By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
ENCOURAGING students and the nation to view writing as an art and profession is one of a number of reasons behind a lecturer’s founding of a writing workshop.
Dr Mayuri Deka, coordinator of the Bachelor’s degree in English at the College of The Bahamas, spoke to The Tribune yesterday about the inaugural Written Word Series meant to support the soon-to-be university’s initiative to create citizens who can actively engage and pro-socially transform the nation.
“The Written Word Series (WWS) is designed to encourage students to explore their craft and receive instruction from internationally known writers in fiction, poetry, non-fiction, technical, and other genres of writing,” the founder said.
“The main interest of WWS is to nurture imagination and writers who are able to effectively express their ideas and transform the nation through their words. And it is also important to note the goal of bringing the community together by engaging writers in the Bahamas to participate in a few of the events that were organised into multiple workshops and lecture/talk format.”
The three-day project, which begins on Thursday, in the auditorium of the Harry C Moore Library, will feature a Student Workshop at 2pm on Thursday and a Community Workshop at 6pm on Friday.
The workshop will address a number of critical issues, said Dr Deka.
“The first is that there are few spaces for receiving instruction in writing within the community. The workshop is geared toward meeting the specific needs of the COB student body by bringing in authors writing in varied genres such as historical narrative, business writing, playwriting etc.”
The lecturer further noted that there has seldom been a sustained formal workshop space that aims to identify and support the talent in the COB student body and the community and “the WWS will encourage students to view writing as an art and profession”.
The workshop is also designed to promote writers to think critically about their art and formulate a theory based in the Bahamian context because “while many authors are writing from and in the culture, there are very few platforms to actively engage at a national and international stage about the art of Bahamian writing”.
Dr Deka said the workshop supports the writing courses being offered by COB’s The School of English Studies through its “added and alternative instruction in different genres of writing”.
“And most importantly, WWS is an enterprise to encourage critical reading and writing skills in the student and communal body. This supports The College of the Bahamas initiative to create citizens who can actively engage and pro-socially transform the nation.”
The featured author for the first WWS is award winning author Robert Antoni who also will be giving a lecture about his new literary venture into e-books.
Mr Antoni is Bahamian-Trinidadian and the author of five books: Divina Trace, Blessed is the Fruit, My Grandmother’s Erotic Folktales, and Carnival As Flies to the Whatless Boys.
His books have been widely translated and have been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, Commonwealth Writers Prize, and an NEA grant.
Antoni holds an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD from the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.
He currently lives in Manhattan, New York and teaches in the graduate writing programme at The New School University.
Dr Deka thanked the Bahamas Writer’s Institute and the Critical Caribbean Symposium Series for helping to promote the event and encouraged the students, community, and media professionals to support the event.