On June 11 and 12, 2022, the digital magazine of Caribbean writing, PREE (preelit.com), will host a series of seminars by some of Jamaica’s most outstanding writers, at the University of the West Indies, in collaboration with the Department of Literatures in English and the Prince Claus Fund.

The seminar series is designed primarily to celebrate the five under-30 writers who were awarded scholarships under a Next Generation grant from the Prince Claus Fund in 2020. The winning writers are Jamaicans Jovanté Anderson, Yashika Graham, Kaleb D’Aguilar, Barbadian writer and artist Ada M. Patterson, and Bahamian poet Tanicia Pratt.

“Pandemic protocols prevented us from holding an ambitious star-packed writing studio in 2020, and again in 2021, which our scholarship winners would have attended along with 40 other fee-paying participants. This year we decided it was time to put on a smaller version of the writing studio in the form of a seminar series on various aspects of writing with Marlon James, Diana McCaulay, Kei Miller and Roland Watson-Grant,” said Annie Paul, editor-in-Chief of PREE. Designed as a small and intimate experience, there will only be five spaces available (at a cost) for aspiring writers who wish to participate in the seminars. Details may be obtained by emailing preeliteditors@gmail.com.

The two-day series will culminate in an afternoon of readings on June 12 by James, Miller, McCaulay and Watson-Grant, to which the public is invited. They will be joined by PREE’s scholarship winners, and poet Staceyann Chin.  The readings will be held at historic Ormsby Hall in downtown Kingston, site of sculptor Laura Facey’s exhibition, Laboratory of the Ticking Heart, providing attendees with an opportunity to enjoy an afternoon of literature and art in a unique venue. The event is a fundraiser for PREE, and copies of Bookmarked, PREE Ink’s first print anthology containing selections from the first 5 digital issues will be available for sale.

Ormsby Memorial Hall was inaugurated on June 5 in 1930 and named after Rev. Stephen Ormsby of the Anglican Church in Kingston. Rev. Ormsby had ceaselessly campaigned for a purpose-built hall for the arts and many a concert and theatrical production was held there over the years until it gradually fell into disuse. If an urgent need was felt for a performance venue such as Ormsby Hall in 1930 the demand for one nearly a hundred years later in an era when Jamaica’s immense contribution to global intellectual property has been widely acknowledged, is impatient of debate. PREE is happy to lend its support to the campaign to restore Ormsby Hall as a site for creative productions and performances.

PREE invites the public to turn out and enjoy this specially curated experience at Ormsby Hall on June 12, from 2-5 pm. Parking will be available on the premises and security will be provided.