteen titles to her credit, including the novel, It Begins With Tears (1997), which Rick Ayers proclaimed as one of the most motivational works for young adults. She has been a resident artist in internationally acclaimed residencies such as El Gounda (Egypt), Sacatar Institute (Brazil), McColl Center (USA), and Headlines Center for the Arts (USA). Opal Palmer Adisa’s work has been reviewed by Ishmael Reed, Al Young, and Alice Walker, who described her work as “solid, visceral, important stories written with integrity and love.” Following in the tradition of the African “griot” Opal Palmer Adisa, an accomplished storyteller, commands the mastery and extraordinary talent of storytelling, exemplary of her predecessors. Through her imaginative characterizations of people, places and things, she is able to transport her listeners to the very wonderlands she creates. For the last 23 years Opal was a distinguished professor at California College of the Arts. She has been a visiting professor at several universities including, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and University of the Virgin Islands. Her poetry, stories, essays and articles on a wide range of subjects have been collected in over 400 journals, anthologies and other publications, including Essence magazine. She has also conducted workshops in elementary through high school, museums, churches and community centers, as well as in prison and juvenile centers. (opalpalmeradisa.com)
Geoffrey Philp has written two novels, Benjamin, My Son and Garvey’s Ghost; five poetry collections, Exodus and Other Poems, Florida Bound, Hurricane Center, Xango Music, and Dub Wise; two collections of short stories, Uncle Obadiah and the Alien and Who’s Your Daddy?, and three children’s books, Marcus and the Amazons, Grandpa Sydney’s Anancy Stories, and The Christmas Dutch Pot Baby. His work is represented in nearly every anthology of Caribbean literature, and he is one of the few writers whose work has been published in the Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Storiesand Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. A former James Michener Fellow at the University of Miami, Philp was a Jamaica Diaspora Luminary Honoree for Literature (2016), which was awarded by the Consulate General of Miami. Philp’s work is featured on The Poetry Rail at The Betsy in an homage to 12 writers that shaped Miami culture. He is currently working on a collection of poems, “Letter from Marcus Garvey.”
Clara Reyes is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and founder of the Imbali Center for Creative Movement. Her master’s thesis is the first study of the Ponum, the “national” dance of St. Martin (North and South). In 2003, she staged In the Company of Women dance-theater and Ponum the Musical – St. Martin’s Dance of Liberation in Philipsburg and Marigot. A recipient of the Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF) “Personality of the Year Award,” Reyes has taught at the St. Maarten Academy and lectured at the University of St. Martin. In 2004, the John Larmonie Center for Creative Arts named one of its dance halls in honor of this first lady of St. Martin dance. Reyes choreographed and directed Run for Freedom (2005) and St. Martin is My Home … The Musical (2006)—both CLF productions. Reyes has also produced and directed In the Company of Men – His/story. She co-produced and directed Vagina Monologues St. Martin, one of the most successful theatrical productions on the island in recent memory. In 2013, Clara Reyes became a founding director of the National Institute of Arts (NIA). In 2018, the government of St. Martin (South) appointed Clara Reyes as head of the territory’s department culture.
Alex Richards (St. Martin), researcher, translator, and librarian. Richards has also worked as a policy advisor to the government of the Collectivity of St. Martin
Z’Haria K. Richardson is the 2019 St. Martin kaiso queen, known as Empress Zee. In 2014, she was “introduced” to kaiso in performance as one of the opening singers for the Mighty Sparrow concert at Port de Plaisance in St. Martin. In 2015, Empress Zee entered her first calypso competition with the songs “Calypso ain’t just a man thing” and “Be Positive.” Empress Zee returned to the stage in 2016, with the tunes “Politics Not for Me” and “The Flock.” In the 2017 calypso competition of the St. Maarten Carnival, Empress Zee reached the finals for the third consecutive year. In 2019, the kaisonian was back on the carnival stage with “Round and Round,” a song about government’s sloppy service to the public. Her second song, “Calypso is Here to Stay,” listed her displeasures with the lack of support for the art form from the carnival foundation (SCDF), her fellow kaisonians decision to boycott the competition, and radio stations and DJ’s support for foreign music, “while calypso is hardly ever heard outside the carnival season.” With these two tunes, Empress Zee captured the nation’s kaiso crown for 2019.
Max Rippon (Marie-Galante, Guadeloupe) is the author of eleven books of poems, essays on tourism, and narratives, including Pawòl naïf, Agouba, Le Dernier Matin–Récit, Six virgule trios–Secousses à Terre-de-Bas, and Blues an tout lang. He is a strong advocate of Kwéyòl as a popular and literary language. Rippon’s books Le Dernier Matin, Marie La Gracieuse, and Debris de Silences are taught in schools in Guadeloupe and St. Martin. He is featured in the poetry collection Hurricane, Shouts of Islanders (Hurricane, Cris d’Insulaires) among such noted authors as Aimé Césaire, Derek Walcott, and Nabile Fares. Rippon has participated in literary festivals in Guadeloupe, Nicaragua, USA, and France. Over the years, the St. Martin Book Fair has been selected as the release venue of two of Max Rippon’s books, including Marie Galante Regards.
Chika Unigwe (b. 1974) is a Nigerian writer who lives in Belgium and who writes in English and Dutch. With her stories written in English, she won the BBC Short Story Award in 2003, the Commonwealth Short Story Award in 2004, and was nominated for the Caine Prize, the African Booker Prize. She made her debut as a novelist in 2005 with De feniks (The Phoenix), about the personal problems of an African woman in Flanders. In the novel Fata Morgana (2007) sex trafficking from Nigeria is portrayed through the world of prostitutes in Antwerp. It has been translated into English, Italian, German, and Hungarian. In her latest novel Nachtdanser (Night Dancer), which is set in Africa, Chika Unigwe returns to Enugu, the city of her birth in the southern part of Nigeria. (www.letterenfonds.nl)
Gerard van Veen was born in Alkmaar, the Netherlands, in 1933. He came to the Caribbean in 1961, and worked in pastoral, social, educational, and cultural fields. In 1983, Gerard van Veen made St. Martin his home, after retiring from the priesthood in Aruba where he had written four books. He worked as a probation officer in St. Martin until 1993, after which he taught sociology and Dutch language courses at the University of St. Martin. He has acted on stage under the direction of Ian Valz during the 1980s heyday of theater on the island. Gerard van Veen’s articles on social issues have appeared in the Newsday, Chronicle and The Daily Herald newspapers. His column “Church News Bits” has appeared in the Weekender supplement of The Daily Herald for almost 20 years. He is the author of St. Theresa’s San Nicolas; Savaneta, Antes y Awor; Religious Snapshots; Lambee & The Road that Couldn’t be Built; and Hakuna Matata & Other Travel Stories. Awards and honors include a Paul Harris Fellow and a Member in the Order of Oranje-Nassau. Van Veen’s newest book, Soualiga Catholica–St. Martin of Tours Parish (1841 – 2016), commemorates the 175th anniversary of the St. Martin of Tours Parish in the South or Dutch part of St. Martin (the island is also called Soualiga, reputedly an Amerindian name which means “Land of Salt”). The autobiographical Schoolboy in Wartime by Gerard van Veen is the senior St. Martin writer’s newest book—available at St. Martin Book Fair 2019 and SPDbooks.org. (houseofnehesipublish.com)
Yvonne Weekes is a writer of poetry, prose and drama. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Interviewing the Caribbean, Wadagabei, and Poui literary journals. Weekes is a recipient of the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Award for her memoir Volcano (2006). Her first play “Blue Soap” was published in the anthology Emancipation Moments (2010). Weekes was born in London, England, to Montserratian parents, and has taught English and Drama in London, Montserrat, and Barbados. On moving to Montserrat she formed the Rainbow Theatre Company and became the island’s first Director of Culture. In 1996, following the Soufrière Hills volcano eruption, Weekes moved to Barbados, where she taught theatre at the Barbados Community College and developed its Associate degree in Theatre Arts. With over 40 years of experience in the performing arts she has been a resource person for the Caribbean Examinations Council, developing syllabi and training teachers from across the region. Weekes received her PhD in education from The University of the West Indies – Cave Hill, where she lectures in theatre and arts education. The poetry collection Nomad, the newest book by Dr. Yvonne Weekes, is available at St. Martin Book Fair 2019 and SPDbooks.org. (houseofnehesipublish.com)