Copyright Conversation: Zong! The Politics of Translation with M. nourbeSe Philip
PLEO is excited to announce the return of our Copyright Conversations series! Taking Our Voice: Copyright as a Tool to Achieve Equity, will take a deep dive into the experiences of several artists as they work to navigate complex copyright issues.
The first of the series, planned for Fair Dealing week, will raise questions of fairness and equity when dealing with issues of translation. PLEO Founder and Legal Director Martha Rans will be joined by writer, painter and scholar, Stéphane Martelly, and Toronto-based poet, author, and lawyer M. nourbeSe Philip to discuss Philip’s experience of having her book-length poetry cycle Zong! misrepresented as a result of the text being translated without her consultation.
About M. nourbeSe Philip:
Toronto-based poet, writer, and lawyer, M. nourbeSe Philip has been the recipient of Canada Council awards, numerous Ontario Arts Council grants and was the recipient of a Toronto Arts Council award. In l988 Philip won the prestigious Casa de las Americas prize for the manuscript version of her book, She Tries Her Tongue, for which she also won the Tradewinds Collective prize (Trinidad & Tobago) in both the poetry and the short story categories.
Philip’s first novel, Harriet’s Daughter, was one of two runners-up in the l989 Canadian Library Association Prize for children’s literature, and first runner-up in the Max and Greta Abel Award for Multicultural Literature. In 1990, Philip was made a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry and in 1991 became a McDowell Fellow. In l994, Philip’s short story, “Stop Frame” was awarded the Lawrence Foundation Award, and in 1995 she was awarded the Toronto Arts Award in writing and publishing.
M. nourbeSe Philip has been recognized for her work as “a revolutionary poet, writer and thinker” by the Elizabeth Fry Society of Toronto which presented her their 2001 “Rebels for a Cause” award. That same year, Philip was the recipient of the YWCA “Woman of Distinction” award in the Arts. In 2002 she was awarded a Chalmers Fellowship in Poetry and was featured on the Black Heritage Month poster. She has sat as the writer in residence at Toronto Women’s Bookstore and at McMaster University.
Philip’s short stories, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in magazines and journals in North America and England, and her poetry has been extensively anthologized. Her work – poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, is taught widely at the university level and is the subject of much academic writing and critique.
In 2008, The Mercury Press and Wesleyan University Press published NourbeSe Philip’s collection of poetry, Zong!, an extended 182-page poetry cycle, composed entirely from the words in the case report, Gregson vs. Gilbert, related to the murder of Africans on board a slave ship at the end of the eighteenth century.
About Stéphane Martelly:
Writer, painter and scholar, Stéphane Martelly was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Through a profoundly transdisciplinary approach, she confronts theory, critical reflection and art in her work. She has published poetry [La Boîte noire suivi de Départs 2004)] and children’s tales [Couleur de rue, 1999 and L’Homme aux cheveux de fougère, 2002]. Her pictorial works are showcased in the digital art book Folie passée à la chaux vive (Madness spent in quicklime) (Publie.net, 2010).
Her scholarly work notably includes working in the Montreal-based Life Stories Of Montrealers Displaced By War, Genocide And Other Human Rights Violations as a researcher and coordinator. She also wrote a monography on Haitian poet Magloire-Saint-Aude (Le Sujet opaque, 2001) and several articles on Caribbean literature. Her latest essay in research-creation is: Les Jeux du dissemblable. Folie, marge et féminin en littérature haïtienne contemporaine, Nota Bene, 2016.
Her recent publications are La Maman qui s’absentait (Vents d’Ailleurs, 2011), Inventaires (Triptyque, 2016) and L’enfant gazelle (Remue-Ménage, 2018).
Since 2019 Martelly has held the position of Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Arts, Languages and Literature at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec.