Dominican Republic author wins Caribbean literature prize
POINTE-A-PITRE, Guadeloupe — Dominican Republic author Rita Indiana Hernández was awarded the Grand Prix Littéraire Région Guadeloupe on Saturday at the fifth Caribbean Writers Congress hosted by the Guadeloupe Regional Authority for her novel “La Mucama de Omicunlé”, published by Périférica.
Rita Indiana was born in Santo Domingo in 1977. A writer but also singer-songwriter, she started writing when she was quite young before developing a passion for music and reinventing the merengue. Her songs lyrics as well as her novels focus primarily on Caribbean social and ethical issues.
La Mucama de Omicunlé (Omicunle’s Room Maid) cautions the reader about the undeniable and inevitable destruction of our world and portrays a clear picture of what will happen if we do not stop the process of dehumanization and violence.
While this latest novel retains the Dominican rhythm that characterizes Indiana, especially through geography, history and linguistic codes, it is also deeply Caribbean and Latin American.
The Grand Prix Littéraire Région Guadeloupe is intended to honour and reward a literary work published in the previous three years in French, English or Spanish. It is awarded by the members of an international jury comprising major literary figures and writers from the Caribbean.
For the fifth edition of the Caribbean Writers Congress, four nominees competed for the Award:
• Olive Sénior, “The Pain Tree”, (Jamaica), published by Cormorant Books
• Anthony Phelps, “Je Veille Incorrigible Féticheur” (Haiti), published by Bruno Doucey
• Roland Brival, “Nègre de Personne” (Martinique), published by Gallimard; and
• Rita Indiana, “La Mucama de Omicunlé” (Dominican Republic), published by Périférica
The international jury members were: Andrès Bansart (Venezuela); Earl Lovelace, president of the Caribbean Writers Association (Trinidad and Tobago); Camila Valdés (Cuba); Patricia Donatien (Martinique); Lyonel Trouillot (French language area); Prof. Funso Aiyejina (English language area); and Ariel Camejo (Spanish language area).
The Caribbean Writers Congress aims to contribute to the cultural development of Guadeloupe and Caribbean citizens as a whole.
This year’s Grand Prix Littéraire Région Guadeloupe, initiated by the Association of Writers of the Caribbean, honored the Dominican Republic and a new generation of writers.