Afro-Canadian poet, writer, and activist M. NourbeSe Philip will perform from her recent book, Zong!, a radical collection of poetry that tries to come to terms with the 1781 tragedy of the slave-ship Zong, from which ship over 150 African men, women, and children were thrown overboard as part of an insurance claim. No one was ever tried for their murder, and all that survives recording the incident is a two-page legal decision, Gregson v. Gilbert, named for and concerned with the ship’s owners and insurers, not the Africans onboard. It has been described by Juliana Spahr as “exceptional and uniquely moving.”
Philip’s performance will be accompanied by an original musical composition by SUNY Geneseo’s Glenn McClure.
M. NourbeSe Philip is the acclaimed author of four books of poetry, two collections of essays, a play, a novel, several short stories, and other writings; her work features in the Norton Anthology of English Literature. The recipient of many illustrious international awards, including the Casa de las Americas prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a McDowell Fellowship, a Chalmers Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Foundation residency, Philip has read and performed her work internationally, including as writer-in-residence at the University of the West Indies and as part of The Scream Literary Festival. She lives and writes in Toronto, where she has previously been the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore.