Hosted by the Hemispheric Caribbean Studies program at University of Miami, October 4-6, 2018, the 37th annual West Indian Literature Conference, sponsored by PEN America, was a commemoration of Caribbean studies’ and history past. A key event of this year’s conference was a memorial performance of Zong! by M. NourbeSe Philip at Historic Virginia Key Beach, remembering the 150 Africans drowned in November 1781, by order of the captain of the slave ship Zong.
M. NourbeSe Philip is a poet, essayist, novelist and playwright who was born in Tobago and now lives in Toronto. She practiced law in Toronto for seven years before deciding to write fulltime. Philip has published four books of poetry, two novels, four collections of essays, and two plays. She was awarded a Pushcart Prize (1981), the Casa de las Americas Prize (Cuba, 1988), the Tradewinds Collective Prize (1988), and was made a Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry (1990). In 2015 Wesleyan published the first U.S. edition of She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Break—first published in Cuba as winner of the Casa de las Americas Prize.