Middle Ground: PREE. Caribbean Writing

Middle Ground: PREE. Caribbean Writing in Berlin

The Middle Ground: PREE. Caribbean Writing will be hosted in Berlin, from August 25 – 27, 2023.

Middle Ground is a yearly series that invites literature festivals from around the world to Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) to explore literary and oraliture practices and networks. The project takes its name from Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe’s contemplation of the ‘middle ground’ as a position that is ‘aware of a future to head into and a past to fall back on; it is the home of doubt and indecision, of suspension of disbelief, of make-believe, of playfulness, of the unpredictable, of irony.’

The 2023 guest festival for Middle Ground: Interactions, Transactions, Reciprocities is PREE: Caribbean Writing, a literary festival and online platform based in Jamaica. Founded in 2018 and curated by Jamaican writer and editor Annie Paul, PREE explores Caribbean writing by engaging with and mapping the literary landscapes and praxis of different countries. ‘The Caribbean has always existed at a crossroad of one kind or another’, Paul wrote in the inaugural issue of PREE literary magazine. PREE’s undertakings to amplify Caribbean writing and shape discourse by engaging with and publishing contemporary writing from the Caribbean by both established and new voices, makes them a crucial partner with whom to explore and extend geographies of knowing. Writers and thinkers published by PREE explore art and politics, race and gender, technology and power, and more. Within the framework of Middle Ground, authors selected by PREE take part in performances, readings, lectures, panels, and facilitate seminars for writers.

Marlon James
Marlon James

Annie Paul offers an entry point to the Caribbean through her keynote speech which examines the politics and poetics of writing and publishing Caribbean literature, followed by a conversation with Marlon James. The question of languages is crucial when exploring Caribbean literatures; in the panel The Only Way to Find Your Voice is to Use It, Ingrid Persaud and Lafleur Cockburn explore how multiplicities of languages, creoles, and vernaculars subvert language hierarchies and create unapologetic voices. Vladimir Lucien and Rhea Ramjohn meanwhile use poetry to explore the correlation between the rhythm of lived experiences and memory in The Rhythm of Remembrance. The relationship between history, power, politics, and historical legacies is examined by Jennifer Richard and Cristina Bendek in Reimagining Temporalities while Kei Miller and Ada M. Patterson consider the possibilities that arise when we let the body dictate its own rhythm and politics. Sharmaine Lovegrove in conversation with Annie Paul discuss models of inclusivity in publishing and navigating constantly evolving languages, creoles and oraliteratures, and Isis Semaj-Hall curates and guides an open mic night exploring the importance of orality and migration in shaping identities, where dub music is understood as orality and the literary soundtrack of the evening.

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