News Releases

UWI hosts 9th Caribbean Creative Writers’ Residential Workshop

For Release Upon Receipt - June 17, 2016

St. Augustine

The Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA) at The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine, in partnership with The Cropper Foundation, is hosting the 9th Caribbean Creative Writers’ Residential Workshop under the theme, Beyond Expectations. The three-week workshop will take place at a secluded area in Balandra from June 26 to July 17, and will focus on fiction, playwriting and poetry.

Participants will engage with published authors and professionals from the publishing industry, as well as speakers from a variety of other disciplines including History, Culture and Political Science. In the final week, participants will share their works in progress with members of the Balandra community in addition to other public showcases such as radio and press interviews. From a pool of approximately 30 applicants, eleven writers who have not as yet published a novel or collection of short stories, poems or plays were chosen from across the Caribbean to join this year’s residential workshop including persons from Dominica, Bahamas and all over Trinidad.

The moderators will be novelist Dr Merle Hodge, former Senior Lecturer, Department of Liberal Arts and author of Crick, Crack Monkey and For the Life of Laetitia Professor Emeritus of Literatures in English, Funso Aiyejina, winner of the 2000 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa) for The Legend of the Rockhills and Other Stories. The workshops are a part of The Cropper Foundation's effort to encourage new Caribbean literary voices by providing practical advice on the craft of writing.  According to former Board Member of the Cropper Foundation, the late Prof. Norman Girvan,  “There is no numerical measure, no monetary value that can be put on the contribution of creative writers to our understanding of our society and of ourselves, of who or what we are, to our very sense of self…”

Previous residential workshops have helped to produce a cadre of writers who in some cases have gone on to win international, Caribbean and national awards such as  Barbara Jenkins who was awarded the Guyana Prize for Literature Best Book of Fiction for her book, Sic Transit Wagon in 2015 and US Virgin Islands native Tiphanie Yanique was awarded the 2016 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature in the poetry category for her book, Wife, her debut novel, the Land of Love and Drowning won the 2014 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.  Coordinator and former head of DCFA, Dr. Dani Lyndersay sums up the Cropper experience as “almost immeasurable, as most people in the arts in the Caribbean also hold down full-time, bill-paying jobs. With the opportunity to participate, aspiring writing talents of the region now have the time, space and support by being encouraged and nurtured…”



About the Cropper Foundation

The Cropper Foundation is a not-for-profit philanthropic organisation committed to Caribbean development across a range of disciplines and sectors. A family foundation of modest resources, the Foundation seeks to catalyse activities in its various programmes by bringing together other like-minded individuals and organizations to work towards common objectives that contribute to the public good. Through its support for Caribbean Writers programme, The Cropper Foundation seeks to contribute to the literature of the region by creating opportunities for instruction, appraisal and intellectual debate for aspiring writers. Undertaken in partnership with the Department for Creative and Festival Arts, UWI, a series of workshops have given emerging writers the benefit of the guidance of established writers and scholars like Merle Hodge, Funso Aiyejina, Rachel Manley, Earl Lovelace, and Ken Ramchand.


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)