Neustadt International Prize

1994 - Edward Kamau Brathwaite

Born: 11 May 1930, Bridgetown, Barbados

Author's Quote : "The art of creation is older than the art of killing."

Field: Essayist, Novelist

Prize share: 1/1

Books Written By Edward Kamau Brathwaite

About Edward Kamau Brathwaite

Edward Kamau Brathwaite (born 11 May 1930) is widely considered one of the major voices in the Caribbean literary canon. A professor of Comparative Literature at New York University, Brathwaite is the 2006 International Winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize, for his volume of poetry Born to Slow Horses.

Born in Barbados, Caribbean poet and scholar Edward Kamau Brathwaite was educated at Harrison College in Barbados and Pembroke College in Cambridge. He earned his PhD in philosophy from the University of Sussex.

Using "nation language" as well as linguistic and typographic innovation, Brathwaite composes poems that deftly parse the connected strands of postcolonial, historical, and personal inquiry. As Publishers Weekly noted in a review of Slow Horses (2005), Brathwaite's work is "omnivorously synthetic, insistently local, sinuously syncopated and consistently exciting."

Co-founder of the Caribbean Artists Movement, Brathwaite is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Elegguas (2010), the Griffin International Poetry Prize winner Slow Horses (2005), Ancestors (2001), Middle Passages (1992), and Black + Blues (1976). His first three collections, Rights of Passage (1967), Masks (1968), and Islands (1969), have been gathered into The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy (1973). He is also the author of Our Ancestral Heritage: A Bibliography of the Roots of Culture in the English-speaking Caribbean (1976) and Barbados Poetry: A Checklist: Slavery to the Present (1979).

Brathwaite's honors include the Casa de las Americas Prize for Literary Criticism, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Bussa Award, and the Charity Randall Prize for Performance and Written Poetry, as well as fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Brathwaite has worked in Ghana's Ministry of Education, as well as teaching at Harvard University, the University of the West Indies, and New York University. He lives in Barbados and New York City.


The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy--Rights of Passage / Islands / Masks - Edward Kamau Brathwaite

By Janeen

I had no idea who Kamau Brathwaite was before my freshman composition class! I must say, however, that he is definitely one of the best Caribbean writers I've read yet!

The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy--Rights of Passage / Islands / Masks - Edward Kamau Brathwaite

By Sandro

This is for anyone who likes to learn something about another culture's experience. Some useful topics to research beforehand might include African drum language, treatment of black slaves in the early history of the Caribbean, and voodoo. Even if research isn't for you there is enough wisdom and observation within Brathwaite's poetry which make The Arrivants a valuable addition to the literature lover's collection. Old British standards like "the Queen's English" are reinvented as Brathwaite will take you through a reaquaintance with culture in the name of identity. Included within is a glossary of most of the unfamiliar terms, making the reading extremely accessible.

The array of messages developed in the poetry allowing us the rare opportunity to understand the world through the eyes of a poet whose homeland is in the Caribbean, are both innovative as poetry and invaluable as a written history -- a Caribbean history which, while developed from past events, shows how interwoven we all are as humanity. The Arrivants will play "the Korabra" with your mind.