|Name Marion Bethel|
|Books Guanahani, My Love, Bougainvillea Ringplay|
Marion Bethel (born July 31, 1953) is an attorney, poet, essayist, filmmaker, human and gender rights activist, and writer from Nassau, The Bahamas.
Bethel is best known for her anthologies of poems, Guanahani, My Love and Bougainvillea Ringplay, both of which have appeared in The Caribbean Writer, Autumn Winter, and Junction, among others. She is also recognized for her documentary film on the women's suffrage movement in The Bahamas called Womanish Ways: Freedom, Human Rights & Democracy 1934 to 1962 which received the 2012 Award in Documentary at the Urban Suburban International Film Festival. Her passion in her involvement in the Women's Movement in the Caribbean has awarded her the 11th Caribbean Community (CARICOM) award in 2014. Bethel has also received the Casa de Las Americas Prize for poetry, and has spoken at many events including The IV International Poetry Festival of Granada.
She currently resides with her husband Alfred Sears in The Bahamas where she is a managing partner at Sears & Co. She now focuses on political activism in civil society in The Bahamas and began serving on the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) on January 1, 2017.
Early life and education
After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish with honors at McGill University, Bethel received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Law at Wolfson College, Cambridge University. While in England, she pursued her certificate of legal education at the Council of Legal Education and later pursued her Master of Arts Degree at Columbia University. Before taking her bar examinations in 1987, Bethel spent a summer writing a collections of poems later to be published as Guanahani, My Love (originally Guanahani, mi amor: Y otros poemas) which won the prestigious Casa de Las Americas Prize of Poetry, making her one of the few Caribbean writers to receive this award.
While working on her first manuscript Guanahani, My Love, Bethel attended the Caribbean Writers Summer Institute at the University of Miami in 1991 where she worked with two well known Barbadian writers, George Lamming and Kamau Braithwaite. After the passing of Southern Christian Leadership Conference founder and civil rights pioneer Evelyn Lowery, Bethel's film Womanish Ways: Freedom, Human Rights & Democracy 1934 to 1962 was showcased at Spelman College and she met some of Atlanta's most influential African-American entrepreneurs and activists, in addition to former Vice-President of Tyler Perry Studios and CEO/ President of Bobbcat Films Rogger Bobb. Later that week, billionaire Dr. Bill Allen treated Mrs. Bethel and The Bahamas Consul General to lunch during which Consul General Randy Rolle stated that people like Marion Bethel have much to contribute as it pertains to sharing the history of The Bahamas.
After passing her bar exams in September 1984, Bethel became admitted as an attorney-at-law to the Bar of England and Wales in 1985 and The Bahamas in 1986 while practicing administrative law, company law, commercial law, contracts, conveyancing, immigration law, insurance law, and matrimonial law. From 1896 to 1994, she then went on to work in the Office of the Attorney General; in 1997, Bethel was named the Alice Proskauer Fellow at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Harvard University while also writing Bougainvillea Ringplay during her spare time. On June 2005, Bethel began a retreat for African-American poets as a three-part poetry workshop titled "Cave Canem", held at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2012, she directed Womanish Ways: Freedom, Human Rights & Democracy, the Women’s Suffrage Movement in The Bahamas 1948 to 1962, a documentary on the struggle to gain women the right to vote in The Bahamas. Her passion for the Women's Movement in the Caribbean and The Bahamas became evident from this movie and she then received widespread support from many African, European, and Asian countries. Bethel was elected to serve on the Committee of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019. She currently works as a managing partner at Sears & Co. and is working on a third anthology of poetry and a novel.
On July 1991, Bethel received a James Michener Fellowship in the Department of English at the University of Miami by the Caribbean Writers Summer Institute. Bethel was one of few Caribbean writers to receive the Casa de Las Americas Prize for her collection of poems in Guanahani, mi amor: Y otros poemas. Additionally, Bethel is also the first Bahamian to receive the CARICOM award and was given this award in 2014 for her contribution towards gender justice and culture and the socio-economic development of the Caribbean. One way she has contributed to gender justice and culture is through her documentary Womanish Ways: Freedom, Human Rights & Democracy 1934 to 1962, which received the 2012 Award in Documentary at the Urban Suburban International Film Festival in Philadelphia. despite interventions on behalf of female members of parliament Hope Strachan and Loretta Butler. However, representative for Englerston Glenys Hanna-Martin states that Bethel's documentary was a "beautiful, powerful piece of work.".