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Call For Submissions for Event "Blues Writing: Jean-Claude Charles and Modern Caribbean Literature"

15 July 2017

Blues Writing: Jean-Claude Charles and Modern Caribbean Literature

 22-24 March 2018, Winthrop-King Institute, Florida State University

This event brings together leading international authors, artists, and scholars in a celebration of the work of one of Haiti’s most talented and yet least read or understood writers. Through an innovative combination of workshops, performances, and readings we will assess the legacies of this singular figure in Caribbean writing. It is our conviction that the novels, poetry, and essays of Jean-Claude Charles are of primary importance to any understanding of modern Caribbean literature.

Born in 1949 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jean-Claude Charles left his country at the age of 21, first for Mexico, then the United States, Chicago and New York, where began what he termed his “enracinerrance,” his life as a “nomade aux pieds poudrés” and a “nègre errant .” He then lived in France, where he studied, and worked as a journalist for publications including Le Monde. A poet, novelist, screenwriter, director, and radio producer, he described himself as an “homme de nulle part,” a man from nowhere.

Since 2015, the Winthrop-King Institute has been collaborating with Rodney Saint-Éloi and Mémoire d’encrier in the republication of Jean-Claude Charles’ entire oeuvre.

We are not issuing a conventional call for papers, and are looking to build a program of interactive activities between the authors and attendees, including students, scholars, and readers, with the aim of creating new synergies and imagining new forms, actions, and collaborative ways of working. In this regard, we aim to incorporate non-literary forms, such as dance, painting, theatre, music, and digital formats. The major themes and discussion points will be announced in due course, and participants will be invited to prepare short interventions around these themes. If you are interested in attending the event please indicate so by 15 July 2017 at the following address:


Louis-Philippe Dalembert
Edwidge Danticat
Michaël Ferrier
Fabienne Kanor
Dany Laferrière
Yanick Lahens
Alain Mabanckou
James Noël
Makenzy Orcel

“Jean-Claude Charles is without doubt a true, great novelist.” — Marguerite Duras

“Jean-Claude Charles is by far the most brilliant writer of his generation.” — Dany Laferrière

“Subtle, talented, but also incurably scarred by displacement, exile, and wandering.”— Yanick Lahens

“Sensitive, elegant, and brilliant in his way of being and writing.“— Lucienne Serrano

“I was very impressed by his writing. It evokes the great American novelists…quite different to what is being written in France at the moment.” — Gilles Perrault

“Jean-Claude Charles is one of Haiti’s greatest writers.”— Alain Mabanckou

Steering committee: Martin Munro, Rodney Saint-Éloi, Yanick Lahens, Edwidge Danticat, Dany Laferrière, Eliana Vagalau, Elvire Duvelle-Charles, Alioune Sow.


Administration : Racha Sattati, Rachelle Saint-Jean