Belizean Writers Series

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The Belizean Writers Series, published by local media house Cubola Productions, preserves some of the best of Belizean arts and letters, mainly poetry and short stories.[1] The series began in 1995 and is ongoing.

The General Editor of the series is Michael D. Phillips.

Books in the Belizean Writers Series[edit]

Snapshots of Belize: An Anthology of Belizean Short Fiction (1995)[edit]

Deals with short fiction published in the previous thirty years. With the exception of "Crab Seasin", written entirely in Belize Creole, all stories were in English.

Authors represented[edit]

  • Leo Bradley:
    • Elastic Gold: A fisherman and his son attempt to outrun shady characters who want the floating rubber that represents a chance at a better life.
    • The Day of the Bridge: The Belize City Swing Bridge is the villain of this story about a youth whose chance for happiness is destroyed by a series of unfortunate circumstances.
  • Sir Colville Young:
    • The Representative: This selection from Pataki Full takes aim at Belizean politicians in the guise of the slippery Jonas Parker, who learns a hard lesson about the nature of politics for poor people.
    • Sugar: Also from Pataki Full; Orange Walk restaurateur has run-in with elderly customer who must resort to shadiness to stay alive.
  • Zoila Ellis:
    • The Teacher: Taken from On Heroes, Lizards and Passion; a priest and teacher attempts to find peace in a village in rural Belize, but not before facing his past.
  • Evan X Hyde:
    • A Conscience for Christmas: Would-be player Caldo meets his match in a "Christmas Carol"-esque episode in Belize City.
  • John Alexander Watler:
    • Bitter Sweet Revenge: College-educated youths pursue attractive sisters but find trouble in the form of their father.
  • Lawrence Vernon:
    • The Third Wish: Be careful what you wish for? A seemingly innocent stone brought home by archaeologist Jim Hilton spells trouble for his family.
  • Evadne Wade Garcia:
    • Crab Seasin: Remembrance of a playful episode involving city boys in search of crab meat, a local delicacy.

Ping Wing Juk Me: Six Belizean Plays (1998)[edit]

Six original plays written and performed in Belize between 1970 and the time of publication were included in this volume:

  • Carol Fonseca Galvez, Shame on You Tiky Bood: The titular character attempts to fool his wife in order to go to a party, but is found out and tricked himself.
  • Sir Colville Young, Riding Haas: theatrical adaptation of a story featuring the trickster spider Anansi, who plays a clever trick on nemesis Braa Tiger to prove a point.
  • Gladys Stuart, Dog and Iguana: Moral fable about the value of company.
  • Shirley Warde, When My Father Comes Home: The absentee father of a youth sentenced to hang tries to reason with his mother about the circumstances leading to his death.
  • George Gabb, Yellowtail: Philosophical story about four men trying to understand their roots.
  • Evan X Hyde, Haad Time: Deals with the topic of teenage pregnancy from the eyes of a young Belize City couple.

Of Words: An Anthology of Belizean Poetry (1999)[edit]

Features poems by a number of Belizean authors, young and old, published and unpublished.

If Di Pin Neva Ben: Folktales and Legends of Belize (2001)[edit]

Covers folktales and mythological legends native to Belize and surrounding areas.


  • Mary Gomez Parham
  • Dr. Timothy Hagerty
  • Dr. Ervin Beck
  • David Ruiz
  • Jessie Castillo
  • Elizabeth Cardenas
  • Ines Sanchez
  • Daviid Vansen
  • Colin Bradley

Memories, Dreams and Nightmares: A Short Story Anthology by Belizean Women Writers[edit]

Vol 1: (2004)[edit]


  • Iris Abraham
  • Sandra Crough
  • Zee Edgell
  • Helen Elliot Rocke
  • Carol Fonseca
  • Shannon Gillett
  • Mary Gomez Parham
  • Yvette Holland
  • Ivory Kelly
  • Lydia Loskot
  • Myrna Manzanares
  • Corinth Morter Lewis
  • Ingrid Reneau.

Vol 2: (2005)[edit]


  • Minerva Aponte-Jolly
  • Jessie Nuñez Castillo
  • Sandra Crough
  • Holly Edgell
  • Zee Edgell
  • Zoila Ellis
  • Kathy Esquivel
  • Felicia Hernandez
  • Yvette Holland
  • Arifah Lightburn
  • Myrna Manzanares
  • Melba Marin-Velasquez
  • Sylvia Nablo de Vasquez
  • Natalie Williams
  • Gorlee Marin

About the authors[edit]

Iris Abraham has been a dancer and a craft instructor for many years in Belize and received the British Empire’s Medal (BEM) in 1965 for her work in teaching craft, especially basketry, and community service work in Belize. She lived and worked in the U.S. for many years as a recreational nurse for the elderly. During her time in the U.S. Abraham continued the tradition of honoring mothers as was done in her village of Gales Point.

Minerva Aponte-Jolly was born in Puerto Rico. When she was eleven, her family moved to New York City. In 1972, Aponte-Jolly moved to Belize with her husband and children and made Benque Viejo Town her new home. She enjoys inventing stories for her four grandchildren.

Leo H. Bradley Sr. (1926–2001) was a career librarian and teacher with a keen interest in history. He lived for some years in Trinidad and the United Kingdom where he studied librarianship before becoming the first qualified Belizean librarian. He served both as a government archivist and as Chief Librarian as well as a newspaper editor. In his honor, the headquarters of the Belize National Library Service was named the Leo Bradley Library.

Jessie Nuñez Castillo, a Garifuna woman, was born in the village of Hopkins in the Stann Creek District, Belize. She is an elementary school teacher and has taught both in Belize and in Los Angeles, California. She received her elementary school education at Holy Family School in Hopkins, and attended Austin High School in Dangriga and the Belize Teachers College. Castillo earned a BA in English (Creative Writing) from Union Institute in Los Angeles. She has been published in Garifuna Folktales.

Sandra Crough was born in Honduras. At the age of three, she was brought by her paternal grandmother to Belize, at the time British Honduras, where she grew up. She attended St. Mary’s Elementary School and later St. Catherine Academy. After high school, Crough taught for a year at St. Mary’s Elementary School before migrating to England to study nursing. Later, she moved to the United States, where she earned a degree in Safety and Occupational Health and worked as a safety specialist in that field. She started writing six years ago and earned an MFA and has written short stories published in Writers’ Journal. With a certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), she currently tutors in adult education, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Holly Edgell is an Assistant Professor of Journalism at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. She was born in Belize City, and although she mostly grew up overseas, she completed part of her primary and post-secondary education in Belize. Edgell joined Florida A&M in 2001 after working as a television news producer in the USA. Her career took her from Youngstown, Ohio to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cleveland, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan. She got her start in broadcast journalism as the first news director for Great Belize Television’s News 5. In 1995, Edgell earned a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Kent State University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Michigan State University with the support of a scholarship from the Government of Belize, her prize for winning the 1986–87 Miss Belize crown. Holly Edgell is the daughter of Al and Zee Edgell and is married to Eduardo Lopez of Havana, Cuba.

Zee Edgell was born in Belize in 1940. She worked as a reporter for the Daily Gleaner of Kingston, Jamaica, and was also the first editor of the Reporter, a Belizean newspaper. From 1966 to 1968 Edgell taught at St. Catherine’s Academy in Belize City. She was head of the Women’s Bureau in the government of Belize for the period 1981–1982. From 1986–1987 she was director of the Department of Women’s Affairs. She lectured at the University College of Belize from 1988 to 1989, and was visiting professor at Old Dominion University in Virginia in 1993. Edgell is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Kent State University where she teaches Creative Writing. She is the author of Beka Lamb (1982), In Times Like These (1991), The Festival of San Joaquin (1997), and Time and the River (2007), all published by Heinemann, Oxford. Three of her short stories have also been published: “Longtime Story”, “My Uncle Theophilus” and “The Entertainment”.

Zoila M. Ellis (born 1957) began writing poems and short stories at the age of eight. A practicing attorney, she studied law at the University of the West Indies from 1974 to 1980, and after returning to Belize she worked as a Magistrate, a Crown Counsel, and was the first Director of the Belize Legal Aid Center. Ellis holds a master's degree in Development Studies from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. She resides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and is Belize’s Honorary Consul for that country.

Kathleen Esquivel is the author of Under the Shade (1991) and has written and produced several one-act plays. A naturalized Belizean, Esquivel holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Bristol University in England. She taught secondary school mathematics and chemistry from 1969 to 1993 and was Vice-Principal of Wesley College in Belize City from 1987 to 1993. In 1997 she updated a UNICEF document, “The Right to a Future: a situational analysis of children in Belize”. She also chaired the editorial board for the UNICEF publication “From Girls to Women, Growing up Healthy in Belize” and regularly writes newspaper articles. Esquivel served as the president of the National Women’s Commission in Belize and as president and secretary of the Belize Mental Health Advisory Board. She also served as secretary of the Belize Cancer Society and is a patroness of the Belize Family Life Association.

George S. Gabb (1928–2007) was the last child of 16 in his family and had no further formal school than a primary school education at St. John's Primary School. From the age of 13 Gabb began to explore his interests in the arts on his own. Today, he is celebrated in Belize a very accomplished, self-taught sculptor in wood, stone, steel and ceramic, as well as a painter, designer, actor, boat-builder, writer and poet. Throughout his life, Gabb won numerous awards for his poetry, play writing, producing and directing. In June 1974 in Belize City, Mr. Gabb received the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, M.B.A., from the Queen of England (H.E. Queen Elizabeth II) for his contribution to the arts in general.

Carol Fonseca Galvez (born 1964) is a writer of short stories, poems and plays. She served as an English lecturer at St. John's College Junior College before being appointed as Executive Director of the Women’s Department in Belize. Fonseca obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Viterbo College in Wisconsin, a Masters of Arts from the University of Leeds, England and a PhD in English from the University of the West Indies. In 1991 Fonseca won the National Poetry Contest sponsored by the Ministry of Education and the University College of Belize's Short Story Contest. Her play "Tiky Bood" received wide acclaim in the 1990s.

Shannon A. Gillett holds a Master of Education degree from the University of North Florida. She currently works as a Curriculum Officer in the Ministry of Education in Belize. Gillett served as a Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Belize and is member of the Belize Chamber Group, and the Pantempters Steel Orchestra.

Felicia Ogaldez Hernandez was born in 1932 in Dangriga Town, Belize, where she received her formal education. She joined the teaching profession in 1948 and taught in various parts of Belize. She received a trained as a teacher’s diploma from the Belize Teachers College in 1970. Later that year, Hernandez and her family migrated to the US where she continued to teach and took up writing. Hernandez is the author of four books: I don’t know you but I love you (1978), Those Ridiculous Years (1982), Narenga (1993), and Reflections and Other Family Stories (2000). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing from SUNY Empire State in New York, and is a member of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars (ACWWS). In 1978, Hernandez was awarded an honorary service award from the California Congress of Parents and Teachers in San Jose.

Yvette M. Holland was born in Belize City in 1972. She attended Catholic primary and secondary schools in Belize City and later earned a bachelor's degree in English at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. She later earned a master's degree in English from Boston College. Holland currently teaches Composition and Literature at St. John’s Junior College Junior College in Belize City.

Evan X Hyde (born 1947) is the publisher of the Amandala newspaper and an outspoken advocate for the advancement of black people. He majored in English at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. On his return to Belize he helped form the United Black Association for Development (UBAD) and became its second president in 1969. Hyde is the author of several fiction and nonfiction works, including X Communications (Angelus Press 1995) and Sports, Sin and Subversion (Ramos 2008). Hyde is also an accomplished poet and playwright.

Ivory Kelly was born in Sittee River Village, Belize. She is a career educator who has taught at the primary and secondary levels in Belize for almost two decades and in Los Angeles for three years. She also served as Teacher Supervisor at the Belize Teachers College, as Assistant Headmaster of Academic Affairs at St. John’s College, and as a part-time English lecturer at the University of Belize. She is the author of Point of Order: Poetry and Prose published by Ramos Publishing in 2009. Her writings also appear in She (Factory Books); Treasures of a Century (Belize National Library Service); Memories, Dreams and Nightmares; and The Alchemy of Words Vol. 2 (Cubola Books). Kelly is currently pursuing a master's degree in Creative Writing at East Carolina University and works as an editorial assistant on the North Carolina Literary Review.

Arifah Hayat Lightburn was born in Belize City in 1979, the first of three children of Gilbert and Margaret Lightburn. She received her primary level education from Saint Catherine’s Elementary and graduated from Saint Catherine‘s Academy before going on to Saint John’s Junior College where she majored in biology and general studies. She transferred to the University of South Florida to study creative writing. After her first degree, she plans to get her MA in Fine Arts, and eventually a Ph.D. She writes for the Amandala newspaper, and enjoys exploring and writing about women and issues that concern them. She is considering a career related to women’s studies and education.

Lydia Balderamos Loskot, the second of eight children, grew up in Belize City. Educated by Mercy nuns at St. Catherine Academy during the 1960s, Lascot acquired a solid background in English as well as religious formation in Catholicism. Her formative years in pre-independence and pre-television Belize paralleled a growing interest in nationalism, culture, and the performing arts in the outer society. Loskot holds a Ph.D. in English and Rhetoric from the University of New Mexico and works in higher education.

Myrna Manzanares holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Education from Pepperdine University in southern California. She completed postgraduate work in Community Clinical Psychology from California State University, Long Beach and is a trained counselor. Manzanares worked as a teacher for 15 years in California before moving back to live and work in Belize in 1986. She worked as a Lecturer at the Belize Teachers College, and the University College of Belize; as the Program Specialist/ Manager for Pride Belize, and as a Master Trainer with the Belize Institute of Management. Most of her work in Belize has been in the areas of culture, drug abuse prevention, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence and other social and development areas. As a professional storyteller and dramatist, Manzanares writes mainly about social issues and supernatural folklore. She has one daughter and an adopted son.

Corinth Morter-Lewis is a lecturer at the University of Belize where she served as President from 2003 to 2007. She was born in Belize City and educated at Ebenezer Primary School, the Belize Technical College, the University of New Brunswick in Canada, Ball State University in the United States, and the University of Alberta, Canada. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology as a Chartered Psychologist. Lewis’s writing career began in 1957 when she won her first short story contest sponsored by the then Belize Billboard, and between 1965 and 1996 she received various awards in national poetry contests for her poems “Arise” and “United.” In 1976 Lewis published an anthology of some forty poems in Share My Song. Her poems address a wide range of themes spanning childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. Lewis was a key player in the development of Belize’s National Arts Council during its formative years and was appointed its first Chairperson in 1981.

Mary Gomez Parham lives in Houston, Texas, and is a poet and writer of fiction. She holds a Ph.D. in Spanish from UCLA and has been a professor of Spanish for many years at the University of Houston. She is the recipient of two Fulbright grants and has published widely in the fields of Latin American literature and culture. With Timothy Hagerty, she published If Di Pin Neva Ben: Folktales and Legends of Belize (Cubola Productions). Her poetry has been anthologized in On Words: An Anthology of Belizean Poetry (Cubola Productions) and Echoes for a New Room: Twelve Voices (Brown Rabbit Press) and has been published in various magazines and journals including The Caribbean Writer.

Michael D. Phillips made his first visit to Belize in 1982 and has been back many times since. What began as an innocent interest has become a passion, both personal and academic. He has presented his research on Belize at the SPEAR conference, 'Latin American Studies Association Convention Interdisciplinary Belize Conference' (1992), and at several smaller regional meetings. He has written extensively about tourism in Belize and recently published an article on that subject in Belizean Studies. Professor Phillips currently teaches in the Department of Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he is working on a history of the Festival of Arts as part of a larger work concerned with Nationalism and Cultural Change in Belize. Previous to his work at Brigham Young University, Professor Phillips was a graduate student at the University of Chicago, where he organized a workshop on Belize which included the participation of Zee Edgell and Robert Reneau. With a background in cultural studies, Professor Phillips is committed to the collection and preservation of the best of Belizean Arts and Letters.

Ingrid Reneau is a native Belizean who migrated to the United States when she was 13. She holds a Ph.D. in Literatures in English from Rutgers University. Her research interests include Literatures of the African Diaspora, especially women writers; African Diaspora Rituals and Spirituality; and Black Feminist Theory. She is an Assistant Professor and holds a joint appointment in the English Department and Women’s Studies Program at the University of South Carolina. In 2007 Reneau was appointed education officer in Sudan.

Helen Elliott Rocke is a Belizean educator and author. Her desire to write was encouraged through childhood experiences she had in rural villages of the Belize District and the West Indian islands of Barbados and Trinidad. Helen graduated from the Belize Teachers’ College in 1983. She later won the President’s Prize on the ACP examination in 1994 from the College of Teachers in England. Helen is presently completing a master's degree in Instruction and Curriculum from the University of North Florida. As a member of the Belize Kriol Project, Helen wrote part-time in the Weh Ah Gat Fi Seh articles in the Amandala and Reporter newspapers. She began her career as an author of Belizean children’s literature in 1994. Her Jimbo Mysteries are used in many Belizean primary schools.

Gladys Stuart (born 1917) was a career educator well known for her sense of humor and dramatic abilities. She began working at the age of 14, teaching all grades as well as serving as principal for five decades. Her radio program "Cousin Winnifred" is remembered fondly by many Belizeans as are her numerous comedic performances.

Sylvia Nablo de Vasquez was born in Quebec, Canada, and moved to the Saskatchewan prairie at the age of four. When she was eight years old her parents moved with her and her siblings to San Ignacio, Belize as Baha’i pioneers. Over the years Sylvia moved back and forth between the two countries, but lived more than half her life in Belize. Nablo de Vasquez currently lives in Swift Current, on the Saskatchewan prairie with her husband and their three children, who were born in Belize.

Melba Marin-Velasquez was born in San Ignacio Town, Belize. She attended Sacred Heart College and the University College of Belize. She holds a master's degree in Secondary Education from the University of North Florida. She has taught at Sacred Heart College for many years.

Lawrence G. Vernon (born 1937) is a librarian who studied in the United Kingdom and worked for many years in the Belize National Library Service before being appointed Chief Librarian. He is currently Library Director at the University College of Belize.

Evadne L. Wade-Garcia (1950–2005) served as Director of the Geology and Petroleum Unit in Belize’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Transportation. She studied petroleum law at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica and the University of Dundee, Scotland. She is a writer of both children's books and novels.

John Alexander Waller has resided in Los Angeles, USA, for some time. He was the driving force behind an earlier collection of short stories, Among My Souvenirs, which he co-authored with Leo Bradley and Lawrence Vernon. His later works often appeared in Brukdown, and he is known for his epic poetry which focuses on Belizean history.

Shirley Warde (1901–1991) was an expatriate American and Off Broadway actress who first visited Belize in 1953 as a Baha'i missionary. She spent the rest of her life in the country and was actively involved in theatre, collecting folk tales, and wood carving. She also worked as a teacher and editor. Warde's best-known production was the musical extravaganza Boss King which played a record 19 sold-out performances at the Bliss Institute in 1965.

Gay Wilentz (−2006) served for many years as Director of Ethnic Studies and Professor of English at East Carolina University and Visiting Professor at the University of Belize. Her first critical work, Binding Cultures: Black Women Writers in Africa and the Diaspora, examines women’s role in the transmission of culture on both sides of the Atlantic. Wilentz is the co-editor of Africa World Press’s Emerging Perspectives on Ama Ata Aidoo, and she is the editor of Jewish immigrant writer Anzia Yezierska’s 1923 novel, Salome of the Tenements, reprinted in 1991. Wilentz has published essays in College English, African American Review, Research in African Literatures, Twentieth Century Literature, and MELUS, among other publications. She also contributed chapters in books on authors from the US, the African continent and the Caribbean. Her most recent book, Healing Narratives: Women Writers Curing Cultural Dis-Ease, is an interdisciplinary, critical work that explores cultural healing in women’s writings of the African Diaspora, indigenous cultures, and the Jewish Diaspora.

Natalie Williams was born in Belize City, Belize. After high school, she won the Governor General’s scholarship which allowed her to earn a Bachelor of Education in English and Art Education from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. 1990 currently teaches at Sacred Heart College in San Ignacio after teaching at St. John’s Junior College in Belize City. Her creativity extends to painting, and she has works with special needs students at Stella Maris School in two-dimensional artwork.

Sir Colville Young (born 1932) became Belize's second Governor-General in November 1993. He studied at the University of the West Indies and the University of York in the United Kingdom. Before his appointment as Governor-General Young was a lecturer at the University College of Belize where he served as founding president. He is a prolific author, composer, playwright and poet.


  1. ^ Belize – Mara Vorhees, Joshua Samuel Brown – Google Books. 2008-10-21. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 

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