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Her True-True Name Celebration/Conference

A conference commemorating the publication of Her True-True Name with women writers from the Anglophone, Hispanophone, and Francophone Caribbean.

Event Information

February 18, 2021
10 am - 6 pm

Revisiting narratives for Her True-True Name

In 1989, Heinemann published, in its Caribbean Writers Series, the collection Her True-True Name, edited by Pamela Mordecai and Elizabeth (Betty) Wilson.  Vicky Unwin was the Heinemann series editor.  Mordecai and Wilson, from the Anglophone Caribbean, had a pan-Caribbean vision for the collection.  In the “Acknowledgements,” they credit Carmen C. Estevés, Rosario Ferré, Mark McCaffrey, Lisa Paravisini, and Diana Vélez for permission to use translations of Hispanophone works.  They credit their own translators, Fernanda Steele, Claudette Williams, and Karin Wilson, for helping to make it possible to work across language groups.  They also credit Annette Insanally, Mervyn Morris, and Joseph Pereira at the University of the West Indies, Mona, and Susan Homar and Emily Krasinski of the University of Puerto Rico for their help identifying and locating Cuban and Puerto Rican excerpts for the collection.
As we think about interrogations of Caribbean identity today, it is instructive to revisit comments made by the editors thirty years ago, when they considered the difficulties of working across language groups, but thought “it was vital” that “our sisters from the non-English-speaking Caribbean should be represented.”
One major aim of the collection was to introduce the voices of women writers to a wider readership.  In that 1989 collection, the editors noted, “Despite the fact that it is an important and not insubstantial body of literature, until quite recently Caribbean women’s writing has received little attention from readers, critics and scholars alike.”
The collection, now out of print, includes excerpts from the work of several Caribbean women writers, living at home in the Caribbean and in various parts of the Caribbean diaspora.  It helped bring to public and scholarly attention the work of a wide range of writers.  


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Pamela Mordecai and Betty Wilson (editors of Her True-True Name)
Brief readings by creative writers:  Dionne Brand, Erna Brodber, Christine Craig, Merle Hodge, Grace Nichols, Velma Pollard,
​Olive Senior, Janice Lowe  Shinebourne

Presentations by
Mary Ann Gosser-Esquilín: Spanish-Caribbean writers in Her True-True Name (Omega Agüero, Mirta Yáñez,  Hilma Contreras, Rosario Ferré, Magali García Ramis, Carmen Lugo Filippi,and   Ana Lydia Vega, Mirta Yáñez)

Anthea Morrison: French-Caribbean writers in the collection (Maryse Condé, Marie Vieux Chauvet, Simone Schwarz-Bart, Myriam Warner-Vieyra)

Katherine McKittrick: Sylvia Wynter  

Remembering contributors who have left us: Omega Agüero, Michelle Cliff, Hilma Contreras,  Zee Edgell, Rosario Ferré, Beryl Gilroy, Rosa Guy, Paule Marshall, Marion Patrick-Jones, Myriam Warner-Vieyra.


10:00 – 10:05 AM (EST)
Welcome and Context: Merle Collins (on behalf of LASC, CLCS, OIA)

10:05 – 10:30 AM (EST)
Editor:  Elizabeth (Betty) Wilson, Retired Faculty, University of the West Indies (UWI)
Publisher: Heinemann African and Caribbean Writers Series, (Vicky Unwin - 1984-1993).
Interlocutor: Merle Collins, University of Maryland

10:30 – 10:40 AM (EST)
Messages from Francophone Caribbean writers​
Valerie Orlando, Professor, French and Francophone literatures, University of Maryland, reads messages.

10:40 – 10:50 AM (EST)    Dionne Brand (Trinidad & Tobago)
10:50 – 11:00 AM (EST)    Christine Craig (Jamaica)
11:00 – 11:10 AM (EST)    Grace Nichols (Guyana)
11:10 – 11:20 AM (EST)    Olive Senior (Jamaica)
11:20 – 11:25 AM (EST)     Lisa Paravisini-Gebert reads message from Ana Lydia Vega (Puerto Rico)

12:30 – 1:00 PM (EST)
Spanish Caribbean Writers in the Collection
Mary Ann Gosser-Esquilín, Professor, Florida Atlantic University:
Spanish-Caribbean writers in the collection are: (Omega Agüero - (Cuba) 1940 -2005; Mirta Yáñez (Cuba); Hilma Contreras (Dominican Republic) 1913-2006; Rosario Ferré (Puerto Rico) 1938-2016; ; Magali García Ramis (Puerto Rico); Carmen Lugo Filippi (Puerto Rico); and Ana Lydia Vega (Puerto Rico)
1:00 – 1:15 PM (EST)  Discussion/Q&A
 Moderator: Lisa Carney - Post Doctoral Associate - Latin American Studies Center

1:20 – 1:30 PM (EST)  Erna Brodber (Jamaica)  
1:30 – 1:40 PM (EST)  Janice Shinebourne (Guyana)
1:40 – 1:50 PM (EST)  Merle Hodge (Trinidad & Tobago)
1:50 – 2:00 PM (EST)  Velma Pollard (Jamaica)
2:00 – 2:10 PM (EST)  Lissette Escariz Ferrá, LASC graduate, PhD Student, English, University of Pittsburgh reads messages from Magali García Ramis (Puerto Rico), Carmen Lugo Filippi (Puerto Rico) and Mirta Yáñez.

2:15 –  2:45 PM (EST)
Francophone Caribbean Writers in the Collection ​
Anthea Morrison: Retired Faculty, University of the West Indies: Francophone writers in the collection are: Marie Vieux Chauvet (Haiti); (Maryse Condé, Simone Schwarz-Bart (Guadeloupe) 1916-1973 and Myriam Warner-Vieyra (Guadeloupe): 1939-2017
2:45 –  3:00 PM (EST)  Discussion/Q&A
Moderator: Keisha Allan  - Ph.D. Student - Comparative Literature / and Latin American Studies Center

3:10 – 3:40 PM (EST)  
​Katherine McKittrick, Professor, Queens  University, speaks about Sylvia Wynter
3:40 – 4:00 PM (EST)     Discussion/Q&A
Moderator: Chad Infante - Assistant Professor -English Department

4:00 – 4:35 PM (EST)   Betty Wilson:  A presentation about Anglophone writers who have passed (Pre-publication: Jean Rhys (Dominica): 1890-1979
Phyllis Shand Allfrey (Dominica): 1908-1986. Post-publication: Zee Edgell (Belize): 1940-2020), Beryl Gilroy (Guyana): 1924-2001, Rosa Guy (Trinidad & Tobago): 1922-2012 , Michelle Cliff (Jamaica): 1946-2016, Marion Patrick-Jones (Trinidad & Tobago): 1931-2016, Paule Marshall(Barbados) :1929-2019
​4:35 – 4:50 PM (EST)     Discussion/Q&A  
Moderator: Merle Collins - Director Latin American Studies Center and Professor - English Department
4:50 – 5:00 PM (EST)  Thank you


Sponsored by the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies, the Latin American Studies Center, Global Classrooms, and Office of International Affairs.

Organizers & Planning Committee

Merle Collins, Director of LASC, Department of English Professor

Eric Tomalá, Assistant Director LASC

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