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2024 Writers & Filmmakers

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Isabella Bair

Award-Winning Screenwriter and Director

Featured Film: "Yellow Girl and Me"

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Isabella Issa was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, where she developed a curiosity for the relationship between human beings and their surroundings. She received her MFA in Directing from The American Film Institute. Her short film "Yellow Girl and Me" was included in the BAFTA Shortlist, won awards at Oscar-qualifying festivals and secured distribution with UMC and AMC networks. Her feature screenplay "Yellow Girl and Me" was a Quarterfinalist for the 2021 Academy Nicholl Fellowship. Having written both book-to-film adaptations and original screenplays, she also served as a staff writer for a TV series.

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Andrene Bonner

Award-Winning Author and Poet

Featured Book: "Woman In The Wind"

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Author Website: andrenebonner.com

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Andrene Bonner is an educator, playwright, praise poet, and award-winning author of a literacy fiction series, five non-fiction books about student resilience, full-length cultural dramas on African American and Caribbean history, and a book of poetry. She is the founder of Literacy Gateway Institute (LGI) where she creates curricula, wellness tools, and a Parent Co-Teaching Model. She is a member of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG), and serves on the governing board of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars (ACWWS).

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Sharon Corinthian

Poet

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Sharon Corinthian is a Jamaican woman who migrated to the US at the age of eight. Now residing in Boca Raton, Florida she’s a mother, a poet, an aspiring writing, blogger and an entrepreneur. Being an immigrant child with a heavy accent, she was picked on and made fun of by her peers. This left a lasting impression on her, causing her to realize the power of words. Often feeling lost and out of place she spent her days dissecting words and their effect on people.

Her years spent on the island of Jamaica gleamed memories that inspired the conception of her first poem, “The Cradle of Joy.” She then realized that she had a gift for word play. Over the years she has used her words to capture her thoughts and the thoughts of others in a positive way—turning her tragedies into triumph. She aspires to use her gift to encourage, uplift and inspire others.

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Dr. Natalie Corthésy

Award-Winning Poet

Featured Book: "White Rum and Coconut Water"

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Author Website: skyjuicebooklaunch.com

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Dr Natalie Corthésy is a Jamaican poet and the 2020 Winner of The Caribbean Writer’s Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize for a new or emerging writer for The Helper Experiment published in The Caribbean Writer Volume 34 under the theme, Dignity, Power and Place in the Caribbean Space. Her short story Paradise Plum made the 2023 Longlist of the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival Award for Writers in the Caribbean. Natalie has authored three anthology’s Fried Green Plantains (2017), Sky Juice (2021) and White Rum and Coconut Water [2023). Her work has also been published in the Daily Gleaner, The Carimac Times, We Are Goodenough Magazine, Interviewing the Caribbean and The Caribbean Writer. She is a Calabash International Literary Festival Poetry Workshop fellow and a contributor to the anthology: So Much Things to Say 100 Poets from the First Ten Years of the Calabash International Literary Festival, edited by Kwame Dawes and Colin Channer, Akashic Books, (2010). Natalie lives and works in Kingston as a Senior Lecturer at The University of the West Indies, Mona.

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Kaleb D'Aguilar

Award-Winning Screenwriter and Director

Featured Film: "No Entry"

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Website: kalebdaguilar.com

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Kaleb D’Aguilar is an award-winning screenwriter and director who resides between London and Jamaica. He is a Commonwealth Shorts: Caribbean Voices (2021) recipient, who holds an MA in Directing from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a BSc. in Anthropology from the University of the West Indies. His poetry and prose work have been published in numerous collections, including PREE and the National Library of Jamaica’s ‘New Voices’ while his narrative film and video work have been showcased at the National Gallery of Jamaica as well as regional and international film festivals. His work explores reoccurring themes of Blackness, Caribbeanness, gender, sexuality, migration, familiar bonds, and the intersectional identities found between these margins.

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Norma Jennings

Award-Winning Author

Featured Book: "The Irish Connection"

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Author Website: normajennings.com

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Norma Jennings has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, completed the Management Development Course at Harvard Graduate School, and has worked as corporate executive in the US and Jamaica. She lives in Florida and often visits her grandmother’s old sugarcane plantation, Twickenham, in Clarendon, Jamaica. Jennings has presented at large events as an executive, at writers’ conferences, at author events hosted by the Jamaican Consul General, and as commencement speaker at her Alma Mater in Texas. Jennings has published three novels, Daughter of the Caribbean, Passenger from Greece and The Irish Connection. She launches her fourth novel, Marooned, in 2025.

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Lynda R. Edwards

Author

Featured Book: "Friendship Estate"

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Author Website: lyndaredwards.com

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Lynda Edwards was born in Jamaica, coming of age during a turbulent time in the island’s history. Like most Caribbean people, she is a born storyteller inspired by her unconventional family, the incongruity of her upbringing, and the island itself. Her debut novel, Redemption Songs, was born from a nightmare. After waking her husband and describing the terrifying dream to him, he advised her to write it down, then rolled over and went back to sleep.  His advice resulted in her first fictional novel and him getting some well-deserved rest. In her second novel, Friendship Estate, the legacy of bitterness and resentment that poisoned the politics of future generations is rewritten. By showing us what might have been, her critically acclaimed novel points the way to what might still be, by transporting us to a world with renewed faith in the possibilities that lie ahead.

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Danae Grandison

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Featured Film: "Unspoken"

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Website: danaegrandison.com

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Jamaican-born, Brooklyn based independent filmmaker, Danae Grandison, is an award-winning writer / director with experience in narrative, commercial and short form content. Grandison participated in the AICP’s Over 40 Mentorship Program (2021-22), selected SHOOT 2020 New Directors showcase, was a screenplay finalist in the Anchorage International Film Festival (2020), and was a part of the inaugural Australian International Screen Forum’s Women in Screen workshop (2019). Danae’s work explores themes of human empathy while masterfully encouraging critical dialogue on how we can understand our narratives and those told in society.

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Hanif James

Award-Winning Film Director

Featured Film: "A Shade of Indigo"

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Website: haveabawl.com

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Hanif James is a director, photographer, writer and Junior Architect. His creative works explore identity with a focus on visual expressions that capture the strength of the human spirit. He came to directing while studying at the Caribbean School of Architecture (University of Technology). His photographic works have been exhibited at the National Gallery of Jamaica and he has participated in the British Council's Film Lab as a Script Editor. He holds qualifications in Film Production and Architectural Studies and recently completed a Masters in Architecture through a CB Facey Foundation (2022) scholarship. "A Shade of Indigo" is his first film, which he worked on along with film producer, Tanya Batson-Savage.

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Canute Lawrence

Best Selling Poet

Featured Book: "Pathology of a Pandemic"

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Canute is a language and literature teacher for more than three decades spanning Jamaica, the USA, and Canada. He's also a thespian who has appeared in theatre productions in Kingston, New York City, Miami, London, Montreal, and Toronto. Canute performed in several LTM National Pantomimes in Jamaica, other Jamaican stage productions as well as being a regular voice in radio commercials and radio dramas. Canute has also directed several successful plays in Toronto.

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Dale Mahfood

Author and Poet

Featured Book: "When Trees Fall"

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Author Website: dalemahfood.com

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Dale Mahfood was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to parents whose roots run deep into the island’s past. He has lived in London, England, and up and down the US Eastern Seaboard from New England to Florida, where he graduated from Florida International University with a master’s degree in English Education. He is currently an English instructor for both Broward County Schools and Florida International University. Dale writes poetry, song lyrics, short stories, and novels, and is particularly interested in writing about diverse peoples and places.

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Kei Miller

Award Winning Author, Poet, and Essayist

Featured Book: "The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion"

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Kei Miller, born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1978, is a distinguished essayist, poet, and fiction author renowned for his versatile contributions in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. With 11 acclaimed works to his name, he earned the Forward Prize for Poetry in 2014 for "The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way To Zion" and secured the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature with his novel "Augustown." Miller's literary journey encompasses the exploration of identity and knowledge, seamlessly moving between creative writing and literary scholarship. As an English Professor at the University of Miami, he delves into themes that resonate with contemporary conversations. His collection of essays, "Things I Have Withheld," stands as a testament to his dedication to addressing the silences around race, sex, and gender. Acknowledged with prestigious awards like the Silver Musgrave medal and the Anthony Sabga medal for Arts & Letters, Kei Miller continues to make a profound impact on Caribbean literature.

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Geoffrey Philp

Award-Winning Poet and Author

Featured Book: "Archipelagos"

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Author Website: geoffreyphilp.com

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​Geoffrey Philp, a Silver Musgrave Medal recipient, is the author of Archipelagos, a book of poems about climate change which was long-listed for the Laurel Prize. Philp’s poem, “A Prayer for My Children,” is featured on The Poetry Rail--an homage to 12 writers who shaped Miami's culture. He lives in Miami and is working on a children's book, "My Name is Marcus."
 

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Anabella Seaga-Mian

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Andrew Seaga

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Mitsy Seaga-Mian

Reading and discussing the Most Honourable Edward Seaga's biography, Edward Seaga My Life and Leadership Vol. 1: 1930-1980

Born in 1930, Edward Seaga, a distinguished Harvard alum, profoundly shaped Jamaica's cultural and political landscape. His academic journey culminated at Harvard University in 1952, after which he returned to Jamaica, dedicating himself to cultural anthropology. Seaga's passion for Jamaican folk music led him to champion Revival leader Kapo and establish the West Indies Record Limited (WIRL) label, later sold to Byron Lee.

Venturing into politics in 1959, Seaga left an enduring legacy. He spearheaded cultural initiatives, founding Jamaica Festival, Things Jamaican, and the UNESCO Culture Bank. His influence extended globally, promoting Jamaican Ska on the international stage. Through his leadership, he created lasting institutions like the National Dance Theater Co. (NDTC), National Heroes Park, and Marcus Garvey's recognition as Jamaica's first National Hero.

Serving as Jamaica's prime minister from 1980-1989, Seaga held the longest continuous service by any elected representative in the Caribbean region. His vision transcended politics, leaving an indelible mark on Jamaica's cultural identity, heritage preservation, and international influence. Edward Seaga's multifaceted contributions endure, solidifying his place as a transformative figure in the rich tapestry of Caribbean history.

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Malachi Smith

Award-Winning Poet

Featured Book: "The Gathering"

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Author Website: malachismith.com

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Malachi is a fellow of the University of Miami’s Mitchner Caribbean Writers Institute where he studied poetry under Lorna Goodison and playwriting under Fred D’Aguiar. Malachi is a founding member of Poets in Unity and The Poetry Society of Jamaica. Malachi won the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, Best Adult Poet 2014 and 2017, and Most Outstanding Writer in 2009. Malachi is the founder of the highly successful annual Jamaican Poets Nomadic College and School Tour, and the Louise Bennett-Coverley Council’s Writers Clinic in Florida. Malachi’s poem, My Jamaican Tongue, was recently published in the anthology, 100 plus voices for Miss Lou, Poetry, Tributes, Interviews and essays, edited by Dr. Opal Palmer Adisa. Latest offering of poems, “The Gathering” was published February 6, 2017, by AP Publishers, UK. He has Eight CD collections to his credit. Malachi has read and performed internationally.

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Dr. Donna Aza Weir-Soley

Award-Winning Poet, Essayist, Literary Critic

Featured Book: "First Rain"

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Dr. Donna Aza Weir-Soley is the author of four books and Associate Professor of English at Florida International University. She is also the immediate past president and current board member of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars and former coordinator of the Hispanic Serving Institution Pathways Fellowship at FIU.

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Noelle Wright

Award-Winning Film Producer

Featured Film: "Origins"

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Website: www.kerrmeleon.com

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Kurt Wright

Award-Winning Film Director

Featured Film: "Origins"

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Website: www.vimeo.com/kurtwright

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Noelle Wright (formerly Kerr) has been organizing things behind the camera since 2004 when she moved back to Jamaica. Trained at CARIMAC and with 15 years of acting experience already under her belt, she developed her second true passion for production. Working her way up the production ladder through the years, some of her latest ventures have been: Asst Production Coordinator for HBO’s “Get Millie Black”, “Champion” & Bob Marley: One Love”. She was also a Production Coordinator on Hulu’s “Black Cake”. Coinciding with these ventures, she has also produced several Music Videos for local artiste Christopher Martin including “Let Her Go”, which has recently passed the 57 Million views mark on Youtube, as well as for Romain Virgo, The No-Maddz and US based artist Ivy Lane ft. Popcaan. Commercials for KFC, Serge Island ‘Monster Milk’, Flow and ScotiaBank/VISA have also been a part of her resume as producer, along with four short films and a TV Pilot thus far. Her two careers have worked hand in hand and she looks forward to continued success in both fields.

Kurt Wright was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. Grown ass man whose inner child won't leave him in peace. My imagination floats everywhere with an ensemble cast.

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