Honouring Edgar Mittelholzer

Edgar Mittelholzer (1909-1965) is a major Guyanese writer.  Not only is he one of the most recognized Guyanese writers, but the nation accords him a most distinguished place in its literature and heritage.  He is regarded with some awe arising from the power and character of his fiction, but also because of his association with the country’s older colonial heritage, with the supernatural, and with writing as a career/profession.  This recognition is demonstrated by the establishment of the Edgar Mittelholzer Lecture Series presented annually by the Department of Culture.  The 2012 Distinguished Lecture will be presented this week on Thursday, November 29 in Georgetown.
This series, which was started by AJ Seymour in the 1970s, faded away for many years before being recalled to life by the Director of Culture James Rose.  The Wednesday lecture will be given by famous Guyanese novelist and fiction writer Pauline Melville at the Umana Yana at 5.30 pm.  Melville won a Commonwealth Writers Prize with a collection of short stories Shape-Shifter in 1991.  Her The Ventriloquist’s Tale won the Guyana Prize for Literature as well as the Whitbread Prize for a First Novel in 1998.  Her latest novel is Eating Air.

Many of Mittelholzer’s achievements, characteristics and preoccupations justify the hallowed place he holds in the nation’s literary hierarchy.  He is distinguished and made identifiable by many factors, some of which are tied to his roots in colonial New Amsterdam.  He wrote fiction – novels and short stories, as well as a number of poems.  For a while he practised his craft in his native town before moving on to Georgetown and then Trinidad before eventually settling in England. His activities at home in the 1930s left something of a …To continue reading, login with an active account or subscribe now.

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