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Judge Spotlight: Frank Birbalsingh

By Shivanee Ramlochan, 2012 Bocas Lit fest blogger


For all you Bocas enthusiasts who are great lovers of Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora scholarship, Frank Birbalsingh’s name is unlikely to be a novelty. The chair of this year’s non-fiction judging panel, Birbalsingh has authored many a significant title, on a range of topics as diverse as they are illuminating. Some of his publications include The Rise of West Indian Cricket; Novels and The Nation: Essays in Canadian Literature and Neil Bissoondath: Indo-Caribbean-Canadian Diaspora. Hailed as a titan of expertise on the Indo-Caribbean diaspora, Birbalsingh has also served as principal editor on a number of works furthering analysis and examination in that area, namely on titles such as Jahaji: An Anthology of Indo-Caribbean Fiction and Indenture and Exile: The Indo-Caribbean Experience. Professor Emeritus at York University in Toronto, Birbalsingh’s work represents decades of meticulous research and well-studied documentation which has done nothing but advance and uplift the quality of Caribbean non-fiction writing. Here are some of his insightful reviews of the works of other regional and diaspora writers:

♦ Lakshmi Persaud’s Raise the Lanterns High
♦ Janet Naidu’s Sacred Silence
♦ Karen King-Aribisala’s The Hangman’s Game
♦ Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming’s Curry Flavour

Further Reading (Reviews/Interviews/Features):
♦ Lomarsh Roopnarine interviews Birbalsingh at The Caribbean Writer
♦ Gary Girdhari reviews From Pillar to Post: The Indo-Caribbean Diaspora
♦ D. Gokarran Sukhdeo reviews Jahaji: An Anthology of Indo-Caribbean Fiction

Next up on the Judge Spotlight, we’ll be meeting Ellah Allfrey, fiction writing chair and one of the expert readers who’ll be working with emerging writers at this year’s feedback sessions (more on that initiative right here, if you missed it).

Photo provided courtesy of author.