Winners and Judges

2014 Competition


Short Fiction:

First Prize: Damian Femi Rene

Second Prize: Nova Gordon-Bell


First Prize: Mario A. Ariza

Second Prize: Shivanee Ramlochan


Short Fiction: Ifeona H Fulani, Patricia Powell, Lawrence Scott

Poetry: Vahni Capildeo, Anthony Joseph, Jane King

Past Winners and Judges


Short Fiction:

First Prize: Ruel Johnson

Second Prize: Lesley-Ann Wanliss


First Prize: Vladimir Lucien

Second Prize: Ruel Johnson


Short Fiction: Caryl Phillips, Olive Senior, Jan Lowe Shinebourne

Poetry: Easton Lee, Paul Keens-Douglas, Pam Mordecal



Short Fiction:

First Prize: Sharon Millar

Second Prize: Alexia Arthurs


First Prize: Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné

Second Prize: Lynn Sweeting


Short Fiction: Thomas Glave, Oonya Kempadoo, Elizabeth Nunez

Poetry: Kendel Hippolyte, Mervyn Morris, Opal Palmer Adisa



Short Fiction:

First Prize: Barbara Jenkins

Second Prize: Heidi N. Holder

Poetry (two first place winners):

First Prize: Sonia Farmer and Danielle McShine


Short Fiction: Erna Brodber, Zee Edgell, and Robert Antoni

Poetry: Fred D'Aguiar, Cyril Dabydeen, and Shara McCallum



Short Fiction:

First Prize: Stephen Narain

Second Prize: Andrea Shaw


First Prize: Lauren Alleyne
Second Prize: Ishion Hutchinson



Short Fiction:Merle Hodge, Marlon James, and Shani Mootoo

Poetry: Kwame Dawes, Ramabai Espinet, and Kei Miller



Short Fiction:

First Prize: Ashley Rousseau

Second Prize: Alake Pilgrim


First Prize: Monica Minott

Second Prize: Tanya Shirley


Short Fiction: Garfield Ellis, Geoffrey Philp, and Merle Collins.

Poetry: Edward Baugh, Lorna Goodison, and Mark McWatt.









Archive for the ‘Kelly Baker Josephs’ Category

sx salon 19 (June 2015)

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Introduction and Table of Contents

At the 2015 Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad earlier this year, there were several panels and events paying tribute to Eric Roach, Derek Walcott, and Kamau Brathwaite (2015 would have marked Roach’s centenary; Walcott and Brathwaite both celebrate eighty-fifth birthdays this year). These figures are best known as pioneers in poetry, influencing the generations of poets who would follow them. Fittingly, in this year of celebrating such ground-breaking poets, a young poet won the 2015 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature: Vladimir Lucien, a past winner of the Small Axe Literary Competition, won the Bocas Prize for his first collection of poetry, Sounding Ground.

I begin with this focus on poetry because three of our discussion articles in this issue of sx salon—Mervyn Morris’s speech at the JCDC (Jamaica Cultural Development Commission)  Literary Awards Ceremony, the words of young writers influenced by Morris, and Michael Bucknor’s discussion of Edward Baugh’s Black Sand—raise the question of poetic influence. How does a young poet find his or her voice? How do established poets help these young poets distinguish themselves from their influence? What does the arc of a poet’s work look like? Both Morris and Baugh loom large in defining the answers to these questions in the field of Caribbean poetry. The first article in our discussion section—Kathryn Martins’s “Chasing Our Ghosts” is also concerned with the question of influence but in visual art rather than poetry. Martins’s dream conversation with photographer Abigail Hadeed deftly depicts the haunting nature of muses and the import of influence.

Our reviews section also begins with poetry: Andre Bagoo, who recently published the collection BURN, reviews Difficult Fruit by Lauren K. Alleyne and The Butterfly Hotel by Roger Robinson. Bagoo’s review is followed Sherry-Ann Singh’s review of the much-discussed Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture by Gaiutra Bahadur; Régine Michelle Jean-Charles’s review of the second collection of short stories from Haiti in the Akashic Noir series, edited again by Edwidge Danticat; and Paul Joseph López Oro’s contextualization of Sonja Stephenson Watson’s ambitious overview, The Politics of Race in Panama: Afro-Hispanic and West Indian Literary Discourses of Contention. In this issue, we also publish original poetry from Susannah Rodriguez Drissi, and Patrick Sylvain.

Last in the table of contents, but certainly not least, especially when we are discussing the question of influence, is an interview with the inimitable Erna Brodber. Petal Samuel conducts a conversation with the Jamaican writer that speaks to the heart of what motivates her work and shapes her writing. Brodber’s words remind us that influence does not reside only in individual predecessors.

In closing, another tidbit from the 2015 Bocas Lit Fest: the Small Axe Project organized a panel of past winners and shortlisted writers in the Small Axe Literary Competition. We had an engaging session of readings with Desiree Seebaran, Jaime Lee Loy, Stephen Narain, Hazel McShine, June Aming, and Ruel Johnson, pictured below (left to right) with myself (back left) and Bocas Lit Fest coordinator Nicholas Laughlin (front center).

BOCAS 2015 reading

Image courtesy of the Bocas Lit Fest

The panel can be heard on the podcast from the event here. We hope you enjoy the recording of those readings and the pieces gathered here in our June issue (table of contents below).

Happy Summer,
Kelly Baker Josephs


Table of Contents

Introduction and table of contents—Kelly Baker Josephs

Difficult Fruit, by Lauren K. Alleyne, and The Butterfly Hotel, by Roger Robinson—Andre Bagoo
Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, by Gaiutra Bahadur—Sherry-Ann Singh
Haiti Noir 2: The Classics, edited by Edwidge Danticat—Régine Michelle Jean-Charles

The Politics of Race in Panama: Afro-Hispanic and West Indian Literary Discourses of Contention, by Sonja Stephenson Watson—Paul Joseph López Oro

Chasing Our Ghosts: Mas’, Identity, and Isolation—Kathryn Martins
Making Poems: JCDC Literary Awards Ceremony Speech—Mervyn Morris
On Mervyn Morris—Kei Miller, Nadia Ellis, Ann-Margaret Lim, Tanya Shirley
“Nuances that Glamour Would Miss”: Edward Baugh’s Poetic Illuminations of the Ordinary—Michael Bucknor

Patrick Sylvain
Susannah Rodriguez Drissi


“Put Your Bucket Down”: A Conversation with Erna Brodber—Petal Samuel

sx salon, issue 18 (February 2015)

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Introduction and Table of Contents

In Spring 2014, the “Gender and the Caribbean Body” reading group in New York City organized a public event at the City College of New York to discuss the intersections between gender, corporeality, and “what it means to be a Caribbean artist operating identity at home and within the cultural centers of the ‘global north.’” The presenting artists for the event were writer Kettly Mars, visual and performing artist Nicolás Dumit Estévez, and photographer Gerard H. Gaskin. Our special section in this issue of sx salon captures some of the spirit of this event and the reading group behind it with articles inspired by this exploration of diaspora and gender, including engaging interviews with Mars, Estévez, and Gaskin. The “Gender and the Caribbean Body” special section opens with discussion articles on gender and sexuality from three of the reading group members: Christopher Ian Foster reads literary instances of the queered immigrant body, Sophie Ellman-Golan explores the invisibility of male sex workers in Haiti, and Grace Aneiza Ali contemplates the gender-blending photographs of Keisha Scarville. Together these six pieces capture some of the breadth and complexities of the works produced by the “Gender and the Caribbean Body” reading group.

This issue also features reviews of Nalo Hopkinson’s Sister Mine by fellow fantasy writer Tananarive Due and Bernardine Evaristo’s audacious Mr. Loverman by Kela Nnarka Francis. We also carry reviews of monographs by Antonio López and Christina Kullberg. Rounding out this first issue of 2015 are prose fiction pieces by AJ Sidransky and Cynthia James, alongside poetry from Jason Allen and Sophie Maríñez.

We hope you enjoy reading the thought-provoking pieces in this issue of sx salon.

Kelly Baker Josephs


sx salon 18 (February 2015)

Introduction and Table of Contents—Kelly Baker Josephs

Sister Mine, by Nalo Hopkinson—Tananarive Due
Unbecoming Blackness: The Diaspora Cultures of Afro-Cuban America, by Antonio López—Daniel Arbino 

Mr. Loverman, by Bernardine Evaristo— Kela Nnarka Francis
The Poetics of Ethnography in Martinican Narratives: Exploring the Self and the Environment, by Christina Kullberg—Rachel L. Mordecai 

Discussion: Gender and the Caribbean Body
Beautiful Ambiguities: The Photography of Keisha Scarville—Grace Aneiza Ali
Constructions of the Caribbean: The Invisibility of MSM Sex Workers in Haiti—Sophie Ellman-Golan
Toward a Caribbean Migritude?: Immigration, Sexuality, and the Gendered Caribbean Body—Christopher Ian Foster
“My Caribeñidad”: A Conversation with Nicolás Dumit Estévez—Maja Horn
“A Safe Place”: A Conversation with Kettly Mars—Alessandra Benedicty
Capturing Beauty with a Caribbean Lens: A Conversation with Gerard Gaskin—Kelly Baker Josephs

Sophie Maríñez
Jason Allen

AJ Sidransky
Cynthia James

Capturing Beauty with a Caribbean Lens

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A Conversation with Gerard Gaskin

Kelly Baker Josephs

My first encounter with Gerard Gaskin’s photography was the arresting portrait gracing the cover of the Fall 2013 Duke University Press catalog. The image was from the cover of Gaskin’s first book, Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene. I was not surprised to find that Gaskin hailed from a Trinidadian background since that striking image had so much of the carnivalesque in its composition. His connection to the Caribbean and the focus of his work made Gaskin ideal as one of our presenters in the “Gender and the Caribbean Body” public event at the City University of New York in Spring 2014.

gaskin cover image

A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Gerard H. Gaskin earned a BA in liberal arts from Hunter College in 1994. His photographs have been widely published in newspapers and magazines and have also been featured in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and abroad. His work is featured in the permanent collections at Duke University, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Gaskin has garnered much recognition in the form of awards, grants, and residencies, including the New York Foundation for the Arts Artist fellowship for Photography (2002), the Queen Council on the Arts Individual Artists Initiative Award (2005), and the Woodstock Center of Photography Arts-In-Residence (2011). In 2012 he won the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize, which resulted in the publication of Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene (Duke University Press, 2013). The interview below took place via e-mail in Fall 2014.

Kelly Baker Josephs: In a recent interview with Neelika Jayawardane, you describe your current work in very personal terms: “I’m making portraits of Trinidadian artists, and at the same time, I’m learning what it means to be a Trinidadian artist.” Yet, your most-well-known work thus far, Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene, is not identified as Trinidadian in content. How is Trinidad, or a notion of a regional Caribbean, important to your self-identification? How does this extend (if at all) to a consideration of the Caribbean diaspora?

Gerard Gaskin: I am an Afro-Caribbean male born in Trinidad and raised in Queens, NewYork, by two British Caribbean people. They raised me to always love being, and to identify as, a Trinidadian and a Caribbean person. Interestingly, I see myself not as an American but as a black man in America. This is the closest I have come to identifying with an Americanness. Otherwise, I feel that my art is from an English Afro-Caribbean point of view, even when what I am photographing has American content.

Having lived outside of Trinidad for so long, I seek a Pan-Caribbean community. Many of my close friends and artist community have been formed from not just a Caribbean sensibility but a search for a larger collective West Indian identification. I think the example of cricket and my love for it helps to illustrate this. C. L. R. James has argued that cricket played an important role in creating a collective regional identity, and I believe similarly my love for cricket and my art have allowed me to forge and find community through a Caribbeanness. One of my projects is on cricket in the Caribbean, and I take these photographs because the game reflects on regional collaborations. (more…)

sx salon, issue 17 (October 2014)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Introduction and Table of Contents (more…)

sx salon, issue 16 (May 2014)

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Introduction and Table of Contents (more…)

sx salon, issue 15 (February 2014)

Friday, 28 February 2014

Introduction and Table of Contents (more…)

sx salon 14 (November 2013)

Monday, 18 November 2013

Our fall issue of sx salon exhibits the variety of Caribbean cultural production. Our discussion section features an essay by poet and author Kei Miller on dub poetry and the “sort of life” it may continue to have in the diasporas. With an eye toward the element of home in the Caribbean diaspora, choreographer Chris Walker and poet Danez Smith blend word and dance as they ask what it means when home is no longer a safe place. Our third essay continues with the question of diaspora as Bernard James examines the tenuous and often fraught connections between Caribbean Americans and African Americans.

Our reviews in this issue are split between fiction and what we may sometimes wish to be fiction. Sandy Alenxandre introduces us to the first novel from Haitian American author Elsie Augustave, while Maja Horn reviews Junot Díaz’s return to Yunior in This Is How You Lose Her. Garfield Ellis reflects on “master storyteller” Anthony Winkler’s turn to historical fiction, with his signature humor. We also consider nonfictional narratives of history with Suzanne Uzzilia’s review of Sugar in the Blood, by Andrea Stuart, and Abolition and Plantation Management in Jamaica, 1807–1838, by Dave St. Aubyn Gosse. Bringing that narrative into the present, Taurean Webb discusses Britain’s Black Debt: Reparations for Caribbean Slavery and Native Genocide by Hilary Beckles, to whom Geoffrey Philp dedicates his poem in this issue, “Busha Day Done.” We also feature poetry from emerging poets Kevin Browne and Enzo Silon Surin, as well as from well-known poet, writer, and activist Patrick Sylvain.

In our Poetry & Prose section we also announce the short list and winners for each category of the 2013 Small Axe Literary Competition. The winners of the 2013 competition:

  • In the Short Fiction category, first prize goes to Ruel Johnson and second prize to Lesley-Ann Wanliss.
  • In the Poetry category, first prize goes to Vladimir Lucien and second prize to Ruel Johnson.

Please join us in congratulating the writers and poets on our short list as well as our winners. We wish you all the best for the coming holidays and hope you enjoy this fall issue of sx salon (table of contents below).

Kelly Baker Josephs


sx salon 14 (November 2013)

Introduction and Table of Contents—Kelly Baker Josephs


God Carlos and The Family Mansion, by Anthony Winkler—Garfield Ellis
The Roving Tree, by Elsie Augustave—Sandy Alexandre
This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Díaz—Maja Horn
Britain’s Black Debt: Reparations for Caribbean Slavery and Native Genocide, by Hilary Beckles—Taurean Webb
Sugar in the Blood: A Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire, by Andrea Stuart, and
Abolition and Plantation Management in Jamaica, 1807–1838, by Dave St Aubyn Gosse—Suzanne Uzzilia

Discussion articles

A Smaller Sound, a Lesser Fury: A Eulogy for Dub Poetry—Kei Miller
Facing Home, a Phobia: A Reflection on “In My Shadow”—Chris Walker, with Danez Smith
Fortifications for a Wobbly Bridge—Bernard James


Patrick Sylvain
Kevin A. Browne
Enzo Silon Surin
Geoffrey Philp

sx salon 13 (August 2013)

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Introduction and Table of Contents


sx salon 12 (May 2013)

Monday, 27 May 2013

Introduction and Table of Contents


The Fiction of Independence

Monday, 11 February 2013

sx salon, issue 11 (February 2013)

Introduction and Table of Contents