The Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde (26th edition) which rewards a literary work from the Caribbean and Americas was awarded on January 22, 2016, at Mémorial ACTe. Gerty Dambury’s essay – a Guadeloupean novelist and playwright – entitled “Le Rêve de William Alexander Brown” (William Alexander Brown’s dream) which tells the story of this Vincentian who opened the first black theatre in New York in the 19th century, appealed to the jury.
Initiated in 1990 by the Martinican writer, Édouard Glissant (1928-2011), the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde is one of the most prestigious literary awards in our region. The Guadeloupean novelist and playwright, Gerty Dambury, could not conceal her joy when she won this prize, on January 22nd, 2016, for her book entitled “Le Rêve de William Alexander Brown”.
The first part of this book, published by Editions du Manguier, tells the obstacles faced by William Alexander Brown, this West Indian, native of the island of St Vincent, to open the first black theater in New York in 1821, thus during slavery which will be abolished in the United States in 1865. So, this essay is based on solid historical investigations – in particular in Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of Harlem – which reveal how a Caribbean became a pioneer of culture in Uncle Sam’s country. So, being a sailor, William Alexander Brown opened first a refuge for his colleagues then for all Black people. Then, he turned to theatre arts and he eventually built a theater where were performed during four years English classical works but also plays written by Americans, a programming which drew an audience with Black and White people. Unfortunately, this place of expression will be burnt down by the segregationists.
The second part of the book is a play by the American writer Carlyle Brown, called “La Compagnie africaine présente Richard III” (The African Company presents Richard III), translated into French by Gerty Dambury.
The jury of the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde was chaired by the Guadeloupean poet and novelist, Ernest Pépin.
The selected authors and books for the 26th Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde
– Conceicão Evaristo :«L’histoire de Poncia», translated from Portuguese by Paula Anacaona and Patrick Louis, Publishing House Anacaona – Brazil
– Julien Delmaire : «Bogolan», Publishing House Le Temps des Cerises – France
– Miguel Bonnefoy : «Le Voyage d’Octavio», Publishing House Rivages – Venezuela
– Gerty Dambury : «Le rêve de William Alexander Brown», Publishing House Manguier – Guadeloupe
– Laurent Gaudé : «Danser les Ombres», Publishing House Actes Sud – France
– Viktor Lazlo : «Les Tremblements Essentiels», Publishing House Albin Michel – Martinique
– James Noël : «Cheval de Feu», Publishing House Le Temps des Cerises – Haiti
– Emmelie Prophète : «Le Bout du Monde est une Fenêtre», Publishing House Mémoires d’encrier – Haiti
– Frédéric Régent, Bruno Maillard, Gilda Gonfier : «Libres et sans fers. Paroles d’Esclaves Français», Publishing House Fayard – Martinique, Reunion, Guadeloupe
– Rodney Saint-Eloi : «Je suis la Fille du Baobab Brûlé», Publishing House Mémoires d’Encrier – Haiti
– Raimundo Carrero : «Ombre Sévère», Publishing House Anacaona – Brazil
– Kettly Mars : «Je suis Vivant», Publishing House Mercure de France – Haiti
– Ronald C. Paul : «Les Enfants des Cyclones», Publishing House Le Soupirail – Haiti