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18th May, 2023

The Poet Laureate of Barbados, Esther Phillips, in conversation, with readings on slavery, migration and island life

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Event Details

18th May, 2023
18:00 - 20:00
Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre

English, Publishing & Creative Writing along with the Department of Journalism are thrilled to welcome Esther Phillips to City, on a visit to the UK, for a rare opportunity to hear her read from her poems.

Esther became Barbados’ first Poet Laureate in 2018 and in recent years has been a leading voice in arguing the Drax Hall Plantation should be handed over to the people of Barbados as a memorial for the enslaved people who died there.

Born in Barbados, where she still resides, Esther graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami in 1999. Her first full-length collection When Ground Doves Fly (Ian Randle Publishers) appeared in 2003. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, most recently Poetas de Caribe anglophono (Casa de las Americas, 2011) and Give the Ball to the Poet (Cambridge-Homerton, 2014).

Esther Phillips gained a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Miami in 1999, and won the Alfred Boas Poetry Prize of the Academy of American Poets for her poetry collection/thesis.

She taught Literatures in English for several years at the Barbados Community College as well as Foundation Courses at the University of the West Indies.

Her published works include Chapbook, La Montee (UWI); When Ground Doves Fly (Ian Randle Publishers); The Stone GathererLeaving Atlantis and Witness in Stone (Peepal Tree Press.) Her poetry is published in several anthologies, regionally and internationally, and her work was recorded by the Poetry Archive, 2015.

She is winner of the Frank Collymore Literary Award as well as the Governor General’s Award for Literary Excellence.

Esther Phillips is founder and director of Writers Ink Inc. as well as the Bim Literary Festival & Book Fair. She is Editor of the iconic BIM: Arts for the 21st Century and was producer of the CBC radio programme, What’s That You’re Reading? She also initiated the Bridgetown Literary Tour.

Esther Phillips served on the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment committee for several years as committee member, then as Chair from 2019-2021.

In March, 2018, Esther Phillips was appointed first Poet Laureate of Barbados. She is currently on a Visiting Fellowship at SOAS, University of London.

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