*UPDATED* 38th Annual West Indian Literature Conference

“HINTERLANDS : Journeys of the Imagination”

17-20th October 2019
University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus
Georgetown, Guyana

CFP Deadline: 20 June 2019 

Image: “Palace of the Peacock – Homage to Wilson Harris”,
George Simon, Phibert Gajadhar, Anil Roberts,
University of Guyana (2009)

Among the most significant origins of West Indian Literature is The Discovery of Guiana (1597) by one of the “ancestral murderers and poets” (Walcott), Sir Walter Ralegh. The quest for gold, the dream of wealth and power inspired centuries of “history, fable and myth” (Harris), which saw Ralegh himself, and generations of West Indian writers in pursuit of the elusive El Dorado, hidden in the mysteries of the Guianese Hinterland. The “Interiors” (McWatt), the “heartland”, the rainforests – the “hinterland”, is that vast unfathomable region that is largely unexplored, untamed, dynamic; whose definition is yet incomplete and the subject of a continuing journey of exploration and of the imagination.

That is West Indian literature at this time. That is what this conference seeks to interrogate. It is the subject of the conference and a concept of Guyana – the country in which the 38th Annual West Indian Literature Conference will be held.

Deepening the concept and the identity of West Indian Literature is the experience of colonialism, a contributing factor that is “not to be outgrown” (Baugh). It has helped to shape a literature with extensive periods and areas of influences such as profound advancements in post-colonialism, forms of post- modernism, feminism and linguistic diversification. The conference invites explorations of these in acknowledgement of the several new areas influencing, affecting, and now being included within the complex range of study that is West Indian literature.

Thus, the concept of Hinterlands will include the foundations – some special attention to the heritage of Wilson Harris, Derek Walcott, and V.S. Naipaul.
It will, as well, invite investigations of the journeys of the imagination on which the several new writers to have emerged in the past two decades have embarked. These journeys have transmigrated through kindred art forms specifically led by 
film, which is now an established companion in this continuing quest. Film is a part of the artistic diversification, but it is also influenced by technology, which is a factor in the latest literary genres and forms.

Other relevant areas include:

  • images
  • the visual arts (the fine arts)
  • oral literature
  • performance traditions
  • theatre
  • dance hall
  • chutney
  • soca
  • spoken word and performance poetry
  • creole languages.

The conference invites papers on specific areas within the Guyanese experience, which have also been strong in other parts of the Caribbean, such as

  • Chinese Immigration
  • The Chinese presence and impact on the literature.
  • East Indian Indentureship
  • The recent commemoration of 100 years since the end of indentureship.
  • The Amerindian Presence — has been a factor in Guyana and Belize since El Dorado, with
  • strong influences in oral literature; in myth.
  • The International Year of Indigenous Languages Explorations – patois, creoles, Amerindian
  • languages and their related literatures.
  • The UN Decade of People of African Descent.
  • The Portuguese Presence in Guyana.

Deadline for submitting abstracts is Thursday June 20, 2019.
Notifications of acceptances will be sent by Sunday June 30, 2019
Submit abstracts to:

Alim Hosein
Head, Dept. of Language and Cultural Studies
University of Guyana
Georgetown, Guyana.

Dr. Roslin Khan
Dept. of Language and Cultural Studies

Al Creighton, Jnr
Dean, Faculty of Education and Humanities


  • Film Festival
    • Caribbean Films
    • Guyanese Short Films
  • Theatre
  • The Fine Arts
    • Exhibition – “Hinterlands : Journeys of the Imagination
  • International Year of Indigenous Languages
  • The Journal of Education and the Humanities – Launching
  • The Guyana Prize for Literature
  • Literary Festival
    • Exhibition of Guyanese Literature and Writers
    • Exhibition of Guyana Prize Winners
    • The Guyana Prize Caribbean Award
    • Exhibition of Winners
  • Literary Readings
    • West Indian Writers
    • Guyanese Writers
  • The Martin Carter Memorial Lecture
  • The Edgar Mittelholzer Memorial Lecture
  • National Poetry Slam
    • Spoken Word Poetry
    • Performance Poetry and Hip Hop

For more information, email or call Alim Hosein at alim.hosein@uog.edu.gy,  Tel. 592 222 5501.

Above text adapted from emailed announcement.