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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Mar. 23, 2021: Two Caribbean-born immigrant writers in Canada are among the winners of this year’s Windham-Campbell Prize, an anonymously judged literary award worth US $165,000.

Trinidad-born Canadian Dionne Brand and St. Lucia-born Canadian Canisia Lubrin are among the eight writers from around the world to win the honor.

Brand, The Toronto poet laureate, won for her work in fiction. “With genre-bending explorations of narrative form, Dionne Brand honors the complexities of diasporic experience, gracefully bringing to life the fundamental relationship between politics, aesthetics, and love,” the Windham-Campbell Prize statement reads.

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She has in the past won the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry and the Trillium Book Award for her 1997 collection Land to Light On. Brand was also the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize for Ossuaries and in 2017 and was named to the Order of Canada. She was also the recipient of the 2019 Blue Metropolis Violet Literary Prize. Brand was born in Guayaguayare, Trinidad and moved to Toronto in 1970.

“This is an astonishing surprise. It will take me weeks, maybe months to find the best words to describe my amazement,” she commented on the win. “For now, let me say, wondrous.”

Lubrin was recognized in the poetry category. “Bursting beyond the confines of legibility and the individual, Canisia Lubrin summons up oceans, languages, and the self, the other, and the first-person plural, into a generous baroque project of anti-colonial plenitude,” the Windham-Campbell Prize statement noted.

Lubrin is the author of two critically acclaimed collections of poetry: Voodoo Hypothesis (2017) and The Dyzgraphxst (2020). Voodoo Hypothesis, a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award (2018), is a wildly ambitious work of speculative poetics, brilliantly combining physics, philosophy, and pop culture. The book investigates, with a steady eye and deep moral seriousness, state-sanctioned violence against Black individuals and cultures – all while remaining rooted in a vision of Black diasporic aesthetics and imagination. The Dyzgraphxst continues Lubrin’s exploration of Black history and Black futurities.

“It is impossible to express what this extraordinary encouragement means, what being in such company during such a catastrophic time, will make possible,” she commented on the award. “This invitation to trust even more deeply, the potential of the not-yet-written is transformative; and thanks to the Windham-Campbell Prize, I will face the world and these alphabets tomorrow and the day after with renewed vigor.”

Established in 2013 and administered by Yale University, the prize annually honors a selection of fiction, nonfiction, drama and poetry writers who have been nominated in secret. The prize is given to support their writing.

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