Slavery and the Law Speaker Series – M. NourbeSe Philip

Thursday, February 22, 2024 17:45to19:00
McGill Faculty of Law, New Chancellor Day Hall, Maxwell Cohen Moot Court, Room 100
event poster


Organised by the Labour Law and Development Research Laboratory and as part of the Slavery and the Law course, join us for a special reading and discussion of the work of legal poetry Zong! with acclaimed poet, writer, and lawyer M. NourbeSe Philip.  

Zong! is a book length poem composed entirely from the words of the infamous case report, Gregson v. Gilbert (1783). The captain of the slave ship Zong ordered that the enslaved be murdered by drowning before seeking insurance cover. As innovative literary work, Zong! pushes back the boundaries of poetic form in which memory, history, and law collide and metamorphose. Zong! tells the story that cannot be told yet must be told. 

The event will be followed by a reception. Please register at lldrl.law [at] mcgill.ca Open to all. Come as you are!  

About the Speaker  

M. NourbeSe Philip is an acclaimed Canadian writer, novelist, essayist, poet, and lawyer. Before devoting her time to writing, she practiced law for seven years in Toronto. She writes both non-fiction and fiction and has published renowned works such as She Tries Her Tongue; Her Silence Softly Breaks, Harriet’s Daughter, and BlanK.  

She has received numerous awards including the Chalmers Award in 2002, among other Ontario Arts Council grants. In 1995, she was the recipient of the Toronto Arts Council award in writing and publishing. M. NourbeSe Philip also won, in 1988, the prestigious prize Casa de las Americas for her book, She Tries Her Tongue. More recently, M. NourbeSe Philip was the 2020 recipient of PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature, as well as the 2021 recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts’ lifetime achievement award, the Molson Prize, for her “invaluable contributions to literature.” Zong! was named the 2021 winner of World Literature Today’s 21 Books for the 21st Century. 

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