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Le Monde du Sud// Elsie news

Le Monde du Sud// Elsie news

Haïti, les Caraïbes, l'Amérique Latine et le reste du monde. Histoire, politique, agriculture, arts et lettres.

Poet-Writer-Painter Marilene Phipps-Kettlewell: On Haiti, Identity and Her Writing

Publié par siel sur 27 Juin 2013, 13:01pm

Catégories : #CULTURE


Marilene Phipps is just as fond of her paint brush as she is of her pen. She creates color-popping, religious-themed paintings. But she also dabbles in literature, and has written two collections of short stories—including the award-winning and critically-lauded In the Company of Heaven: Stories from Haiti—in addition to countless pieces of poetry.

Behind every artist, and certainly behind every writer, there is an individual. Marilene Phipps-Kettlewell let us in into her world, as she reminisced about her birthplace, writing, and the short story.

Is there a story behind the last name, Phipps?
The first Phipps in Haiti was James Phipps. It is said that he may have come as part of the English army trying to get a piece of the colony at the time, but liked the island, and stayed. He was one of the first foreigners to have been naturalized Haitian in 1805 by Jean-Jacques Dessalines himself. My grandfather, Jules Phipps, was the first of his generation to settle in Port-au-Prince. The Phipps family came from Les Cayes in whose cemetery there are many Phipps’s graves.

After 1804, many foreigners, adventurers, or people fleeing their countries for economic or political reasons, started to come and settle in Haiti—Germans, French, Polish, Sephardic Jews, Lebanese, Chinese, Indians etc… My mother’s family was one such immigrants—French people running from their own revolution. My great-grandmother, on my mother side, was born in Les Cayes where her parents had plantations. She was married at 16 to a Frenchman, left for France with him, and never returned to Haiti. She however kept ties with Haiti through family and friends. My parents met each other though common friends from Haiti at a time when my father had traveled to France for a brief visit.

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