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Short Stories and Poems

The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) is having its annual Literary Festival in celebration of Caribbean American Heritage Month in June. The Institute of Caribbean Studies has fought in order to have this month to acknowledge the influence of Caribbean culture on an international scale. As writers, we know how hard it is to get our work recognized, and as authors of work influenced by the Caribbean our niche is that much smaller. This Festival seeks to share and celebrate the work of upcoming Caribbean writers, as well as established ones. It is a platform for us to support each others work and to highlight the influence we have had on other cultures.

We are seeking submissions of literary fiction from anyone who wants to be a part of this celebration. Caribbean writers have a unique voice and ICS would like to highlight the great stories and poetry that reflect those roots. Our theme this year is Climate Change and the Caribbean.

Submissions are due by May 17. Five pieces will be chosen for showcasing on our website and in our literary magazine to be handed out at our book reading in June at the PORTICO Book Store in Washington, D.C. You may submit two poems or one short story. The short story should be no more than 3,000 words, and the poem no more than 500 words each. The author should also include a short bio with their submission.

The .pdf of our 2014 Literary Magazine can be downloaded here.

We are also seeking readers for our book reading in June. If you have a book written in the past two years based on the Caribbean or Caribbean characters please send us a description of the book, the sample to be read and a biography of the author. Traditional or self-published works are accepted. Deadline for submissions to the book reading are due by April 20.

All submissions should be sent to Shanza Lewis at

2014 Literary Festival Stories

El Eco De La Memoria

A veces, sólo a veces
doy vuelta al sillón de la sala.


Lo pongo frente al ventanal
y me siento a escuchar los recuerdos.


De aquel balcón en el Trópico
con sus voces y aguaceros dispersos.

Las imágenes de siglos que se vuelcan
en un instante o en un momento.


Llegan todos ellos y se sientan
y comienza la tertulia que nunca acaba...


Los oigo hablar como hablaban,
levantarse como se levantaban.


Ir y venir por la acera de en frente
comentando enfermedades y males.


A veces competían por ser el más enfermo
o por saber cuáles eran los mejores remedios.


Pero siempre llegaban a la paz del regreso,
de hablar del ayer como un ahora.


"Se acuerdan", se decían unos a otros,
y desde entonces los escucho en el eco de la memoria.

Memory's Echo

Sometimes and only sometimes,
I turn around the rocking chair in the living room.

I place it in front of the window,
and I sit down in order to listen to memories.

Of that porch in the Tropics,
with its voices and scattered showers.

Images of centuries that come at me,
in an instant or in a moment.

They all come in and sit down,
and the conversation that never ends starts…

I hear them talk like they used to talk,
get up like they used to get up.

They come and go on the front sidewalk,
talking about diseases and conditions.

Sometimes they compete to be the most ill,
or to know which remedies they could use.

But they always arrive at the peace of going back,
of talking about yesterday as if it were today.

“Do you remember?,” they said to each other,
and since then I listen to them in the memory’s echo.

Daniel Torres nació en Caguas, Puerto Rico, en 1961. Es Catedrático de Español y Estudios Latinoamericanos en Ohio University. Sus publicaciones incluyen: dos novelas, Morirás si da una primavera (1993), Premio Letras de Oro 1991-1992 de la Universidad de Miami, y Conversaciones con Aurelia (2007); un libro de cuentos, Cabronerías: Historias de tres cuerpos (1995); un libro de crónicas, cuento y poesía titulado Mariconerías: Escritos desde el margen (2006) y los diez poemarios reunidos en En (el) imperio de (los) sentidos: Poesía (in)compleya 1981-2011 (2013). Fue Premio Nacional de Poesía del PEN Club de Puerto Rico en 2009. Su poesía ha sido inlcuida en El límite volcado: Antología de la generación de poetas de los ochenta (2000), en Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry (2008), y en la Antología del Colectivo Literario Homoerótica (2012). Como crítico literario ha publicado ensayos y libros sobre poesía hispanoamericana colonial y contemporánea.

LA LIBRETA, click to read

La Libreta tells the story of a woman from Santo Domingo living in New York. As she struggles to make ends meet in a strange and cold place, she wonders if leaving her home was worth it.

AJ Sidransky is a life long New Yorker.  He lives in Washington Heights with his wife.  He has a college age son who attends the University of Miami.

He has been writing in one form or another for many years.  Forgiving Maximo Rothman is his debut novel.  He has two new books coming out, Stealing a Summer’s Afternoon, a black comedy, in June 2014 and Forgiving Mariela Comacho in early 2015, a thriller and sequel to Forgiving Maximo Rothman.

Mr. Sidransky has had a varied and interesting professional life.  He has worked as a banker, commercial mortgage broker and Internet entrepreneur.  He is a trained Chef, (a graduate of the French Culinary Institute), and a Certified Personal Trainer. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut.

Mr. Sidransky is on the steering committee of Viva tu Vida/Live Your Life, an anti childhood obesity non-profit in upper Manhattan and sits on the executive committee of Yeshiva University’s Community Development Board.  He travels to the Dominican Republic frequently and is fluent in Spanish.  Aside from his next novel, which is to be set in the Dominican Republic, he is working on a series of articles about Jewish life in Latin America that will appear in a major Jewish American daily.

Cascadu Love Affair

Harry says he’ll die,

If Leela (who really likes him)

doh sen’ him some cascadu


Doux-doux, leh meh try yuh han’

Salt fish cook-up wid nice, steam yam

And if yuh want meh stay fuh true

Then ah want yuh make some cascadu

Curry it sweet or stew it nice

Dat goin’ good wid bagee rice

O gosh, gyul, ah tastin’ plantain too

Ah feelin’ fuh a cascadu

Yuh could steam it up wid melongene

And pepper it wid some bird cayenne

Make de ting however yuh choose

Dis fellar lookin’ fuh cascadu

Yuh could fry de fish in a big coal pot

And make sure it servin’ hot, hot, hot

Yuh could colour it up wid some red roucou

Gyul fix meh up wid cascadu

Yuh know ah done gone quite Canada

It does make cold like hell in November

So me eh care if you is warahoon

Ah beggin’ yuh, woman … cascadu!

Dis place have all meh pores raise up

I lookin’ like how when chicken does pluck

It doh matter if ah wear ten socks and shoes

Lawd, Fadder hear meh! … cascadu!

Ah have one sweet job up in Toronto

An’ meh wife dey she eh want me to go

She does put plenty stay-home in meh food

O Lad! Meh only hope is cascadu!

Boss-man an’ all eh’ want me leave

He fixin’ meh papers for permanency

Meh head so hot, me eh know what to do!

Ah beggin! Sen’ meh some cascadu!

Ah doh want to be in no cold, cold town

Ah feelin’ to be Trinbago bound

But ah ‘fraid meh visa get renew

O Gawd gyul … cascadu!

I like yuh doux-doux, I like yuh bad

So even if is jus’ wid green salad

I dyin’ to come back home fuh true!

Lawd! Ah beggin! … cascadu!

I like yuh! Doh feel is mamaguy

When I see yuh ah only givin’ sweet eye

So cook up some fish wid nice coo-coo

Meh mine only stick on cascadu

Mail it by some express route

‘Else ah go freeze gyul! … cascadu!

Nneka Edwards was born in Canada but grew up in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean. Nneka is a prolific poet who has a combined total of over ten poetry ebooks on both Amazon and iTunes. She holds a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and a master’s degree in International Cooperation from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. She is conversant in Spanish, French and Chinese. 

Theme: No matter where we go in the world, we never lose our Trini roots!

BLOOD RISING, click to read

Even in the halcyon Caribbean, there are things we would rather forget...

St. Kitts-Nevis born Carol Ottley-Mitchell is the self-published author of nine children’s books. Eight of the books are based in the Caribbean and children reading these books get an engaging peek into the culture, history, and geography of the Caribbean. Carol’s children’s books have been nominated for the 2014 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Children’s Literature. Carol’s work for adult audiences has appeared, among other places, in Poui: The Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing and in the St. Somewhere Journal. She has written for newspapers in St. Kitts, she blogs with several other authors at NovelSpaces and maintains her own blog.

The Journey Through Time

Your voice is like a musical song

But I am having problems understanding

What is your native tongue?

The words spilled from the man interviewing

A lump of disbelief appear

(Breathe, remember articulate, speak a little clearer)

The Queen, her language we share

(Breathe, remember to speak a little slower)

Trinidad was also under her care

Data entry would be best

You will love it there

No meetings with clients yet

There will be nothing to fear

What rubbish, my mind screamed

But my strict, 

don’t answer back, up-bringing, 

grudgingly agreed

To college I went at nights

A good education my West Indian parents said makes things right

At the Bank I practiced the art of speaking

But yet again

I was passed up for management training

My sense of humor hid the pain

I still was not ready to assimilate

I now had to divide me to reign

Be a Trini at home only; to integrate

I changed my fight

I shaped a different me

I began to absorb this life

My kids, they needed me

They will live here, you see

Sadly, hubby did not see the need

So we each trudged our own pathway

My parents hung their heads in shame

Indian women are trained to obey

Years rolled by

My faith returned as my guide

I finally found my voice

I finally found my pride

I am no longer a lost girl who cries

I am a blend of two worlds

Showing others where the journey lies

My name is Soraya Kalpee Loutoo, you can call me Raya. I was born on the island of Trinidad. I grew up in Ste Madeleine and attended Naparima Girls High School in San Fernando. After graduation I migrated to the United States where I went to college at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland and later to University of Maryland, University College. I love to share my life’s teaching with others in the form of poetry.

EVENTS 2020 

This is a calendar of ONLINE STREAMED events  unless otherwise specified:

JUNE 1       
Official Opening  
Sisters in Arms Empowerment Movement Conference

Voice & Verse (Coral Springs)         

JUNE 3-7     
Caribbean American Legislative Week begins (Census 2020: OnlineConference Call) 

JUNE  5-6     
Caribbean American Legislative Forum/Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill

JUNE 6-11  
Caribbean Reel - 19th Annual DC Caribbean Film Festival

JUNE  7   
Ignite Caribbean: 30 Under 30 Emerging Leaders Awards  & Forum 

JUNE  8      
World Oceans Day. Become a Caribbean SEA FAN and Celebrate World Oceans Day!

Salute to Hollywood & Excellence (Los Angeles)

JUNE 18     
Census 2020 Summit 

How Are You Caribbean? Take our Poll
 By Birth
 By Mother
 By Father
 By Both Parents
 By GrandMother
 By GrandFather
 By GrandParents
 By Marriage
 By Adoption

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National Caribbean American Heritage Foundation
dba/Caribbean American Heritage Month 

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Phone: (202).638.0460  or  (202).638.0460