Authors Name: 
Hannah Rich
University: 
Durham University
Category: 
Languages & Linguistics
Highly commended

In what ways do Pedro Cabiya and Junot Díaz "write back" to the (colonialist and/or (neo-)imperialist) commodification of the Caribbean and its inhabitants?

The figure of the zombie has long functioned as a metaphor for the unique condition of the Caribbean in literature. This essay seeks to examine this through the works of Malas Hierbas by Pedro Cabiya and Junot Díaz’ short story Monstro. In doing so, it examines the ways in which both authors “write back” to a literary and political culture of colonialism which has commodified the Caribbean and its inhabitants. Both texts are relatively new and therefore largely unexplored by academics and critics, therefore reading centred on secondary reading related to the context which could then be applied to the primary material. This topic was of particular interest to me because of the wealth of theoretical and historical ideas which were yet to be framed in terms of Cabiya and Díaz’ work, despite the plethora of links to be made therein. Both the temporality and choice of language within Díaz’ story can be seen as responding to imperialism, while Cabiya’s text speaks more explicitly to the reality of capitalism and its implications.