So Many Islands

Editor Nicholas Laughlin (Trinidad) is joined by Heather Barker (Barbados), Angela Barry (Bermuda), Kendel Hippolyte (St Lucia) and Karlo Mila (Tonga)

Friday 28th August


Headshots of Karlo Mila,Kendal Hippolyte, Heather Barker, Nicholas Laughlin, and Anglea Barry

Bocas Lit Fest

‘Some days I’ve been on dry land for too long’ begins Karlo Mila’s ‘Oceania’, the opening poem in So Many Islands, an anthology of bold new island writing from the shores of the Caribbean and Mediterranean, the Indian and Pacific Oceans. From themes of revolution and protest to climate change and family politics, this collection offers a vibrant portrait of the small islands that the writers call home.

CommonWealth Writers Conversations

Editor Nicholas Laughlin (Trinidad) is joined by writers Heather Barker (Barbados), Angela Barry (Bermuda) Kendel Hippolyte (St Lucia) and Karlo Mila (Tonga) to revisit So Many Islands in the age of coronavirus.

We are delighted to offer this event in partnership with Bocas Lit Fest and Commonwealth Writers.

How to watch this event

This event starts at 7.30pm on Friday 28th August. To watch the event just visit this page at the start time and you'll be able to watch the event for free.

Subtitles/Closed Captions

If you would like to access YouTube's automated subtitles while you're watching the event, just click on the small 'CC' icon, which you'll see at the bottom right of your video screen, and then the subtitles should appear for you. Please note that as these are automated they are not always 100% reliable.

Audience participation

Nicholas Laughlin, Heather Barker and Kendel Hippolyte will be online during their event screening to answer questions from the audience. Emma D’Costa from Commonwealth Writers will also be available. Simply type a question for them into the YouTube Live Chat box.


Donate via PayPal

We are paying all of our contributors, so although the events are free we do still have costs. All donations, however small, are very gratefully received and will support our authors and our festival during a difficult time.

About the speakers

Nicholas Laughlin

Nicholas Laughlin is a writer and editor from Trinidad. He is editor of the popular arts and travel magazine Caribbean Beat, and in 2004 he revived the literary journal The Caribbean Review of Books, covering Caribbean writing for a general audience, published in print and online. As programme director of the Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago’s annual literary festival, he works to bring contemporary Caribbean writers to broader audiences, with a special focus on new literary talent. He is also co-director of Alice Yard, a non-profit contemporary art space in Port of Spain. He has two poetry collections, The Strange Years of My Life (2015) and Enemy Luck (2019), both published by Peepal Tree Press.

Heather Barker

Heather Barker writes fiction from Barbados about girls and women in the Caribbean and the African Diaspora. Her short story, ‘African Burial Ground’, was shortlisted for the 2016 Small Axe Literary Competition while her manuscript, ‘The Plundering’, came top in 2017 in the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment. Heather was also shortlisted for the 2019 Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize. Heather’s writing is in publications in the Caribbean, US, and UK including So Many Islands: Stories from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian, and Pacific Oceans (Peekash Press [US], Telegram [UK]).

Angela Barry

Angela Barry, from Bermuda, holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her writing has been published in journals including The Massachusetts Review and is one of the contributors of So Many Islands: Stories from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian and Pacific Oceans. She is the author of Endangered Species and Other Stories and Gorée: Point of Departure, published by Peepal Tree Press. She resides in Bermuda.

Kendel Hippolyte

Kendel Hippolyte is a poet, playwright and director and sporadic researcher into areas of Saint Lucian and Caribbean arts and culture. His poetry has been published in journals and anthologies regionally and internationally. He has taught poetry workshops in various countries and performed at literary events within the Caribbean and beyond. His latest collection is Wordplanting, and he is the author of seven previous collections of poetry, including Fault Lines, which won the OCM Bocas Prize for Poetry in 2013.

Karlo Mila

Dr Karlo Mila (Tongan / Pākehā) MNZM is an award-winning poet, mother, writer, activist and researcher. She is the Programme Director of the Mana Moana Experience at Leadership New Zealand. The kaupapa of this programme is to vitalise and prioritise Pasifika ancestral knowledge in contemporary contexts. Karlo lives in Tāmaki Makaurau with her three sons. Her third poetry book, “Goddess Muscle” will be launched this year by Huia Publishers.

Browse all the books featured in the Islay Book Festival 2020 at The Celtic House

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