Caribbean playwright, artist and cultural icon, Alwin Bully will be awarded the Doctorate of Letters (DLIT) at the University of the West Indies Open Campus graduation ceremony to be held October 11, 2011 in Antigua.
He has been named among 20 outstanding Caribbean nationals who will receive honorary degrees from the University of the West Indies, including the Governor General of St Lucia, Dame Pearlette Louisy.
In an interview with the Dominica media Bully said: “I never really did my work with the intentions of receiving accolades from anyone. I do my work because I feel that it’s necessary. Receiving an award like this is like icing on the cake because when you want to do work and get a job done that is already rewarding enough. I feel very proud and happy and very honoured.”
Bully was born in Roseau, Dominica and educated at the Convent Preparatory School, the Dominica Grammar School, the St. Mary’s Academy and The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados. He taught at his alma mater, eventually serving as headmaster. During that time he was deeply involved in promoting the arts in Dominica including creative writing, drama, dance, painting, folk traditions, and Carnival.
In 1965 he represented Dominica at the Commonwealth Arts Festival in Britain along with members of the Kairi and Dominica Dance troupes. In 1978, with support from the Minister of Education, he established a ‘cultural desk’ in the Ministry that eventually evolved into the Cultural Division in the Ministry of Community Development.
In 1987 Bully left Dominica to work at the regional office of UNESCO in Jamaica. Over the years he has written and directed many plays and won numerous awards in Dominica and Jamaica.
Recently he played the leading role in the acclaimed film “A Hand Full of Dirt” written and directed by Barbadian Russell Watson and produced by Lisa Harewood, also from Barbados. It tells the story of the men of the Redman family, a father, grandfather and son – three Caribbean men representing three generations – who try desperately to break with the past to pursue their dreams on their own terms. It soon becomes painfully clear that their lives are inextricably linked and the past exerts an inescapable grip on the future.
The film premiered at the Trinidad and Tobago film Festival last November. It has since featured at the African Diaspora Film Festival in New York, the prestigious Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and the Toronto Reel World Film Festival where it played to full houses and won the Audience Choice Award.