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UWI Open Campus hosts 3rd Annual Patricia Ismond Literary Workshop

By The University of the West Indies Open Campus Saint Lucia

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Dr Patricia Ismond

(PRESS RELEASE) — The UWI Open Campus Saint Lucia will bring the curtain down on Nobel Laureate Festival celebrations, by hosting the 3rd Annual Patricia Ismond Literary Workshop on Thursday, March 14, 2019.

The event will take the form of an intensive examination preparation workshop for all students across the island, currently preparing for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) Literatures in English.

The workshop is dedicated to the memory of Saint Lucian literary icon and long-serving UWI Professor of Literature, Dr Patricia Ismond, in whose name a posthumous scholarship for Saint Lucian students studying literature at UWI has also been established.

To date, three students have been the recipients of the scholarship generously provided by her sister, Ms Hester Ismond. Her Excellency, Dame Pearlette Louisy, chair of the Nobel Laureate Festival Committee, as well as Ms Hester Ismond, are expected to address the students prior to the start of the event.

Cheque handover — Dr Pat Ismond Scholarship

Facilitating the workshop will be Saint Lucia-born Dr Antonia MacDonald, a former SALCC lecturer and current Professor of English Literature and Associate Dean in the School of Arts and Sciences, St. Georges University.

Committed to empowering through education, Dr MacDonald has been active in the development of academic programs that offer quality instruction and respond to local, regional, and international educational needs.

She is currently working on the development of postgraduate programs that, through interdisciplinary initiatives with other regional and international universities, will increase educational opportunities in the Eastern Caribbean. She has also written extensively on the literatures of Caribbean women.

The workshop takes place at The UWI Open Campus Saint Lucia Site on Morne Fortune, on Thursday, March 14, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00p.m.

About Dr Patricia Ismond

Dr. Ismond was born on December 21st 1944, in Micoud, Saint Lucia, to Elise Ismond and Ceasar Cooper. After her primary school years, she attended the St. Joseph‘s Convent and would later teach there before proceeding on an Island Scholarship to The University of the West Indies from which she graduated with honours in 1968. It was there that she developed her now legendary passion for Literature and the Arts.

She returned to Saint Lucia in 1968 to teach for a year before returning to UWI Mona in 1969 to pursue a Master’s degree on a UWI Postgraduate Scholarship. It wasn’t long before she received the 1970 Commonwealth Scholarship which enabled her to travel to the United Kingdom, where she studied for her PhD at the University of Kent at Canterbury. Her doctoral thesis was entitled, “Derek Walcott: The Development of Rooted Vision (Poetry and Drama).” It was completed in 1974.

Dr. Ismond would once again join The University of the West Indies, this time at its St. Augustine campus as an Assistant Lecturer in 1973. In 1975, she became a Lecturer in English on that campus. She spent thirty faithful years with The UWI during which she headed the Department of English. During her tenure as Head of Department, and with her drive and resolve, the centre for Creative and Festival Arts was established in 1986. It has now become the main training centre for aspiring creative artists from Saint Lucia and the Eastern Caribbean.

In 1983, Dr. Ismond obtained a Fullbright-Laspau fellowship, where she was attached to the Drama Department of Carnegie – Mellon University in the United States. She became Senior Lecturer in English at UWI in 1988, and was visiting Associate Professor of English at Stanford University from 1988 to1989.

Dr. Ismond published widely and often, many articles and papers on Caribbean Literature, especially on her beloved Saint Lucian poet Derek Walcott. In 2001, her work was crowned with the publication by The UWI Press of her book entitled “Abandoning Dead Metaphors: The Caribbean Phase of Derek Walcott’s poetry.” Widely regarded as a leading authority on the work of Derek Walcott, her book is recognized as a seminal study of the work of our second Nobel Laureate.

Sadly, Dr. Patricia Ismond died on June 27th , 2006 after a hard fought battle with multiple myeloma. Subsequently, in recognition of her love and dedication to The UWI and her country,Saint Lucia, Professor Ismond’s entire collection of work produced over several decades, as well as her personal library, was donated by her sister Hester, to The UWI Open Campus Saint Lucia in 2009.

Three years later, The UWI Open Campus Saint Lucia was privileged to host a gathering of friends to witness the handing over of a fifty thousand dollar donation ($EC50, 000.00) to then Vice Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris, on behalf of the deceased Professor Ismond. The cheque, which was presented by her sister Hester, was used to create The Patricia Ismond Scholarship Fund – a revolving scholarship for St. Lucian students wishing to pursue Literature/Literary Studies at The University of the West Indies. The scholarship fund which matured in 2014 has to date funded three students of The UWI Open Campus.

Patricia Ismond’s entire collection of over one thousand (1000) books and nineteen boxes of notes and other writings is currently held in the Special Collections section of The UWI Campus Saint Lucia Library and is available upon request to students; in particular, those focusing on the work of Derek Walcott.

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