Another in the Black History Month series by Ricardo P. Deveaux
My twenty sixth in the Black History Month Series is Dr. Christian Campbell, an internationally acclaimed Trinidadian-Bahamian poet, Rhodes Scholar, cultural critic and professor.
Dr. Christian Campbell is an internationally acclaimed Trinidadian-Bahamian poet, scholar, cultural critic and professor. He attended Queen’s College Secondary School and graduated as a top student at age fifteen. He attended Macalester College on a number of scholarships including the DeWitt Wallace Scholarship and received top awards for creative and critical writing as well as the Presidential Leadership Award for the most outstanding seniors. He was accepted to pursue doctoral work in literature and graduated from Macalester College at age nineteen, entering the PhD Program in English at Duke University on the Organization of American States Fellowship and other fellowships. After completing PhD coursework at Duke, Campbell won the 2002 Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship and studied at Balliol College, University of Oxford. At Oxford he founded an international writer’s collective and continued to make a name for himself in the literary world by publishing his work in journals on both sides of the Atlantic.
As an editor and journalist, he made an impact on urgent conversations about the arts, politics, pop culture and youth culture, and conducted a number of landmark interviews with artists and public figures as diverse as Sir Sidney Poitier, the late Rex Nettleford and Buju Banton. In 2003 Campbell was awarded the Minister’s Cup for the most outstanding young Bahamian from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and was honoured at the 30th Anniversary of Bahamian Independence. He received his PhD from Duke in 2007.
Campbell’s widely acclaimed first book, Running the Dusk (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), was a finalist for the Forward Poetry Prize for the Best First Collection (UK) and won the 2010 Aldeburgh First Collection Prize (UK) among other awards. Deemed “one to watch” by The Guardian (UK), he is the second Caribbean poet to be shortlisted for the Forward Prize and the first poet of colour to win the Aldeburgh Prize, the oldest prize for a first book of poetry in the UK. Running the Dusk was also named one of the best books of 2010 by the Caribbean Review of Books, Horizon Review and Poetry International. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa calls Running the Dusk “the gutsy work of a long-distance runner who possesses the wit and endurance, the staying power of authentic genius.”
A former CARIFTA swimmer, Campbell is an avid fan of both swimming and track and field. He gives readings, lectures and workshops throughout North America, the UK and the Caribbean. In 2012 Campbell delivered the fifteenth annual Derek Walcott Lecture for Nobel Laureate Week in St. Lucia (the youngest chosen) and also represented The Bahamas at Poetry Parnassus, the international poetry festival at the Cultural Olympiad of the recent Olympic Games. He is currently a professor of English at the University of Toronto.
A pleasure to present this Black History Month Series.
Ricardo P. Deveaux