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Award-winning author to visit Preston for launch event

28 April 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

UCLan to welcome Caryl Philips for Black Atlantic Research Institute opening.

Award-winning playwright and novelist Caryl Philips will visit the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) for a free public event to talk about his acclaimed career.

The writer, who is the recipient of 26 awards including the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, will visit UCLan on Tuesday 13 May to attend the launch of a new research institute at the University that will focus on African Atlantic studies.

The Institute for Black Atlantic Research (IBAR) will bring together UCLan research in black British art and culture, African Atlantic literature and culture, curatorial practice in African American and African art, the literature and cultures of African rivers and black Atlantic drama and performance.

Caryl, a Professor of English at Yale University in the USA, born in St. Kitts and raised in Leeds is best known for his novels and much of his fictional work depicts the experiences of people of the African Diaspora. His novel Dancing in the Dark won the 2006 Pen/Beyond the Margins Prize, A Distant Shore won the 2004 Commonwealth Writers Prize and his 1993 book Crossing the River was shortlisted for the 1993 Booker Prize.

“The University of Central Lancashire already has an international reputation in this area, and the formal creation of an Institute will only cement its position as a leading player in this field.”

At the event Caryl will read from his new novel The Lost Child. Due to be published in early 2015, the story takes place in the north of England both now and in the eighteenth century.

He commented: “I'm very honoured to be able to join Professor Alan Rice and other scholars and researchers who are focused on Black Atlantic Research to celebrate the launching of this institute.

“The University of Central Lancashire already has an international reputation in this area, and the formal creation of an Institute will only cement its position as a leading player in this field.”

IBAR will foster partnerships with museums, galleries, broadcasters and community organisations to promote the study of the black Atlantic in the North West and beyond. These organisations include the International Slavery Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, Tate Galleries, Front Room Theatre Company, Lancashire Museums and Preston Black History Group.

“Caryl is a globally recognised author and essayist in the area of African Atlantic studies so it’s an honour to welcome him to the opening of the Institute.”

Professor in English and American studies and Director of the Institute Alan Rice said: “We are delighted to welcome Caryl to the launch event of the Institute for Black Atlantic Research which will bring together an interdisciplinary and internationally renowned research pedigree in African Atlantic studies within the University.

“Caryl is a globally recognised author and essayist in the area of African Atlantic studies so it’s an honour to welcome him to the opening of the Institute.”

The event will also showcase current IBAR research including a show reel of Curator of Contemporary British Art at Tate Britain and UCLan Doctoral student Zoe Whitley’s 2013-14 Studio Museum of Harlem co-curated show on Afro-futurism, The Shadows Took Shape. http://www.studiomuseum.org/exhibition/the-shadows-took-shape

In addition, the Institute has been awarded 300,000 euro from the EU Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship Grant to fund a two year, first ever interdisciplinary study, into the politics of horror and terror in transatlantic Gothic narratives of the Haitian Revolution from 1791 to the present.

Hosted by the School of Language, Literature and International Studies, the free IBAR launch event at UCLan’s Greenbank Building is on Tuesday 13 May 6.00pm – 9.00pm and is open to the general public. For more information or to confirm attendance please contact Lyndsay Cambridge on LCambridge@uclan.ac.uk or by calling 01772 894240.