Goodbye Bay, the final and posthumously published novel by celebrated T&T author Jennifer Rahim, will be officially launched by the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, in partnership with the Faculty of Humanities and Education and the Department of Literary, Cultural and Communication Studies of The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.
The special event, starting at 5 pm on Saturday 13 January, will be hosted at The UWI’s School of Education Auditorium on Agostini Street, St. Augustine. Free and open to the public, the launch will include readings from Goodbye Bay, music, and an introduction to the novel by novelist and academic Barbara Lalla, Professor Emerita at The UWI.
Rahim, who died unexpectedly in March 2023 at the age of 60, was a writer of fiction and poems, as well as a literary scholar and lecturer at the university. Earlier in her writing career, she was best known for her poetry, winning a Casa de las Américas Prize for her book Approaching Sabbaths in 2010. Her book Curfew Chronicles, a novel-length sequence of linked stories, was published in 2017, and won her a wider audience. It went on to win the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Goodbye Bay was completed and scheduled for publication by Peepal Tree Press at the time of Rahim’s death. Set in the fictional village of Macaima in 1963, a year after Trinidad and Tobago’s Independence, the novel tells the interwoven stories of an individual — the narrator, Anna Bridgemohan, seeking respite from the pressures of her life in what she thinks will be a simpler place — and a community. “As an historical novel,” writes Peepal Tree Press publisher Jeremy Poynting, “it asks probing questions about the nature of the means and ends of the project of Independence and its failures with respect to race, class, gender and sexuality…. It tells a gripping story with room for surprise, humour, tragedy and redemption.”
“Jennifer Rahim’s death last year was a shock to T&T’s literary community and a great loss to Caribbean readers,” says Nicholas Laughlin, festival and programme director of the Bocas Lit Fest. “It is painful to think about the books she could still have written, and the only consolation is the books she did write. The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is honoured to help launch Goodbye Bay, and we are grateful to The UWI’s Faculty of Humanities and Education — a partner of the festival from the very beginning — and the Department of Literary, Cultural and Communication Studies for their collaboration and hospitality. St. Augustine campus seems the natural place for this celebration of Jennifer’s work.”
Copies of Goodbye Bay and other books by Jennifer Rahim will be available for purchase at the event from Paper Based Bookshop.