Caribbean Literary Jam Session Planned to Celebrate Recently Published Collection Honoring John Figueroa

Evening reading at UH Manoa to feature poetry, short fiction and other highlights from collection of literature honoring world-renowned Caribbean educator and w

University of Hawaiʻi
Cristina Bacchilega, (808) 956-7619
Department of English
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer
Posted: Oct 14, 2003

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s Department of English presents the next event in its Colloquium Series, "An Evening Reading: ʻAt Home the Green Remains — Caribbean Writing in Honor of John Figueroa‘." A multi-voiced cast of characters will read selections from the newly published collection with an introduction by the editor of the collection and youngest daughter of John Figueroa, Esther Figueroa. The evening reading on Wednesday, October 22, begins at 7 p.m. in Kuykendall Hall, Room 410, at UH Mānoa.

Esther Figueroa, best known in Hawaiʻi as a filmmaker with Juniroa Productions, will introduce the book. Readers will include Noenoe Silva, Susan Schultz, Marie Hara, Richard Hamasaki, Paul Lyons, Cristina Bacchilega, Susan Killeen, Patricia Gillespie, Victoria Keith, Katerina Teaiwa, Heather Haunani Giugni and Liza Simon. Books will be available for sale and signed by the author.

Through this unique collection of Caribbean literature, both the literary life of an individual and the literature he so loved is celebrated. Readers get to know John Figueroa and the era in which he lived through his poetry, autobiographical writings, opinions in interviews, and remembrances by family, friends and colleagues. Considered a great introduction to Caribbean poetry, the book features poems and short fiction by such world renowned Caribbean writers as John Figueroa, Derek Walcott, Louise Bennett, Olive Senior, Grace Nichols, John Agard and Jane King Hippolyte.

John Joseph Maria Figueroa was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica in 1920. A person of great gusto, Figueroa traveled widely enjoying many activities including studying, teaching, broadcasting cricket, giving readings and lectures, attending music festivals, visiting churches and museums, and dropping in on friends. He was appointed senior lecturer in education at the University College of the West Indies, Mona, in 1953 and professor of education in 1958. He later taught at the University of Puerto Rico, University of Jos Nigeria, and at the Open University in Milton Keynes, England, where he was part of a team that developed innovative "Third World" curriculum including his anthology of Caribbean and African literature.

Figueroa was intimately involved in the evolution of 20th-century Caribbean literature as a writer, anthologist, editor, critic, broadcaster, and most of all as an educator. He was one of the most important people in the development of education in Jamaica and the Caribbean during the transformation to a "post-colonial" society. He was also part of the early evolution of Caribbean linguistics and was instrumental in the 1968 conference on Pidgins and Creoles held at the University College of the West Indies, Mona. In addition to the Caribbean, he lived in Africa, the United Kingdom, Europe, and North America. Yet, he called himself "un hombre del Caribe," or "a man of the Caribbean." He was a ceaseless promoter of Caribbean writers and Caribbean literature.

"At Home the Green Remains — Caribbean Writing in Honor of John Figueroa" is compiled and edited by his youngest daughter, Esther Figueroa. A writer, media-maker, linguist and educator, Esther has made numerous documentaries, television series, television specials and educational media. She is currently producing a documentary on Guam during World War II based on personal narratives by Guam residents who were children and young adults during the war. She is also working with a team from the East-West Center and the UH Mānoa Center for Pacific Islands Studies on a globalization project linking the Caribbean and Pacific.