PEN/Nabokov award winner M. NourbSe Philip to read her poetry April 14

In November of 1781, 133 Africans were murdered over a 10-day period aboard the slave ship “Zong.” M. NourbeSe Philip’s book length poem “Zong!” is a response to this seldom discussed tragedy.

PEN/Nabokov award winner M. NourbeSe Philip’s will read from “Zong!” and other works Thursday, April 14 at 5 p.m. in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall. The event is part of the Spring 2022 Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series for the Creative Writing Program in the Department of Literatures in English in the College of Arts & Sciences (A&S).

 “Zong!” was named the 2021 winner of World Literature Today’s 21 Books for the 21st Century.  As Philip writes, “Zong! tells the story that cannot be told yet must be told. Equal parts song, moan, shout, oath, ululation, curse, and chant, Zong! excavates the legal text. Memory, history, and law collide and metamorphose into the poetics of the fragment.”

Born in Tobago, Philip describes herself as an “unembedded poet, essayist, novelist, playwright, and independent scholar.” She currently resides in the City of Toronto where she practiced law for seven years before becoming a poet and writer. She is the author of “Zong!”; “She Tries Her Tongue”; “Her Silence Softly”; “Salmon Courage”; “Thorns”; “Harriet’s Daughter”; “Looking For Livingstone: An Odyssey of Silence” and numerous essay collections.

Philip’s awards include the Chalmers Award, the Canada Council’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Casa de las Americas Prize, the Lawrence Foundation Prize and the Arts Foundation of Toronto Writing and Publishing Award; she was a Dora Award finalist. She received the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature in 2020 and the Molson Prize in 2021 for her “invaluable contributions to literature.”

The April 14 reading will be open to in-person attendance for members of the Cornell community (with Cornell ID cards). Members of the public can livestream the reading. Attendees can purchase copies of “Zong!”; “She Tries Her Tongue” and “Bla_k?” on-site at the book signing following the reading from Ithaca’s cooperative bookstore, Buffalo Street Books. Copies can also be found at the Cornell Campus Store.
Barbara and David Zalaznick’s generous endowment makes it possible for the Creative Writing Program to invite several writers each year.

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M. NourbSe Philip wearing glasses and a checkered top, leaning on her hand.
M. NourbSe Philip