Marie-Elena John (born 1963) is a Caribbean writer whose first novel, Unburnable, was published in 2006. She was born and raised in Antigua and is a former development specialist of the African Development Foundation, the World Council of Churches’ Program to Combat Racism, and Global Rights (formerly the International Human Rights Law Group), where she worked in support of the pro-democracy movement in Nigeria and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is known especially for her work in the United Nations and at local and national levels to raise awareness about the denial of inheritance rights to women. Marie-Elena John made history in 1986 as the first Black woman valedictorian of New York's City College (CCNY). She later earned a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University, specializing in culture and development in Africa. She lives in Antigua and Washington, D.C with her husband, and their two children, Trey and Elyse. Her literary debut, Unburnable, was named "Best Debut of 2006" by Black Issues Book Review, was short-listed for the 2007 Hurston-Wright Legacy Awards in the Debut Fiction Category, was nominated for the 2008 International IMPAC DUBLIN Award, and was identified by the Modern Language Association as a new title of note in Caribbean literature. She was also selected by Book Expo America as one of ten "emerging voices" for 2006, chosen from among the debut novelists reviewed by Publishers Weekly for the 2005-2006 period. Unburnable, which moves back and forth between modern times and the past, is primarily a historical novel centred on the hanging of a family matriarch, and fuses Caribbean history, African heritage, and African-American sensibilities. Marie-Elena John parlays her knowledge of the African diaspora, including the United States and the Caribbean island of Dominica, into a work that shifts from modern to colonial and pre-colonial times, exploring the intersection of history, African mythology and African-Caribbean culture. Important themes include the African origins of Carnival and masquerades, African religion, the practice of Obeah, syncretic Catholicism, Caribbean folklore, the Maroons and resistance to slavery. In this respect, Unburnable is both a contemporary Caribbean novel as well as a neo-slave narrative. Unburnable also notably includes the original inhabitants of the Caribbean, the Kalinago (also called the Carib Indians). It has been compared to Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea and to Jamaica Kincaid’s The Autobiography of My Mother.
Tonique Williams-Darling (born January 17, 1976 in Nassau, Bahamas) is a Bahamian sprint athlete. She won the gold medal in the 400 meters at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. She attended the University of South Carolina, graduating with a bachelor's degree from the Moore School of Business in 1999. Williams-Darling had a breakout year in 2004. She started with a bronze medal at the 2004 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Budapest, Hungary, running a personal best behind Russia's Natalya Nazarova and Olesya Krasnomovets. Then in July, at the Rome meeting of the IAAF Golden League, Tonique broke Mexican world champion Ana Guevara's 23 race winning streak in the 400 meter race. At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece Williams-Darling beat Guevara again. In a head to head final straight, she proved to be more powerful than the Mexican runner who had been hampered with injuries and trained only on a limited basis prior to the Games. Winning the race, she became the Bahamas' first individual Olympic gold medalist. After the Olympics she secured the win in the overall Golden League-jackpot, cashing in US $500,000 after splitting the US $1M pot with Christian Olsson. She also won the gold medal in the 400 meters at 2005 World Championships in Athletics, in a head-to-head race with American 400-meter specialist Sanya Richards. At the 2006 Commonwealth Games, despite being the favourite, she was beaten...
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