Colin Channer

Colin Channer (born 13 October 1963) is a Jamaican writer, often referred to as "Bob Marley with a pen," due to the spiritual, sensual, social themes presented from a literary Jamaican perspective. Indeed, his first two full-length novels, Waiting in Vain and Satisfy My Soul, bear the titles of well known Marley songs. He has also written the short story collection Passing Through, and the novellas I'm Still Waiting and The Girl with the Golden Shoes. Some of his short stories have been anthologized.

Early life

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Colin Channer is the youngest of four children. He attended the Ardenne and Meadowbrook High Schools, where his writing career began with the penning of love poems and other such correspondence on behalf of male students at $1 a letter—poems costing an extra 50 cents. After high school, Channer migrated to New York on 24 July 1982,[1] intent on a career in journalism. But it was his discovery of Caryl Phillips' The Final Passage that allowed him to see the possibilities of fiction writing from an authentic Caribbean—specifically Jamaican—perspective. Channer went on to earn a B.A. in Media Communications from CUNY Hunter College.

In 1988, Channer moved to Atlanta, where he lived for three years, working as a magazine journalist. He returned to New York in 1991 after undergoing a cornea transplant to save his failing eyesight. He began writing his first novel on speculation, then attempted to get it sold. In this time, he worked as a freelance copyeditor in various design firms and advertising agencies. He also wrote a collection of short stories and a screenplay without guarantee that any of them would be released. Two of the short stories were anthologized in Soulfires. In 1998, the novel was published as Waiting In Vain, which was selected as a Critic’s Choice by The Washington Post and hailed as a clear redefinition of the Caribbean novel. The novel, whose main characters were Jamaican, dealt with contemporary issues of class and identity in a multicultural context. Waiting in Vain was also excerpted in Hot Spots: The best erotic writing in Modern Fiction, which placed Channer in the company of writers such as Russell Banks, E. L. Doctorow, Don DeLillo, and David Foster Wallace. Time Out New York also selected this award-winning book as Book of the Summer.

The screenplay became the novella I'm Still Waiting, which was one of four anthologized stories in the volume Got To Be Real. The book itself was singular in that it was a collection by the leading black male writers of the day, the others being E. Lynn Harris, Eric Jerome Dickey, and Marcus Major.

Another of the short stories from that period was developed into his second novel, Satisfy My Soul. Released in 2002, Satisfy My Soul depicted the conflict between African spirituality and Christianity in the context of Black relationships.

Passing Through, published in 2004, is a collection of connected stories set on the fictional Caribbean island of San Carlos. The stories span the entire twentieth century and move in chronological order from 1903 to the present day.

Literary style

Channer has cited Naguib Mahfouz, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, V.S. Naipaul, John Updike, and even Bob Marley among his influences. Similar to Marley, Channer has established his literary style with an unapologetic sensuality, contemporary themes with profound thematic undercurrents, diverse backdrops such as Ghana, London, New York City, and Jamaica, as well as dialogue steeped in Jamaican patois. This has also caused many critics to deem him a reggae writer.

Additional ventures

Although he is best known as a novelist, Colin Channer’s influence has reached beyond the world of literature to touch the public with his words in other ways. In 2001, he was named as co-creative director of Eziba, an online retailer of global handicrafts which went out of business in 2005.[2] After his successes with Eziba, he launched his own design and branding firm, Squad 1962. Based in Chelsea, Squad 1962 was retained by Island Outpost, the collection of boutique hotels created by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee who launched the global careers of musicians such as Bob Marley, U2 and Melissa Etheridge.

In 2001, along with poet Kwame Dawes, Channer also launched the Calabash International Literary Festival Trust,[3] a registered not-for-profit entity whose mission is "to transform the literary arts in the Caribbean by being the region’s best-managed producer of workshops, seminars and performances." The annual festival takes place each year at Jake’s in Treasure Beach, Jamaica.[4]

Calabash has become the festival of choice for some of the world’s most gifted authors. 2005 launched The Calabash Chapbook Series, which, to date, includes six books of poems from workshop members. Of these, Ishion Hutchinson, was accepted into NYU’s creative writing master’s program. In July 2006, Akashic Books published the fiction anthology Iron Balloons: Hit Fiction from Jamaica's Calabash Writer's Workshop from the original workshop. Channer edited the volume, as well as contributing the short story "How to Beat a Child the Right and Proper Way".

In addition to being the founder and artistic director of Calabash, Channer is the founder and bass player of the reggae band pecock Jaxxon. Channer has taught in London, New York City, and Jamaica. He was an assistant professor of English and coordinator of the B.A. creative writing program at CUNY Medgar Evers College and is currently a Newhouse Visiting Professor in Creative Writing at Wellesley College. A dual citizen of Jamaica and the United States, Channer lives with his family in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

List of publications

  • Soulfires: Young Black Men on Love and Violence, with the short stories "Black Boy, Brown Girl, Brownstone" and "The Ballad of the Sad Chanteuse" (Penguin, 1996)
  • Waiting In Vain (One World/Ballantine, 1998)
  • Got To Be Real, with the novella "I'm Still Waiting", (New American Library, 2000)
  • Satisfy My Soul (One World/Ballantine, 2002)
  • Passing Through (One World/Ballantine, 2004)
  • Iron Balloons (Akashic Books, 2006)
  • The Girl with the Golden Shoes (Akashic Books, 2007)


  1. ^ Interview with Colin Channer, 1 February 2003.
  2. ^ ", we hardly knew ye," Internet Retailer, 30 June 2011.
  3. ^ Info, Calabash Festival website.
  4. ^ Biography, Colin Channer website.

External links

Calabash International Literary Festival

The Calabash International Literary Festival is a three-day festival in Jamaica staged on a biennial basis on even years (having been held annually in its first decade). It was founded in 2001 by novelist Colin Channer, poet Kwame Dawes and producer Justine Henzell; Channer resigned at the end of 2010, saying in his explanation: "The ultimate goal of leadership must never be its own survival, but to become obsolete. I am glad this time has come." In 2014 there was a larger international content including leading literary figures and musicians, and the current incarnation of the festival was described in April 2016 as "an affirmation of the steady movement towards an unfolding of a vision of something that began modestly, but full of hope and giddy ambition 15 years ago".Now acknowledged as "a world-class literary festival", Calabash takes place in the village of Treasure Beach on Jamaica's south coast. Among the international authors who have taken part are Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Jamaica Kincaid, Colum McCann, Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, Junot Diaz, Michael Ondaatje, Elizabeth Alexander, Russell Banks, Edwidge Danticat, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Caryl Phillips, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Chigozie Obioma, Tishani Doshi, Mervyn Morris, Kei Miller, Marlon James, Eleanor Catton, and many others.An anthology entitled Much Things to Say: 100 Poets from the First Ten Years of the Calabash International Literary Festival was published in 2010.

Caribbean literature

Caribbean literature is the term generally accepted for the literature of the various territories of the Caribbean region. Literature in English specifically from the former British West Indies may be referred to as Anglo-Caribbean or, in historical contexts, West Indian literature, although in modern contexts the latter term is rare.Most of these territories have become independent nations since the 1960s, though some retain colonial ties to the United Kingdom. They all share, apart from the English language, a number of political, cultural, and social ties which make it useful to consider their literary output in a single category. The more wide-ranging term "Caribbean literature" generally refers to the literature of all Caribbean territories regardless of language—whether written in English, Spanish, French, Hindustani, or Dutch, or one of numerous creoles.


Channer is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Alice Channer (born 1977), British sculptor

Colin Channer (born 1963), Jamaican writer

George Channer (1843–1905), recipient of the Victoria Cross

Grace Channer (born 1959), African-Canadian artist

E. Lynn Harris

Everette Lynn Harris (June 20, 1955 – July 23, 2009) was an American author. Openly gay, he was best known for his depictions of African-American men who were on the down-low and closeted. He authored ten consecutive books that made The New York Times Best Seller list, making him among the most successful African-American or gay authors of his era.

Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Fort Greene is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Part of Brooklyn Community Board 2 and served by the New York City Police Department's 88th Precinct, Fort Greene is listed on the New York State Registry and on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a New York City–designated Historic District. It is located in northwest Brooklyn in the area known as South Brooklyn, just across from Lower Manhattan and north of Prospect Park.

The neighborhood is named after an American Revolutionary War era fort that was built in 1776 under the supervision of General Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island. General Greene aided General George Washington during the Battle of Long Island in 1776. Fort Greene Park, originally called "Washington Park" and Brooklyn's first, is also derived from General Greene's name and from the neighborhood. In 1864, Fort Greene Park was redesigned by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux; the park notably includes the Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument and crypt, which honors some 11,500 patriots who died aboard British prison ships during the American Revolution.

Fort Greene contains many examples of mid-19th century Italianate and Eastlake architecture, most of which is well preserved. It is known for its many tree-lined streets and elegant low-rise housing. Fort Greene is also home to the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower, which, for over 80 years, was the tallest building in Brooklyn. The neighborhood is close to the Atlantic Terminal railway station and has access to many subway services.

Hunter College

Hunter College is one of the constituent colleges of the City University of New York, an American public university. It is located in the Lenox Hill neighborhood of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City. The college offers studies in more than one hundred undergraduate and postgraduate fields across five schools. It also administers Hunter College High School and Hunter College Elementary School.Hunter was founded in 1870 as a women's college; it first admitted male freshmen in 1946. The main campus has been located on Park Avenue since 1873. In 1943, Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated Franklin Delano Roosevelt's and her former townhouse to the college; the building was reopened in 2010 as the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.The college is the only one in the nation whose roster of alumni includes two female Nobel laureates in medicine.

Jamaican literature

Jamaican literature is internationally renowned, with the island of Jamaica being the home or birthplace of many important authors. One of the most distinctive aspects of Jamaican literature is its use of the local dialect — a variation of English, the country's official language. Known to Jamaicans as "patois", and now sometimes described as "nation language", this creole has become an important element in Jamaican fiction, poetry and theater.

Notable writers and intellectuals from elsewhere in the Caribbean region studied at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, include St. Lucian Nobel prize-winner, Derek Walcott, the late Guyanese historian and scholar Walter Rodney, and Grenadian poet and short story writer Merle Collins.

Kwame Dawes

Kwame Senu Neville Dawes (born 28 July 1962 in Ghana) is a Ghanaian poet, actor, editor, critic, musician, and former Louis Frye Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of South Carolina. He is now Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and editor-in-chief at Prairie Schooner magazine. New York-based Poets & Writers named Dawes as a recipient of the 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, which recognises writers who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community.

Leone Ross

Leone Ross (born 26 June 1969, Coventry, England) is a British novelist, short story writer, editor, journalist and academic, who is of Jamaican and Scottish ancestry.

Lindsay Barrett

Carlton Lindsay Barrett, also known as Eseoghene (born 15 September 1941), is a Jamaican-born poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist and photographer who since 1966 has lived in Nigeria, of which country he became a citizen in the mid-1980s. He initially drew critical attention for his debut novel, Song for Mumu, which on publication in 1967 was favourably noticed by such reviewers as Edward Baugh and Marina Maxwell (who respectively described it as "remarkable" and "significant"); more recently it has been commended for its "pervading passion, intensity, and energy", referred to as a classic, and features on "must-read" lists of Jamaican books. Particularly during the 1960s and 1970s, Barrett was a participant in significant drama and film projects in Britain, and became well known as an experimental and progressive essayist, his work being concerned with issues of black identity and dispossession, the African Diaspora, and the survival of descendants of black Africans, now dispersed around the world.

One of his sons is the Nigerian writer A. Igoni Barrett, with whom he has also worked professionally.

List of Brown University people

The following is a partial list of notable Brown University people, known as Brunonians. It includes alumni, professors, and others associated with Brown University and Pembroke College (Brown University), the former women's college of Brown.

List of Hunter College people

The list of Hunter College people includes notable graduates, professors and other people affiliated with Hunter College of the City University of New York.

List of Jamaican writers

This is a list of Jamaican writers, including writers either from or associated with Jamaica.

List of Jamaicans

The following is a list of notable people from Jamaica. The list includes some non-resident Jamaicans who were born in Jamaica.

List of novelists by nationality

Well-known authors of novels, listed by country:

See also: Lists of authors, List of poets, List of playwrights, List of short story authors

Meadowbrook High School, Jamaica

Meadowbrook High School is a government-aided learning institution located in the suburbs of Kingston, Jamaica. It is co-educational, first-to-sixth form, secondary school located in the community of Meadowbrook in the parish of St. Andrew. It was founded on March 13, 1958 by the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Achievement of Staff

Spanish Teacher of the Year 2013 -Errol Haughton

Publication of novels -Coleen Smith-Dennis

October 13

October 13 is the 286th day of the year (287th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 79 days remaining until the end of the year.

Postcolonial literature

Postcolonial literature is the literature by people from formerly colonized countries. It exists on all continents except Antarctica. Postcolonial literature often addresses the problems and consequences of the decolonization of a country, especially questions relating to the political and cultural independence of formerly subjugated people, and themes such as racialism and colonialism. A range of literary theory has evolved around the subject. It addresses the role of literature in perpetuating and challenging what postcolonial critic Edward Said refers to as cultural imperialism.Migrant literature and postcolonial literature show some considerable overlap. However, not all migration takes place in a colonial setting, and not all postcolonial literature deals with migration. A question of current debate is the extent to which postcolonial theory also speaks to migration literature in non-colonial settings.

Valzhyna Mort

Valzhyna Mort (born Valhyna Martynava, 1981, Minsk, Belarus) is a Belarusian poet who now lives in the United States.

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