Saturday, May 18
Award-winning author Jamaica Kincaid will address the graduates of Bard College at Simon's Rock at the 50th commencement ceremony.
Known for candid and emotionally honest writing, Kincaid has carved a unique and cherished place in the American literary landscape. Through her books and novels, including Annie John, Lucy, At the Bottom of the River, and A Small Place, she has attracted devoted fans across generations and ethnic boundaries with her distinctive, melodic style and penetrating treatment of social and political issues.
Kincaid’s literary voice is deeply rooted in her experiences as a child in her native Antigua. Growing up under the colonial rule of England instilled a tragic perspective. Says Kincaid, “I never give up thinking about the way I came into the world, how my ancestors came from Africa to the West Indies as slaves. I just never forget it. It’s like a big wave that’s still pulsing.”
Kincaid’s work has been honored with numerous nominations and awards, including the 2014 American Book Award, which celebrates multiculturalism and free expression. Her book, A Small Place, a critical look at the legacies of colonialism in Antigua, inspired the 2001 documentary, Life and Debt, about the impact globalization can have on a developing country.
“Professor Kincaid’s work has been taught in many courses at Simon’s Rock,” said Ian Bickford, provost and vice president of Bard College at Simon’s Rock. “Her experimental way of proceeding in language, commitment to questioning the super- and sub-structures of political and social authority, and perspective as an Antiguan-American immigrant and intellectual will resonate, I believe, with the values we hope to emphasize in our community, especially on this celebratory occasion.”
Kincaid started her career as a staff writer and feature columnist for The New Yorker for nine years. She began her academic career in 1991 at Harvard University, holding joint appointments in the English and African-American Studies departments. Today, she is the Professor of African and African American Studies in Residence at Harvard University.
Relive the glory of past commencement addresses and view the full schedule for the upcoming 50th Commencement.
The general public is welcome at Commencement with priority seating for graduates and their families. No oversized bags allowed.
The ceremony will be livestreamed on the Simon's Rock Facebook page.