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Latin American and Caribbean Insights and (In)visibility

Saturday, March 7, 2020 @ 9:30 am

Iris PhotoCollective Art Space at the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance

225 NE 59th St, Miami, FL 33137 United States

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Latin American and Caribbean Insights and (In)visibility
Saturday, March 7 @ 9:30 am
Iris PhotoCollective Art Space at the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance
225 NE 59th St, Miami, FL 33137 United States
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Come Learn from the Greats!  Writers Anjanette Delgado, Patricia Engel, Marie-Ketsia Theodore-Pharel, and Donna Aza Weir-Soley will take you on an exhilarating writing journey. Join the provocative, unflinching, maybe uncomfortable, but definitely inspiring conversations focused on Latin American and Caribbean literature—and write your own stories! Hosted by artist Carl Juste and writer MJ Fievre

9:30 a.m. – Check in
10:00 a.m. – But That’s Not How It Was: Conversation with Patricia Engel and Donna Aza Weir-Soley
11:00 a.m. – Happy, Okay? Creative Prompts with M.J. Fievre
12:00 p.m. – Lunch break
12:30 p.m. – Walking Tour of Little Haiti with Tap Tap Tours
2:00 p.m. – Invisible Struggles, Caribbean Craft: Conversation with Anjanette Delgado and Marie Ketsia Theodore Pharel
3:00 p.m. – Happy, Okay? Creative Prompts with M.J. Fievre
4:00 p.m. – Closing statement / Cocktail

Iris PhotoCollective Art Space at the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance
225 NE 59th St, Miami, FL 33137 

But That’s Not How It Was: Latin American and Caribbean Writers on Pushing Back Against Expected Narratives. When we’re writing about Latin America and the Caribbean, there are often expectations about how the story should go. These common archetypes can be deeply held not just by general readers and publishing’s gatekeepers, but also by our inner selves. The writers on this panel share strategies for sorting out how society thinks we ought to write Latin America and the Caribbean from how we actually did, and when and how to resist the pressure to conform to an expected line. How do you represent Latin America and the Caribbean in authentic, original ways and stay commercially viable? How do you write for more than a single audience at the same time? How do you balance the political and aesthetic? With Patricia Engel and Donna Aza Weir-Soley.

Invisible Struggles, Caribbean Craft. If writing is both a physical and mental act, how does craft adapt when the body or the mind fails you? Writers will discuss how depression, oppression and racism, generational trauma, and PTSD influence writing practices and routines, form and content, and working with a publisher. This panel examines the ways our lived experiences impact both what and how we write and the ways Caribbean writers are challenging health barriers. With Anjanette Delgado and Marie Ketsia Theodore Pharel.

Anjanette Delgado is an award-winning novelist, speaker, and journalist who has written or produced for media outlets such as NBC, CNN, NPR, Univision, HBO and Vogue Magazine’s Latam and Mexico divisions, and for Telemundo, among others. She’s covered presidential coups, elections, the Olympics, both Iraq wars and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Early in her career, she became fascinated with heartbreak, the different ways in which it occurs, and the consequences it brings. Her human-interest television series “Madres en la Lejanía” won an Emmy award for its depiction of Latina mothers working as undocumented nannies in the United States, while living with the consequences of having left their own children behind in search of a better life.

Her original screenplay for HBO, “Good in Bed,” was a thesis on the life moments in which sex, love, identity, self, and society collide.

Her first novel, The Heartbreak Pill (Atria Books, 2008, 2009), about a modern-day Latina enmeshed in a battle between her brain and her heart, won first prize at the Latino International Book Award for Best Romance in English, was a Triple Crown Winner for Best Romance Book in Spanish in 2010, and first prize for Best Romance in Latino Literacy’s “Books into Movies” competition in 2011.


Patricia Engel’s most recent novel, The Veins of the Ocean, won the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year. She is also the author of It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris, which won the International Latino Book Award, and of Vida, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Fiction Award and the Young Lions Fiction Award; winner of a Florida Book Award, International Latino Book Award and Independent Publisher Book Award, longlisted for the Story Prize and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. For Vida, Patricia was the first woman to be awarded Colombia’s national prize in literature, the 2017 Premio Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana.

She has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Hedgebrook, and Key West Literary Seminar among others, and is the recipient of an O. Henry Award.

Patricia’s books have been translated into many languages. Her short fiction has appeared in The AtlanticA Public SpacePloughsharesThe Sun, Kenyon ReviewHarvard Review, and anthologized in The Best American Short StoriesThe Best American Mystery Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. Her criticism and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Virginia Quarterly ReviewCatapult, and in numerous anthologies.

Born to Colombian parents, Patricia is a graduate of New York University and earned her MFA at Florida International University. She currently teaches at the University of Miami.


Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Marie Ketsia Theodore-Pharel currently lives in Homestead, Florida, with her husband and three children. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a Master’s degree in English from the University of Massachussetts. Her debut novel, Rope, was well received by Reader Views and Kirkus Reviews. Her short stories have appeared in various literary magazines, including Faultline: A Journal of Arts and Letters,The Caribbean Writer, and Compost Magazine, and in several anthologies, such as So Spoke the Earth (M.J. Fievre, ed.), Haiti Noir (Edwidge Danticat, ed.), and Butterfly Ways: Voices from the Haitian Diaspora in the United States (Edwidge Danticat, ed.). Her children’s books include Beauty Walks in Nature(2010), Songs from a Tower (2009), Keeper of the Sky (2007), One More Daughter, America(2006), Daughter of the House (2005), A Fish Called Tanga (2003), and I’ll Fly Away(1999).


Dr. Donna Aza Weir-Soley was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica and migrated to the United States at the age of 17. She attended high school in both Jamaica and New York, but received her diploma from Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, New York.  She graduated summa cum laude from the City University of New York, Hunter College.  Weir-Soley was a Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellow at the Oxford Center for African Studies at Jesus College, Oxford University in the summer of 1989. She received the Andrew Mellon Graduate Fellowship in the Humanities in 1990 to attend the University of California, Berkeley.  Dr. Weir-Soley graduated from Berkeley with an MA in English with a special emphasis in Creative Writing in 1993, and a Ph.D. in English Literary Studies in 2000. She is currently an Associate Professor of English, African & African Diaspora Studies and Women’s Studies at Florida International University. Professor Weir-Soley won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in 2004-2005 to complete her scholarly work, Eroticism Spirituality and Resistance in Black Women’s Writings.  It was published by the University Press of Florida in 2009.  However, her first love is poetry and her poetry collection, First Rain was published in 2006 by Peepal Tree Press in the United Kingdom. She later undertook the monumental task (with fellow writer Opal Palmer Adisa) of putting together an anthology of Caribbean writings that includes poetry, fiction and essays from 62 writers from the Anglophone, Hispanophone and Francophone Caribbean islands, and from various Caribbean diasporas including Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Her latest publication, The Woman Who Knew, is a book of poetry, published by Finishing Line Press (2016).


Under the threat of persecution, Haitian-born Carl-Philippe Juste and his politically active family were forced to flee their homeland in 1965.  Settling in Miami’s Haitian community, Juste flourished academically and attended the University of Miami.  He vigorously pursued photojournalism and, since 1991, has worked as a photojournalist for The Miami Herald.

Juste has covered many international and national stories for The Miami Herald. He has carried out extensive assignments for the Miami Herald, in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.  In addition, he has worked on three documentary projects for the Historical Museum of Southern Florida: At the Crossroad: Afro-Cuban Orisha Arts in Miami (2001) and South American Musical Traditions in Miami (2002), Haitian Community Arts: Images by Iris PhotoCollective, and all are funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Juste has been a guest lecturer for various national organizations and universities. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. His work has been exhibited in various prestigious institutions and galleries in Cuba, Dominican Republic and the United States. Carl-Philippe Juste is one of the founders of Iris Photo Collective in 1998, a collaboration to create a new context in order to explore and document the relationship of people of color to the world. Juste also founded IPC Visual Lab, a new school of thought teaching the art of photojournalism as a visual language.


Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, M.J. Fievre moved to the United States in 2002.  She currently writes from Miami.

M.J.’s publishing career began as a teenager in Haiti. At nineteen years-old, she signed her first book contract with Hachette-Deschamps, in Haiti, for the publication of a Young Adult book titled La Statuette Maléfique. Since then, M.J. has authored nine books in French that are widely read in Europe and the French Antilles. In 2013, One Moore Book released M.J.’s first children’s book, I Am Riding, written in three languages: English, French, and Haitian Creole. In 2015, Beating Windward Press published M.J.’s memoir, A Sky the Color of Chaos, about her childhood in Haiti during the brutal regime of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.​

M.J. is the author of Happy, Okay? Poems about Anxiety, Depression, Hope, and Survival (Books & Books Press, 2019) and Badass Black Girl: Questions, Quotes, and Affirmations for Teens (Mango Publishing, 2020). She helps others write their way through trauma, build community and create social change. She works with veterans, disenfranchised youth, cancer patients and survivors, victims of domestic and sexual violence, minorities, the elderly, those with chronic illness or going through transition and any underserved population in need of writing as a form of therapy—even if they don’t realize that they need writing or therapy.

A long-time educator and frequent keynote speaker (Tufts University, Massachusetts; Howard University, Washington, D.C.; the University of Miami, Florida; and Michael College, Vermont; and a panelist at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, AWP), M.J. is available for book club meetings, podcast presentations, interviews and other author events.

Contact MJ @ 954-391-3398 or emailhappyokay@gmail.com.

ReadCaribbean is a series of readings, discussions, writing workshops and more highlighting the vibrant and diverse literary culture of the Caribbean. It is a Miami Book Fair program created with the support of the Green Family Foundation and the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center.


$20.00Read more


Saturday, March 7, 2020
9:30 am


English, Creole
All Year


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Iris PhotoCollective Art Space at the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance
225 NE 59th St, Miami, FL 33137 United States
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