Althea Romeo Mark is an educator and writer born in English Harbour, Antigua, West Indies. English Harbour was formerly a British Royal Naval base in the 1800s. She grew up in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands which was formerly a Danish colony until it was bought by the US in 1914. Her parents moved to the US Virgin Islands in the 1950s after a series of hurricanes and droughts devastated Antigua. She comes from families of immigrants and emigrants and West African slaves brought to the Caribbean by slave traders. Her paternal great grandfather was a British sailor who settled in Antigua. Her paternal grandfather was a descendant of French immigrants who settled in St. Martin and St. Barts. Her maternal great grandfather was a Nigerian sailor who settled in Antigua in the mid-1800s. Her family history reflects that of many Caribbean people . . . people from European colonies and subjects of its imperial history; people influenced by the African culture handed down to them by slave ancestors and people who travelled from one island to other to try and improve their lives.
She has lived and taught in St. Thomas, US, Virgin Islands, Connecticut and Ohio, USA, Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa, London, England and in Basel, Switzerland since 1991. Her short stories, personal essays and poems reflect her life’s experiences and cultural influences inherited from her Caribbean roots.
Althea Romeo Mark is the author of two full-length poetry collections, The Nakedness of New and If Only the Dust Would Settle (English-German), and four chapbooks, Beyond Dreams: The Ritual Dancer; Two Faces, Two Phases; Palaver; and Shu-Shu Moko Jumbi: The Silent Dancing Spirit.
Her work has been inspired by major transitions in her life: Her family moving from Antigua (then a British colony) to the US Virgin Islands. Her moving to Liberia in 1976 and having to flee with her family in 1990 due to the Liberian Civil War (1990–2014) and her family having to declare themselves refugees in London, UK. Finally, her family had to start all over again in Switzerland, where her husband had studied medicine. Her family’s new start was challenging in terms of culture and language. Switzerland is now home.
Awards and prizes include: The Arts and Science Poetry Prize for poems published in POEZY 21:Antologia Festivaluluiinternational Noptile De Poezie De Curtea De Arges, Romania; the Marguerite Cobb McKay Prize, The Caribbean Writer for her short story “Bitterleaf,” in Volume 22; short story prize for “Easter Sunday,” Stauffacher English Short Story Competition in Switzerland, Poetry Award for the poem “Ole No-Teeth Mama,” Cuyahogo Community Writers Conference and, a Scholarship Award from Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, Middlebury College, Vermont, USA.
Paperback: 46 pages
Publisher: Kelsay Books (June 26, 2023)