Best Local Writer (2001)

Fred D'Aguiar

Most writers ardently believe in the power of language. Fred D'Aguiar believes in the power of the word. In that way he is a poet even when he writes prose. His fiction displays the poet's love for the word's evocative, lyrical, sensual resonance. In Feeding the Ghosts, published in the United States by Ecco Press in 1999, D'Aguiar prefigures the death of a group of slaves thrown into the sea with this beautifully horrific passage on drowning: "Surrender to its depths. Find its secrets. Become loose-limbed like the water. As boneless. Learn that home is always some other shore. Sink from sunlight and moonlight. Maybe see the stars distended on water, from below water. Or the constellation spread out on a moonlit sea." Born in London and raised in Guyana, D'Aguiar is now a professor in the creative-writing program at the University of Miami and an important and passionate voice in Miami's literary community. He won the Whitbread First Novel Award in 1994 for The Longest Memory. His work also has won the David Higham Prize and the Guyana Fiction Award. His verse novel Bloodlines, about a female slave who falls in love with a plantation owner, will be published by Overlook Press in July.


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