PREE was born out of the desire to be part of shaping the new, of providing an experimental, technologically savvy platform to elicit forms of writing emerging from the transformed scapes of the Caribbean, a postcolonial Caribbean not yet fully decolonized but one willing to participate in the global ebbs and flows that sometimes threaten to submerge us. Can we grab a passing wave and ride it with the dexterity and aplomb of the region’s musicians and athletes? Can we show that we are perfectly capable of following in their wake while surfing new Caribbean imaginaries built on the world handed down to us by earlier generations? What does the writerly gaze look like almost two decades into the 21st century? Is new writing illuminating the Creolescapes we occupy? Are there new horizons of readership and writership? Can the archipelago be written? In what tone of voice and in what accents do we write it? Can it be written as it’s spoken? These are some of the questions we hope to answer with each issue.
As the note on our theme says, the Caribbean has always existed at a crossroads of one kind or another, and nearly a quarter of the way into the 21st century, the Caribbean remains at a crossroads. The artist Christopher Cozier once said, after a residency in Johannesburg, that he often felt like someone standing at an intersection with a sign, rewriting and reorganizing its message, wondering if it was being understood or engaged.
There’s a similar feeling as we put out the first issue of PREE, an online portal to relay high-grade writing from, on or about the Caribbean. Will PREE be read as widely as we hope? Who will PREE’s audience be and how will they engage us? Will this kind of writing appeal to the younger generations growing up in an era when books have virtually become an endangered species? Will youngsters still yearn to be writers in the same way that some of us born in the 20th century did? Will the rest of the world be interested in what Caribbean writers have to say?