October 30, 2008
Renowned Caribbean authors Dr. Merle Collins and Beverly
Anderson-Manley spoke at St. John’s University on Tuesday at an
event titled: “Revolution and Remembrance: Conversations on Gender
Politics and Social Reform.” The two participated in a
dialogue on the Manhattan campus in the morning and then traveled
to Queens for a reception and conversation in the Mattone Atrium in
the School of Law.
As part of the Caribbean Cultural Theatre’s 2008 Caribbean Stage
and Screen Series, Collins and Anderson-Manley visited the two
campuses to speak with students, faculty, administrators and staff
and shared the background stories that have served as the
inspiration for their literary works.
After opening remarks by Dr. Tony Bonaparte, Special Assistant
to the President, and an introduction by Alina Camacho-Gingerich,
Ph.D, Professor and Chair of the Committee for Latin American and
Caribbean Studies at St. John’s University, Collins read from her
works Rotten Pomerack and Lady in a Boat.
Her poetry examined the transition of an old, colonial Grenada to a
country excited by a revolutionary change and ultimately upset by
internal conflicts of a government that failed on its promised
Anderson-Manley, a former First Lady of Jamaica, read from her
autobiography The Manley Memoirs. She explained that
the theme of her autobiography was that of “a woman who had this
overwhelming concern for justice and equality, wanting to use her
position to lift people up.”
The women shared their influential stories of how their
upbringing in the Caribbean shaped their lives and helped lead to
personal and professional success. Following the readings,
the audience participated in a question and answer forum with the
two writers, who were more than happy to take the time to answer
each question. Collins and Anderson-Manley dispensed their
message of hope and the need for people to stop being so fragmented
and afraid of each other.
The event was sponsored by: The President’s Multicultural
Advisory Committee, the Office of the Provost, Division of Student
Affairs, Committee for Latin American and Caribbean Studies,
Caribbean Students Association, Haraya, The Pan-African Students
Coalition, Student Government, Inc., and The Haitian Society.
In partnership with: Caribbean Cultural Theatre.