Image: Courtesy Shenece Oretha
Writer and poet M. NourbeSe Philip reads and performs from her written work live on zoom to audiences congregated within Shenece Oretha’s installation at/Tribute
This listening room closes the Strange Echoes
convening. Curated by poet Olivia Douglass, Strange Echoes
is a series of talks, workshops, screenings and spoken word events celebrating the work of writer M. NourbeSe Philip and artists at the forefront of Black British experimental writing.
M. NourbeSe Philip is a Tobago-born unembedded poet, essayist, novelist, playwright and independent scholar who lives in the space-time of the City of Toronto where she practised law for seven years before becoming a poet and writer. Among her published works are the seminal She Tries Her Tongue; Her Silence Softly Breaks; the speculative prose poem Looking for Livingstone: An Odyssey of Silence; the young adult novel, Harriet’s Daughter; the play, Coups and Calypsos, and four collections of essays including her most recent collection, BlanK. Her book-length poem, Zong!, is a conceptually innovative, genre-breaking epic, which explodes the legal archive as it relates to slavery. Zong! was named the 2021 winner of World Literature Today’s 21 Books for the 21st Century.
Among her awards are numerous Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council grants, including the prestigious Chalmers Award (Ontario Arts Council), the Canada Council’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award (Outstanding mid-career artist), as well as the Pushcart Prize (USA), the Casa de las Americas Prize (Cuba), the Lawrence Foundation Prize (USA), the Arts Foundation of Toronto Writing and Publishing Award (Toronto), and Dora Award finalist (Drama). Her fellowships include Guggenheim, McDowell, and Rockefeller (Bellagio). She is an awardee of both the YWCA Woman of Distinction (Arts) and the Elizabeth Fry Rebels for a Cause awards. She has been Writer-in-Residence at several universities and a guest at writers’ retreats. M. NourbeSe Philip is the 2020 recipient of PEN / Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. She is also the 2021 recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts’ lifetime achievement award, the Molson Prize, for her “invaluable contributions to literature.”