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September 26, 2003

Smith to Host Readings By Caribbean Women Authors in October

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Smith College will host a Caribbean women writers series, titled "Voices from Hispaniola: Haiti and the Dominican Republican," from Oct. 15 to 22. The readings, which are sponsored by the feminist scholarly journal Meridians and the Ford Foundation, are free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible.

The authors featured in the series are Edwidge Danticat who will give the first reading at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15, in Neilson Library Browsing Room; Loida Maritza Pérez and Myriam J. A. Chancy who will read at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, in Neilson Library Browsing Room; and Nelly Rosario, who will read at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, in Seelye 201.

In 1995 at the age of 26, Edwidge Danticat became a finalist for the National Book Award for her book "Krik? Krak!" Drawing on her experiences as a Haitian-American, she writes of one of the most under-represented cultures in American literature using a style that is both poetic and passionate. Having also received the 1995 Pushcart Short Story Prize and fiction awards from The Caribbean Writer, Seventeen, and Essence magazines, she is now widely considered to be one of the most talented young authors in the United States.

Loida Maritza Pérez was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. She attended Cornell University and currently teaches creative writing in New Mexico. Her book "Geographies of Home" explores how immigrants struggle to adapt in a new country. Pérez began this novel as an undergraduate at Cornell in an autobiographical writing course then taught by the prominent scholar of Afro-American studies Henry Louis Gates. She is the winner of several fellowships, including the 1994 Ragdale Foundation's U.S.-Africa Writers Project and a 1992 New York Foundation for the Arts grant for writing.

Myriam J. A. Chancy, who is the senior editor of Meridians, is a writer and scholar born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised subsequently in the Canadian cities of Quebec City and Winnipeg. She obtained her bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Manitoba, her master's degree in English literature from Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and her doctorate in English from the University of Iowa. The author of two books of literary criticism and numerous works of poetry, short fiction and memoir, she has won the Oustanding Book Award from Choice and her work has appeared in numerous international venues. A forthcoming novel, titled "Spirit of Haiti," will be published by London's Mango Press.

Nelly Rosario was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. She earned a master's of fine arts degree in fiction from Columbia University and has received numerous awards, including two National Arts Club Writing Fellowships and the 1997 Hurston/Wright Award in Fiction. Rosario's work is published in several anthologies and journals, and her novel "Song of the Water Saints" (Pantheon Books, 2002) was the winner of the PEN Open Book Award. In 2001, the Village Voice Literary Supplement named Rosario one of seven "Writers on the Verge." Rosario is currently an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn and is working on her second novel.

Meridians is a feminist, interdisciplinary journal whose goal is to provide a forum for the finest scholarship and creative work by and about women of color in the United States and in international contexts. The journal is a collaborative venture of Smith College and Wesleyan University and is published twice a year by Indiana University Press. Meridians is supported, in part, by a grant from the Ford Foundation.

For more information on the Caribbean Women Writers Series or Meridians, call (413) 585-3388 or visit


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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