Costa Rican Quince Duncan receives Presidents Award at Book Fair

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GREAT BAY, St. Maarten – The presentation of the Presidents Award to Dr. Quince Duncan in St. Maarten deepens Caribbean and Central American links, reported RECA Informa, an influential Central American studies newsletter.

“This recognition of the work and career of Quince Duncan deepens transregional and transnational linkages of Costa Rica and Central America with the Caribbean,” stated the lead story of the 61st edition of the Spanish language bulletin.

Costa Rican author Duncan received the Presidents Award at the 14th annual St. Martin Book Fair at the festival’s closing ceremony in Marigot, on June 4.

“I’m happy to see news about our respect for Dr. Duncan and his work and about our island-wide Book Fair activities being reported abroad,” said founder and coordinator of the literary festival Shujah Reiph.

“The Presidents Award is presented to persons and institutions, in some instances pioneers, whose work is noted for its excellence and for combining literary, cultural, and liberation components in the service of the progress of their people or nation, and of humanity,” said co-founder of the St. Martin Book Fair Lasana M. Sekou.

Duncan was born in 1940 in San José, Costa Rica. He is regarded as Costa Rica’s first Afro-Caribbean writer in the Spanish language. Duncan is well respected throughout Central America and internationally recognized for his scholarly and organizational work on human rights and ethno-racial relations. “It is exactly for his ongoing literary, cultural studies, and human rights work that Dr. Quince Duncan was presented with the Presidents Award,” said Sekou.

The novels and short stories of Dr. Duncan have been awarded Costa Rica’s National Literature Prize (Premio Nacional de Literatura) and Premio Editorial Costa Rica. His works typically concern the Afro-Caribbean population living on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, particularly around the city of Puerto Limón.

Duncan’s novel A Message from Rosa is available in English. It is one of his four bilingual titles (English, Spanish and/or French). Duncan has taught English, Literature, and Latin American Studies at the National University, Costa Rica, and at the University of Alabama, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Purdue University.

He has authored and co-authored over 40 books, including La audacia final de la inmigrante, El Pueblo Afrodescendiente, Ensayo dialogado sobre el pueblo Afrodescendiente de las Américas, and Dos novelas: Los cuatro espejos y La Paz del pueblo. Duncan read a lively selection of his English fiction at the literary evening lagoon cruise of the Book Fair, said Sekou.

Reiph, who is also president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF), along with president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) Jacqueline Sample, and president of the University of St. Martin (USM) Dr. Francio Guadeloupe, presented the Presidents Award to Duncan before a book fair audience of slightly over 200 people, said Sekou. CLF and HNP are the festival organizers, in collaboration with USM, St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, and L.C. Fleming Foundation.

Previous recipients of what The Daily Herald has called a “prestigious award,” include George Lamming (Barbados), Casa de las Americas (Cuba), Benny Wenda (West Papua), and Bankie Banx (Anguilla).

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Caption1: Dr. Quince Duncan (2nd right) is about to receive the Presidents Award of the St. Martin Book Fair 2016 from book fair coordinator Shujah Reiph, while president of House of Nehesi Publishers Jacqueline Sample (r), explains that the ebony statue was made in Nigeria. Looking on is Dr. Francio Guadeloupe, president of the University of St. Martin. (Photo courtesy: C. Davis-Kahina)

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Caption2: Dr. Quince Duncan (r), with, l-r, book fair coordinator Shujah Reiph; Dr. Rhoda Arrindell (St. Maarten); Dr. ChenziRa Davis Kahina (St. Croix); and Dr. Valeria Grinberg Pla (Argentina/USA), following radio panel discussion on scientific research and writing (6.1.16), St. Martin Book Fair. (Photo courtesy: C. Davis-Kahina)