welcome to expo2003

welcome to expo2003
Pamela Mordecai

"I'm a hack," Pamela (Pam) Mordecai says, laughing. "You commission it, and I'll write it." Is true. Her publications encompass critical articles on Caribbean literature, publishing, and language education, reports on educational projects in the Caribbean, textbooks for the Caribbean (many written with fellow educator, the late Grace Walker Gordon), five books for children, three collections of poetry for adults, anthologies, and a reference work on Jamaica - as well as dance criticism, a bit of polemic, and editorials for her church paper. She is proudest of her writing for children. "Everyone says they are important but in too many places neither the law nor society's provision for their welfare bears this out." She regrets that her poems and stories for children have been used more extensively in schools in the US and UK than in the Caribbean. "As with anything else, you respond to need - you go where jobs are. And I live by my writing..."

Mordecai was born in Jamaica and educated there and in the USA. A language arts teacher with a PhD in English - her dissertation is on the poetry of Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott - she has acted, taught at secondary and tertiary levels, trained teachers, edited an academic journal, worked as a TV presenter and talk show host, managed a media services company and been publisher for Sandberry Press, a small press devoted to Caribbean poetry and children's literature. "I also do a little drawing and painting on the side," she says, "and I like to work in my garden."

With her sister, Elizabeth Wilson, and fellow Jamaican poet Mervyn Morris, she has done pioneering work in exposing the writing of Caribbean women, editing/co-editing anthologies of prose and poetry including JAMAICA WOMAN 1980, 1985 (with Mervyn Morris); FROM OUR YARD 1987; and the prize-winning HER TRUE-TRUE NAME 1989 (with Betty Wilson). She has just completed LIMBER LIKE ME, her first collection of short stories, and THE PIG FROM LOPINOT, a play commissioned by the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People in Toronto. CYPHER, a novel, is her current project. She lives in Toronto with her husband, Martin, who writes and takes pictures.

Recent Publications:
  • Culture & Customs of Jamaica (with Martin Mordecai) Westwood, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001 .
  • Certifiable (poems) Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 2001.
  • The Garden Party Oxford OUP, 2000.
  • Rohan Goes to Big School Oxford: OUP, 2000.

  • Institute of Jamaica Centenary Award.
  • Inaugural Vic Reid Award for Children's Literature.
  • "Once on the Shores of the Stream Senegambia" short story in Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root (ed by Nalo Hopkinson) shortlisted for the 2000 James Tiptree Award for Feminist Speculative Fiction.