Barry's novel nominated for prestigious literary award

  • Writer Angela Barry and Jessy Shuster from PBS Miami.

    Writer Angela Barry and Jessy Shuster from PBS Miami.

  • The cover of Angela Barry's novel 'Goree: Point of Departure'.

    The cover of Angela Barry's novel 'Goree: Point of Departure'.

Bermudian writer and educator Angela Barry's first novel has been nominated for a prestigious international literary award.

Ms Barry's book, ‘Goree: Point of Departure' published last year by Peepal Tree Press, is now up for the 2012 International IMPAC Dublin award.

Other authors nominated include Kathryn Stockett of ‘The Help' fame and Louise Erdrich known for the ‘Bingo Palace' and ‘Love Medicine'. This year's winner was Colum McCann, author of ‘Let the Great World Spin'.

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award claims to be the largest and most international prize of its kind. It is a partnership between Dublin City Council, the municipal government of Dublin City, and IMPAC, a productivity improvement company that operates in over 50 countries.

“There are a whole range of books that are nominated from books by writers who are very well known to those who are less well known,” said Ms Barry. “I feel very happy about being nominated, so winning is not even an issue with me.”

She won't find out whether she has won the competition until next year. Otherwise, she said, ‘Goree' is making it in the world. She received a positive review from the Women's Review of Books, a journal out of Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

Also, she recently attended an author's conference in Miami, Florida and was interviewed on the television station PBS Miami.

Ms Barry has just returned to Bermuda to teach at the Bermuda College, having taken a year off to study for her doctoral degree in creative writing at the University of Lancaster. Her doctoral dissertation is a novel about Bermuda. She plans to soon offer creative writing workshops to students at the Bermuda College.

“ ‘Goree' was many years in the germination stage,” she said. “It came out of experiences I had, knowing people from the African continent and travelling there, and making connections between those experiences and my own. That was something I really had to write, and now I am working on something else that I must also write that looks at us here in Bermuda. It is a more complex work than the last one. I would say I am halfway through, but it is still a lot of work.”

When she writes, she said she does not start with a book all planned out from start to finish, but has an overarching idea in mind. In fact, her current book has taken her a little longer to write because halfway through, she suddenly realised she had to change the structure of the book. This meant she had to start again.

“I guess there are some people who have a God's eye view of the whole thing, but I think to the majority of people [writers] it is a process where you work in the dark to a large extent,” said Ms Barry. “You are moving inch by inch towards what you think will be the destination. As you move along that path, what it is you want to do starts to become clearer. At that point you sometimes have to go to the beginning again and reconfigure a lot.”

Ms Barry will hold a book signing at Brown and Company on Reid Street on Saturday from 11am to 2pm.

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Published Dec 9, 2011 at 8:17 am (Updated Dec 9, 2011 at 8:15 am)

Barry's novel nominated for prestigious literary award

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