More Than A Literary Festival

100 Caribbean Books podcast: Desiree Seebaran on Zong!

NourbeSe Philip

The groundbreaking poetry collection Zong! by T&T-born M. NourbeSe Philip is the subject of the latest episode of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest’s 100 Caribbean Books That Made Us podcast.

First published in 2008, Zong! addresses the brutal realities of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, through a notorious massacre that happened in the late 18th century on board a slaver ship. Philip — trained as a lawyer earlier in her career — drew on records of a resulting legal case to create a haunting, innovative “anti-narrative” that “tells the story that cannot be told yet must be told.”

In this podcast episode, T&T writer Desiree Seebaran — 2021 winner of the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize — explores Philip’s text, its continuing relevance to Caribbean readers, and what it tells us about dealing with historical trauma.

Launched earlier in 2022, the 100 Caribbean Books That Made Us podcast examines how iconic books of past decades have influenced and inspired writers of today.

The podcast series is the latest iteration of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest’s ongoing 100 Caribbean Books That Made Us: a list of literary works in all genres — poetry, fiction, and non-fiction — crowdsourced by the NGC Bocas Lit Fest with input from readers across the Caribbean and its diasporas. Its aim is to celebrate the region’s literary heritage, and introduce new readers to the diverse voices and themes of Caribbean writing. Now Bocas has commissioned contemporary writers from T&T to reflect on classic books from the crowdsourced list in audio format.

The 100 Caribbean Books That Made Us podcast is powered by The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited

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