I have a vision of creating a Caribbean literary community for emerging writers. This community shares the goal of boldly and openly claiming our vibrant voices. This vision was slow in building and is now a passion. I desire to create a safe, encouraging environment for emerging writers in my region that allows us publish narratives that are our very own.
The need to create this community came after I began exploring the criteria to apply for membership to an established local writing community. I am “new writer” and I simply did not fit into theirs. I am not a:
Poet with a poetry collection published by an established publisher
Have a contract with an established publisher
Novelist with at least x numbers of copies sold
Ghost writer or collaborator on y number of books
Short story writer whose at minimum 10 stories have been published in print literary magazines, e-zines, and anthologies
After I realized I could not join this exclusive club of already established writers, I thought well that stung and I attempted to shrug it off. I figured I’d continue to post short form and flash fiction pieces on my Tumblr and share on my social media sites. I told myself in time, (sometime in 2016) I could self-publish a short story collection and then I would apply for membership. But time and time again my mind returned to fact that as an emerging writer, one who has not been published anywhere, except on personal blogs and almost e-zines, I am not welcomed in a Jamaica writing collective.
Where do I belong? Where do I get guidance? Who will support me and where can I champion another’s dream? Where do I get recognition? Do I even deserve this without having established myself? Where do I network with my peers?
I need this community. I figured there must be other persons who have work that they have not published. There are other writers, poets and creatives that want to move forward and I think a community would be great start. A community for Caribbean new writers.