The Nicolas Guillen Philosophical Literature Prize are awarded at the international annual meetings of the Caribbean Philosophical Association. The prize is to be awarded to an author whose contribution to Caribbean thought is through the medium of the novel, poetry, theater, or cinema.

The Caribbean Philosophical Association is pleased to announce the 2018 recipients of the association’s awards for contributions to Caribbean thought and philosophical literature. The awards will be conferred in a special session of the 14th annual conference of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, which will take place on June 22-24 at BMMC, CUNY in New York City. For more information on the conference, click here.



The Nicolás Guillén
Lifetime Achievement Award


Conceição Evaristo

Conceição Evaristo is one of Brazil’s great living writers.  She is the inventor of escrevivência (writing life experiences), which brings to the fore lived-experiences of Afro-Brazilians, especially Afro-Brazilian women.  Articles and dissertations on her work are many, and her inspiration extends beyond South America as her writings are translated into many languages.  The Caribbean Philosophical Association is honoring her with the Nicolás Guillén Lifetime Achievement Award for her extraordinary writings, her status as shifting the geography of reason through her articulation of the often-invisible lives of Afro-Brazilians, and her mentorship of activists and writers in and outside of the South American academy.   Here is an excerpt from the nomination submitted to the awards committee:

In simple words, Conceição Evaristo should receive this award because of her groundbreaking work as a poet and writer of prose.  Her work articulates the relevance and visibility of Afro-Brazilian Literature.  Her theoretical work as an academic also makes visible different themes from black people's lives. The combination of her work has influenced researchers in Brazil going on three decades, and now the rest of the globe. 

World-renowned scholar of Afro-Lusophone studies, Professor Anani Dzidzienyo of Brown University reflects: 

Conceição Evaristo is one of the leading Afro-Brazilian writers whose work is now reaching a wider readership. Since the last two decades of the last century, she has published consistently and insightfully on the world of Afro-Brazilians and its relations to Brazilian society. She has insisted on providing narratives about black lives and struggles that were not to be found in mainstream national literary and critical spaces.

Her insights into the lives of Afro-Brazilian women and their persisting efforts to connect the past and the present are now readily recognized, as evidenced by recent prizes, such as the prestigious Jabuti Prize awarded to her for her collection of short stories.

In a real sense, her journey from a world where books and literature were not present, as she had averred, to a university professorship and increasing national and international recognition, is a clear testimony of her success in bringing black women’s ideas and quotidian challenges to the world of readers in Brazil and the larger world.

Rosemere Ferreira da Silva of the Universidade do Estado da Bahia (UNEB) speaks for many scholars, activists, and lovers of literature in Brazil when she states: 

Conceição Evaristo is a giant of contemporary literature in South America, Brazil in particular, and Afro-Brazilian literature reaching across the world.  For those of us who study her work, this is part of a continuous stream of affirmation of her importance.  For so many beyond the ivory tower, it is a testimony to the beauty and power of her writing and an opportunity to join this important elder in the ongoing task of bringing truth and love into a world marred by neglect and hate.  On behalf of many of us in Brazil, I thank the awards committee of the Caribbean Philosophical Association for bestowing this well-deserved honor on our beloved Conceição Evaristo!

“Conceição Evaristo,” adds President Neil Roberts of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, “shifts both the geography of reason and experience as an artist, a scholar, and a politically engaged intellectual brilliantly in the spirit of the namesake of the Guillén award.  We are honored she will be among our community of distinguished laureates.”

For more information on Conceição Evaristo, please click here.


The Nicolás Guillén 
Outstanding Achievements in
Philosophical Literature Award

Felwine Sarr

The Caribbean Philosophical Association’s Nicolás Guillén Outstanding Achievements in Philosophical Literature Award is for a young senior scholar or public intellectual of high repute and global impact whose contributions to areas of thought and institutional development are in the spirit of Cuban poet, journalist, and cultural critic Nicolás Guillén’s thought. The Awards Committee voted to honor economist, social theorist, institution-builder, and musician Professor Felwine Sarr for his thought-provoking and global scholarship devoted to social change and imaginative rethinking of possibility in the context of contemporary Africa.   From the powerful nomination posed to the committee: 

Felwine Sarr calls for integrating the kind of informal economics that play a central part in traditional, African societies but that have been systematically overlooked in most recent accounts of African modernization. The gain that would come from this is the revival of cultural substrates that focus on social rather than on purely economical aspects. Through such economics, where interaction with culture is key, more sustainable societies could emerge where Africa chooses her own path, and leaves behind the competition where nations fight over who can hoard the most riches, technological gadgets and pleasures despite the fact that such irresponsible choices endanger all human life. . . .  Sarr is also actively engaged with the creation of a new, open platform called les Ateliers de la pensée, which congregated for the first time in 2016 and which convened again in 2017 in Senegal.  It is devoted to themes such as decolonizing knowledge, enlarging a notion of the universal, and rehabilitating a principle of heterogeneity that is already part and parcel of African history. 

Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Professor Emerita at the University of Paris VII (Diderot) and the 2016 recipient of the Frantz Fanon Lifetime Achievement Award, comments:

I am extremely happy to hear that it is Felwine Sarr who is the recipient of the Nicolás Guillén Outstanding Achievements in Philosophical Literature Award this year (2018). 

I met him in 2014, at a conference held at Gaston Berger University in Saint-Louis, Senegal. I was immediately impressed by the acuity of his intelligence, the breadth of his knowledge, the originality and depth of his analyses, and very surprised to learn that he was an economist, so much did he appear to me as a true and important philosopher. We  subsequently corresponded and I learned that he was also a publisher, writer, and musician. I read with great pleasure his Dahij, a manifesto for an inner war, which he offered me. We had and still have in common the refusal of disciplinary partitions and proffer the radical questioning of hegemonic epistemologies. In Afrotopia, he poses an African modernity neither reducible nor subject to what is said in the North and his statement calls for the invention of models that would also be a reclamation by Africans of all sides of what is their story and their own horizon, beyond the damage done by colonization and the regimes that succeeded it and that it helped to establish. Felwine Sarr gives as much to think as to hope. It is therefore a formidable, creative, and intellectual energy that is rewarded in his person by the Nicolas Guillén Prize.

Neil Roberts, President of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, adds: “Felwine Sarr brilliantly exemplifies the ethos and principles underlying the Guillén award.  Though rooted in the present, he reaches, imaginatively, to the future with an astonishing array of creative resources at his disposal.  He stands as one of the brightest minds of his generation.”

For more on Felwine Sarr, please click here.


The Nicolás Guillén
Outstanding Book Award

Intimacies of Four Continents
By  Lisa Lowe

Lisa Lowe, Intimacies of Four Continents. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015.

Dr. Lisa Lowe is Distinguished Professor of English and the Humanities and Director of the Center for the Humanities at Tuft’s University.   The impact of her book Intimacies of Four Continents is marked not only by the reviews it has received in disciplines ranging from sociology to literature to history but also its already working its way into studies of colonialism, enslavement, and more.   In the words of one referee:

Intimacies of Four Continents is a brilliant work in creativity and scope.  It brings together methodological, geopolitical, and historical—in the proper sense of historicized—material in an extraordinary, coherent narrative of connectedness through which even fissures are rendered intelligible.  This is magnificent scholarship, bold thinking, and a transcendence of disciplinary boundaries in the spirit of what literature, as a discipline, could achieve through going beyond itself into the reservoir of what screams to work its way to the printed page.   A triumph well-deserving of this eponymous award!

Neil Roberts, President of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, agrees:

Professor Lisa Lowe, in Intimacies of Four Continents, boldly shatters long ingrained parochialisms on the study of relationships across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  Lowe’s transcending disciplinary boundaries to tell a tale that needs to be told is a model of scholarship attuned to the spirit of shifting the geography of reason, which we are proud to celebrate under the auspice of the Guillén award for outstanding book.

For more on Dr. Lisa Lowe, please click here




Life-time Achievement:

Hortense Spillers

Outstanding Book in Philosophical Literature:

La rebelión de las niñas: El Caribe y la “conciencia corporal.” 
By Nadia V. Celis-Salgado

The Black Radical Tragic: Performance, Aesthetics, and the Unfinished Haitian Revolution
By Jeremy Matthew Glick


Life-time Achievement:

Jamaica Kincaid

Philosophical Literature:

Arturo Dávila-Sánchez

Outstanding Book in Philosophical Literature:

Being Apart: Theoretical and Existential Resistance in Africana Literature
By LaRose Parris


Life-time Achievement:

Samuel R. Delany

George Lamming

Philosophical Literature:

Víctor Fowler Calzada

Outstanding Book in Philosophical Literature:

Creole Renegades: Rhetoric of Betrayal and Guilt in the Caribbean Diaspora
By Bénédicte Boisseron


Life-time Achievement:

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Philosophical Literature:

Frieda Ekotto

Outstanding Book in Philosophical Literature:

Pathologies of Paradise: Caribbean Detours
By Supriya Nair


Life-time Achievement:

Ana Lydia Vega

Philosophical Literature:

Jose Buscaglia


Life-time Achievement: 

The Mighty Chalkdust / Hollis Urban Lester Liverpool

Prafulla Kar

Philosophical Literature:

Gordon Rohlehr


Junot Díaz 


Gabriel García Márquez


Edwidge Danticat 


Ramabai Espinet

Wilson Harris