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PRESS RELEASE – The Saint Lucia Writers’ Forum is pleased to present multiple award winning writer, Dr. Anderson Reynolds, as the featured writer for November’s edition of the Laureate’s Chair scheduled for 7PM Tuesday 24 November 2015.
The event which is the Forum’s way of celebrating the achievements of the Honorable Derek Walcott, honors St. Lucia’s elite poets and writers with an evening of literature at the Castries Central Library where the celebrated writer reads from their work, entertains questions from the audience, and reads some of their favorite pieces of Walcott’s work. Dr. Reynolds will be the second writer from Vieux Fort and the first non-poet to occupy the Laureate’s chair.
Anderson Reynolds was born and raised in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia. He holds a doctorate degree in food and resource economics from the University of Florida. After a twenty-year sojourn in North America, ten of which was spent attending college and another ten working in corporate America, he returned to St. Lucia to, as he said, enmesh in his culture.
Since his return, Dr. Reynolds has become one of the island’s most prominent and prolific writers. His first book, the novel Death by Fire, won the 2001 M&C main award for literature. His second book The Struggle For Survival: an historical, political and socioeconomic perspective of St. Lucia won a 2003 M&C Prize for prose.
And his third book (forthcoming), a novel titled The Stall Keeper, was the winner of the 2012 National Arts Award for prose. Besides writing books, Dr. Reynolds is a regular contributor of feature articles to the nation’s major newspapers. His newspaper articles won the 2001 M&C literature award for creative journalism, and his writings for the Jako Magazine won the 2006 National Arts Award for creative journalism.
Dr. Reynolds’ writings, be it fiction or nonfiction, have been described as a world in which a great drama unfolds, where history, geography, nature, culture, the supernatural, and socioeconomic factors all combine to seal the fate of individuals, communities, or for that matter the fate of a whole nation or civilization. In this crucible of a world, readers are provided with deep insights into where St. Lucians come from, who they are as a people, and how they became who they are.
Of Derek Walcott, Dr. Reynolds said that in 1991 he was in St. Louis, Missouri browsing a newspaper stand and came across the Caribbean: Travel and Life magazine with an article on Derek Walcott, stating that it was twice in a row that Mr. Walcott’s name had been mentioned in connection with nominations for the Nobel Prize and that it was inevitable he would win the prize. Amazingly, before this article, the author was only vaguely aware of Mr. Walcott as a poet and playwright, and was unaware that he was such a prominent writer.
After reading the article, Dr. Reynolds said he hastened to the bookstore and picked up a copy of Mr. Walcott’s Omeros, and he was in for a treat. Because, said the author, “ there was Walcott talking about me, about the place of my birth and upbringing, about the way I felt about my people and my country.”
He read Omeros twice, and since then he has bought and read most of Mr. Walcott’s plays and poems. The author said that in Walcott’s work he found many gems. It was there that for the first time he found out about the charboniers, it was there that he found out that shabine meant red nigger. From one line of one of Walcott’s poems, he was able to visualize the coal-loading operations of the charboniers, which, in Death by Fire, allowed him to write a whole passage describing the charboniers in action.
Given the revelations Mr. Walcott’s work has brought to the author’s consciousness, it is quite fitting that on Tuesday 24 November 2015 he will be joining such celebrated and iconic writers as Adrian Augier, Kendel Hippolyte, Sharon Trezelle, Modeste Downes, and Frank Gilkes as the sixth writer to sit in the Laureate’s Chair in celebration of the achievements of Derek Walcott.
The event which will be held at the Castries Central Library starts at 7PM and is free and open to the public.