The 2019 Bocas Henry Swanzy Award is to be presented to IAN RANDLE O.D., B.A. (Hons); MSc, LL.D. (Hon), Chairman of Ian Randle Publishers Limited, the 26-year old company which he founded in 1990 as the Caribbean’s first commercial scholarly publishing company.
Since 1990, Ian Randle Publishers has published dozens of titles by Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora authors. A graduate of the University of the West Indies (History Hons) and the University of Southampton (UK) where he read International Politics as a Commonwealth Scholar, Ian Randle has over 45 years experience as a local, regional and international publisher across all genres and at all levels. His early career was in the field of educational publishing where between 1985 and 1990 he produced landmark textbook titles for both the Elementary and High school systems of the English-speaking Caribbean in partnership with the British firm Heinemann Educational Books. Some of these books are still used by students across the region.
Today, Ian Randle Publishers (IRP) is recognized regionally and internationally as the leading publisher of books on and about the Caribbean, particularly in the area of Caribbean culture – encompassing its history, politics, the arts, biography, literature and the law, as well as contemporary topics, such as the media, gender issues, food security and education. Its undergraduate textbooks in Caribbean History, Politics, the Economy and Sociology have become staple texts for students in universities in the Caribbean and increasingly for courses in Caribbean Studies in universities in North America, the UK and Europe.
Ian Randle has consulted widely with regional governments and institutions in the training of personnel in the area of materials production for the educational system and in the development and production of primary legal materials for the court systems of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the OECS countries. At the international level, he lectured for many years at the University of Denver Publishing Institute in the area of international publishing and served as a panel member at the annual conference of Ford Fellows advising postgraduate fellows on publishing. He has presented papers at Congresses of the International Publishers Association and at other international fora including the Commonwealth Ministers of Education conference. Most recently he was a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s ‘One UWI’ Task Force established to make recommendations on the re-integration of the four campuses of The University of the West Indies into one functioning regional institution. He has served on the CARICOM Prime Ministers’ Task Force on Culture and currently sits on the Board of the Interim Festival Directorate of the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA). Recently he initiated the conceptualization and launch of the University of Guyana Press.
Ian Randle is the recipient of the Silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica and the Jamaican National Honour, the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) both for services to publishing. In 2012, he was named a Laureate of the Prince Claus Foundation of the Netherlands, one of ten selected from across the world: “ for his leadership in reclaiming local ownership of Caribbean intellectual property; for publishing foundational resources of local knowledge; for transcending language barriers to build capacities in Caribbean publishing and increase the dissemination of Caribbean thought to the rest of the world; and for championing independent local publishing and self-representation in other post-colonial contexts”.
In 2013, his contribution to scholarly publishing was recognized by his alma mater when The University of the West Indies St Augustine campus conferred on him an honorary LL.D degree in recognition of services to Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.
The Bocas Lit Fest is delighted to add its recognition of his contributions and achievements with the 2019 Bocas Henry Swanzy Award, which will be formally presented to him during the 2019 NGC Bocas Lit Fest.
Since 2013, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest has honoured Swanzy’s memory and recognised the achievements of editors, broadcasters, critics, and others via the annual Bocas Henry Swanzy Award. Awardees are chosen by the Bocas Lit Fest. In previous years, the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award was presented to Longman editor (2018) Anne Walmsley; Joan Dayal, proprietor of Paper Based Books (2017); Jeremy Poynting, founder of Peepal Tree Press (2016); editor and broadcaster Margaret Busby, OBE (2015); literary critics Kenneth Ramchand and Gordon Rohlehr (2014); and publishers John La Rose and Sarah White of New Beacon Books (2013).