Tag Archives: Caribbean books

Collins Readies Rollout of #OwnVoices Caribbean Children’s Books

Image of new Caribbean titles in the Collins Caribbean Schools Catalogue 2021.

A number of Caribbean authors and illustrators, including some from Antigua and Barbuda, have signed on to produce books for the Collins Big Cat series of children’s books. I am one of those authors – and my book The Jungle Outside, (ETA cover) illustrated by Trinidad and Tobago’s Danielle Boodoo Fortune, who also created visuals for my Caribbean Reads edition of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, is among books in the series (my only book under contract with Collins) that are already being promoted online. Let’s check them out.

Each book has the following preamble: “Collins Big Cat supports every primary child on their reading journey from phonics to fluency. Top authors and illustrators have created fiction and non-fiction books that children love to read. Book banded for guided and independent reading, there are reading notes in the back, comprehensive teaching and assessment support and ebooks available.”

The series is international and I remember when Collins reached out to Caribbean writers and requested recommendations of Caribbean illustrators (a number of which I was happy to recommend); so it’s good to see it coming to fruition. My particular book, per the official synopsis, “tells the story of Dante and his grandmother, Tanti, as they explore Tanti’s garden. At first reluctant, Dante soon comes to realise the adventures that await him outside and we follow them as he climbs trees, tastes fruit, and finally notices the nature around him…It encourages children get outside and explore, to look at things differently, and to face their fears.” This book is about 142 days away from its publication date – and it’s been interesting going through the development process for this book, a book about exploring outside, in a time when kids don’t even get outside recess anymore (here in Antigua) because we’re trying to keep them safe. Here’s to a day when children are once again free to explore. The book is scheduled for release in March 2021.

Now, the others. I know there are more than mentioned here; so forgive (and inform) me if I missed any.

Turtle Beach by Barbara A. Arrindell (local author, bookseller, and part of Team Wadadli Pen) with illustrator, also from Antigua and Barbuda, Zavian Archibald is forthcoming in June 2021. Per the official synopsis: “A young girl is excited to be going to a restaurant to celebrate her birthday with her parents. While she’s there, she sees baby turtles trying to find their way to the ocean. It’s a magical event to witness, but she also learns how humans can interfere with the journey of the hatchlings and why they need to take actions to help them reach the water. This beautifully illustrated book is a story that raises awareness of how simple acts can impact vulnerable creatures like turtles. While this is a story set in the Caribbean, it’s one that goes beyond the Caribbean and highlights environmental issues of interest to everyone.”

Meanwhile, Finny the Fairy Fish by multi-award winning Jamaican writer and environmental activist Diana McCaulay with illustrator Stacey Byer releases this November. It’s described as the story of “a rare fairy fish living on a Caribbean coral reef. He has never seen another fairy fish, until one day he sees himself in a conch shell mirror and realizes he is different from everyone else. Finny believes he is ugly and worthless, but his friends persuade him to leave the reef and journey to the deep sea where an elder dolphin explains to him that difference it to be celebrated. Finny the Fairy Fish deals with themes of tolerance, belonging and celebration of diversity, using a Caribbean coral reef as the setting. The book introduces the types of creatures living on a reef and some of the threats facing the sea. It also encourages children to identify and talk about emotions.”

Due next March is Wygenia and the World Leaf by Trinidad’s Summer Edward, founding editor of the Anansesem online children’s journal. “When her beloved Grannie falls ill, ten-year-old Wygenia feels lonely and helpless. Then she learns about a healing plant so powerful it’s called ‘Wonder of the World.’ But will it really work? Set in the Caribbean island of Trinidad, this realistic fiction tale tells the story of Wygenia’s quest to restore her Grannie to the high-spirited companion she used to know.” It is described as a story that “evokes Caribbean traditions and customs in a non-stereotypical way.”

ETA (via Collins, I’ve learned that I missed): Sea Turtles by Carol Mitchell, a non-fiction book providing fascinating facts about these denizens of the sea, forthcoming November 2020; The Lost Sketch Book by Imam Baksh, about two friends finding a sketch book that can bring drawings to life, due February 2021; and, self-explanatory, How to Become a Calypsonian by Desryn Collins, also due in February 2021. Mitchell, originally of St. Kitts-Nevis, is, in addition to being an author, an independent publisher (Caribbean Reads Publishing) in her own right; Baksh is a multi-award winning Guyanese writer; and Desryn Collins, also originally of Guyana, serves as curriculum officer with the Ministry of Education in Antigua and Barbuda. Summer’s book is illustrated by another Trini Sayada Ramdial. I am informed there may be one other title but details are not yet available.

ETA: Collins Caribbean Secondary Schools Catalogue 2021 Caribbean Catalogue 2021_web. It includes other titles such as these non-Big Cat social studies texts produced by another Antigua-Barbuda based writer .

Previous Caribbean themed or set Big Cat story books have been written by UK based Guyanese writers John Agard and Grace Nichols with illustrator Rosie Woods (Full Moon Night in Silk Cotton Tree Village: A Collection of Caribbean Folk Tales, 2016) and with Satoshi Kitamura (Twinkle, Twinkle, Firefly, 2010, and Tiger Dead! Tiger Dead!: Stories from the Caribbean, 2009).

It’s a good thing to have stories from our own imaginings or own voices stories, so we’re happy to shine a spotlight on these books (and look forward to reading them – as I have some non-Caribbean books in the Big Cat series) and on all books for children including, per our on site bibliography, Antiguan and Barbudan Children’s Literature.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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F is for … (from the Caribbean Literary Heritage Forgotten Caribbean Books Series)

Alison Donell of the University of East Anglia in the UK and its Caribbean Literary Heritage project started running a series on forgotten Caribbean writers on social media during the pandemic. She followed that up with a series on forgotten books (in progress at this writing), recruiting writers like me to research, draft, and submit entries  for this series. The series kicked off with a book by Antiguan and Barbudan author Jamaica Kincaid (A is for Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie, Gwen, Lilly, Pam, and Tulip, 1983, by Keja Valens). I revisited an author whose literary history I had done my best to cobble together over a series of posts here and on my jhohadli blog. it was the necessary prep for this article which I am archiving here now that it’s already run in the series.

F is for The Fountain and the Bough (1938) by Eileen Hall

By Joanne C. Hillhouse

Eileen Flora Hall, b. 1903, remains mostly unknown to not only the Caribbean but Antiguan and Barbudan literary canon. Her sole collection The Fountain and The Bough, dedicated to her husband Dr. Michael Lake, was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1938 (per a biography by a family member there may have been earlier editions – 1935, 1936; American Mercury Inc., Harriet Monroe).

The Hall family is well known in political circles in Antigua and Barbuda. Eileen’s brother, Sir Robert Hall, was a founding member of the Progressive Labour Movement, the country’s first parliamentary opposition, and the elected government between 1971 and 1976 during which time he served as deputy premier and the first minister of agriculture. Hall’s father’s family is from Oxford while her mother’s side was Irish and French. Her family’s presence in the Caribbean dates back to the mid-17th century. She migrated to America, via Ellis Island, at age 19.

Hall’s writing was well received in its time. Ford Madox Ford, an influential figure in the literary world, was reportedly among her friends and champions (another was reportedly T. S. Eliot). She spoke French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Greek, and Latin. “Her translations of works by short story writers; and her own poems from earlier issues of prominent literary journals including Harper’s, Poetry, and American Mercury, show the breadth of her literary engagements…Her short stories and translations of other women’s work are strewn in small publications on both sides of the Atlantic,” the A & B Review said. On the point of translations, much of that is lost to history, but a couple of found credits include her translation of Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner and the 1956 Penguin edition of Johanna Spyri’s Heidi.

The alumni magazine of Antigua Girls High School, then a school for elites, celebrated her on her book’s release as “an authentic poet who writes high, restrained verse, with austerity and bitterness…poetry of sorrowful but undoubted music.” Poetry magazine’s review reads, “Not often in a first book does one find structural mastery: the clean, spare welding of word and phrase that gives logical shape and direction to a poem.” It continues, “Eileen Hall’s poems are never glib and facile, always compact, meticulous, assured”. The Poetry review, however, chided her writing’s lack of “adventure…audacity…wit”, its over-attention to discipline and form.

Yet Hall was, in some ways, boundary pushing. While most of The Fountain and the Bough is written in standard English, the book is noteworthy for its use of Creole/local vernacular in several of her poems. The A & B Review commented that her author’s note in her 1938 collection re this aspect of her writing is today “invaluable; while full of irony: ‘the poems in Part IIII, referring to Antigua, West Indies, contain words and allusions that may be unfamilar.’ A rich glossary of ‘the negro dialect of Antigua’[sic] follows, illuminating those six poems – two of which are in the reputed ‘dialect’: (Obeah Woman, and Lullaby).”

From Lullabye: ‘Fool neber ‘fraid w’en moon look bright,/Say, ‘Crab and jumbie lub dark night.’/Jumbie like moon as well as we—/Dey comin’ waalkin’ from de sea./Deir foot tu’n backward w’en dey tread,/ Dey wearin’ body ub de dead/ Dat fisher-bwoy dat wu’k on sloop,/He watch dem waalkin’ from Guadeloupe./Dey waalk de Channel, like it grass;/Den, like rain-cloud, he see dem pass./ Dey comin’ steppin out ub Hell,/Wit burnin’ yeye an’ a sweet smell.”

Clearly, she references not just the language there but the folklore and mythology of home, Antigua. This is even more evident in the short and cutting Obeah Woman: “So lef’ me, ef you waan’a feel/How p’isin sting from manchineel./De bruk leaf blister w’ere ‘e touch./ Who tek lub easy, no’ lub much./Ef you min’in’ gal dat talk so neat/An’ ack so lollice in de street/Goin’ pung de root ub a pepper tree/Fu’ t’row wit’ sugar in yo’ tea./A’ done wit’ studyin’ right an’ wrang./So ‘memba, me no ‘fraid to hang.”

Consider that this was long before there was anything resembling a standard for writing this largely oral language spoken largely by the Black Creole community (Hall was white), and that acceptance of this language as a legitimate form of communication – and not just bad English – remains a work in progress to this day. It’s not known what, if any challenges, Hall encountered publishing in Antiguan vernacular, in the 1930s, especially with non-Caribbean publishers, but she makes it look and read quite effortless. It holds up; powerful imagery, well expressed.

And even with her more standard fare, Hall’s writing casts its eye to the island she never again visited after her father’s death in 1952.

“The dates and names of death no more are seen,
Obliterated by the living green.” (Graves on Barton Hill: Antigua)

ADDITIONAL REFERENCES

Bio by Eileen Hall’s niece, Robert Hall’s daughter, Yvonne McMillan: – bio link https://jhohadli.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/marie-eileen-flora-hall-lake-by-yvonne-macmillan.pdf

“Biala’s beautiful friend Eileen Lake, ‘long of limb’ …and ‘lithe of back’” from Ford’s work, as referenced in the 2005 biography Ford Madox Ford and the Regiment of Women: Violet Hunt, Jean Rhys, Stella Bowen, Janice Biala by Joseph Wiesenfarth.

The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books 2012 edition Volume 5 Number 1 which spotlighted women writers, excavating, per the words of guest editor Edgar Lake, no known relation, “a small part of what lies forgotten in libraries and museums around the world”.

Susan Stan writes in Heidi in English: a Bibliographic Study (New Review of Children’s Literature and Librarianship Volume 16 Issue 1 – 2010, p. 1-23) that “little else is known about her (Hall). This translation, along with Edwardes’, is one of the two most widely disseminated today and may be the translation most contemporary British children have grown up on. In both the U.S. and the U.K., if one were to look for a new copy of Heidi in paperback, this would be the likely option.”

Poetry review of The Fountain and the Bough was published in January 1939 and written by Ruth Lechlitner, Vol. 53, No. 4, pp. 223-225. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20581627

CREATIVE SPACE 15 of 2018. November 6th 2018. https://jhohadli.wordpress.com/creative-space/creative-space-2018/creative-space-15-of-2018-antigua-and-barbuda-an-art-history-culture-tour-3

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On Bill Burt, the Burt Award (for Caribbean Literature), and the 18 teen/young adult Caribbean fiction titles it produced

Burt-Award-winners-book-covers

Home Homethe beast of kukuyoThe Art of White RosesThe-Dark-of-the-SeaMy-Fishy-StepmomA-Dark-Iris

The-Unmarked-Girl-Jeanelle-Frontin

You may not know the name Bill Burt. After all, he was a Canadian commodities broker. But you may know some of the titles above (all Code Burt award titles from the Caribbean). That seal on all but the newest of the pictured titles (This year’s titles are not yet published but the original edition of the winning 2019 title The Unmarked Girl is pictured) is the Oprah’s Book Club seal of teen/young adult Caribbean literature, that little edge, that extra endorsement to help them stand out and perhaps be picked up. It is an endorsement. It indicates that these titles have been tapped by writers, editors, and other literary professionals from the Caribbean and elsewhere who served as judges (refreshed every year), as being among the best new writing from the region in the teen/young adult genre.  It is Bill Burt putting a ring on it.

Accepting Burt Award trophy

That’s Bill Burt, left, above presenting me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) with the first runner up trophy for the inaugural Caribbean Code Burt award, for my then unpublished manuscript Musical Youth, at the 2014 Bocas literary festival in Trinidad.

A trophy. The most substantial single cheque of my creative writing career to that point. An opportunity to be published and to select the publishing house I would be working with from among several options in the Caribbean. A guaranteed order of the books. That was my prize. It was an amazing boost at the time.

Musical Youth and all of the pictured books benefited from someone, who, with the funds he made through this stock market investments, helped amplify stories from typically marginalized communities of which the Caribbean was only one.

Winners ...and #MusicalYouths in their own right ... members of the AGHS winning cast from the secondary schools drama festival collecting copies of Musical Youth.
(above and below, me presenting copies of Musical Youth at local schools)Musical Youth copies 2014 3

The Burt Award, named for Bill Burt and administered by CODE, a Canadian non-profit, stimulated the production of teen/young adult fiction specific to communities whose voices are not often heard in the vast publishing world. He presented the first Burt Award (for teen/young adult African literature), in Tanzania in 2009. The programme subsequently expanded to Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Canada (specifically among First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people), and the Caribbean.

The initial guaranteed order of the winning books was/is distributed to teens and young adults through individuals and institutions that work with youth. If you appreciate that funding is a major hindrance for working artists and for independent publishers, you will appreciate how significant this prize is; if you can appreciate that this was about producing books teens and young adults in the region would WANT to read, you would see how impactful this prize was or could be.

I entered that first year (October 2013 submission deadline), after they had adjusted initial proposed guidelines to accept unpublished manuscripts. I had to print, bind, and FedEx the manuscript from Antigua to Trinidad. I believe the guidelines were adjusted the following year to allow for online submissions but submissions had to be professionally bound in 2013. It wasn’t cheap but it was one of those invest in yourself moments and it was worth it because, thanks in great part to this programme, the book that manuscript birthed, Musical Youth, placed with Caribbean Reads publishing, out of St. Kitts, has become one of my best performing books. I can’t imagine Musical Youth even existing in a Burt-less world, especially given that two weeks out from the deadline I started writing something to submit (which is not the advised way to approach competitions of this nature but is the way this book came to be). Future Burt finalist Shakirah Bourne (of Barbados) who wrote her title (My Fishy Stepmom) in less than a month, blogged recently about how this bit of foolhardiness on my part inspired her (after some disappointments that made her consider not submitting at all):

“Five months later, on October 7th 2017, Antiguan author, Joanne Hillhouse shared the invitation to submit to the 2018 CODE Burt Award on Facebook. Initially I dismissed it. The deadline was October 31st, 24 days later. But Joanne is an amazing blogger and so I checked out her post ‘The BURT Blog – Memories to Keep and a Trophy’ and was amazed to read that she wrote her award-winning book Musical Youth in less than two weeks!”

When I heard this year ahead of the announcement of the last Burt finalists at the Bocas lit fest which administered the prize regionally, that this would be the last year, I wrote back to them “Congrats to the shortlisted writers. Sorry to hear it’s coming to an end. Sorry as well to learn (as I just did in this email) of the passing of Bill Burt. He did a great thing.”

That’s why I’m writing this because Bill Burt did a great thing and we need more people within and without the region to replicate this kind of philanthropy – in fact, one of my dreams for Wadadli Pen is that someday it has the resources to support a writer now and again in the region or maybe even the sub-region, maybe just Antigua and Barbuda, for completion of a project – just give them a financial break for a bit so that they can focus on creating. It’s the kind of help I need and as with Wadadli Pen itself, started because of a void in my experience of anything to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, I want to be in a position someday to support other artists in the ways that I don’t feel supported today.

Bill Burt’s life at least from his 40s onwards (I think) is a reminder that there is great value in giving if you can, where you see the gaps, simply because it needs to be done.

I know this is running long but I wanted to run through the books and some developments (re the authors’ professional trajectory) certainly in the Caribbean since winning the Burt award. Starting with 2019 (via bocaslitfest) and working back to the inaugural year, 2014, with the hope that you will consider purchasing (sharing, reviewing, recommending) these specifically Caribbean books, which wouldn’t exist as they do (as exciting new titles from Caribbean publishers for the teen/young adult market) without Bill Burt.

The Burt Award will not be accepting submissions from 2020 on; it will be interesting to see if any philanthropic entity steps in to the gap.

2019 titles:
Winning title – The-Unmarked-Girl-Jeanelle-FrontinThe Unmarked Girl by Jeanelle Frontin (Trinidad and Tobago), published by Mark Made Group Ltd (which is a Caribbean-based company providing arts and entertainment services of which publishing is only one component) – a quick google suggests that Frontin submitted the first of three ebooks in her YaraStar trilogy; self-published, according to Looptt (which suggests to me that Mark Made is not a traditional publisher but either a vanity or hybrid, paid for their services by the author). That book (already awash with five star reviews on Amazon) and the entire series just got a boost.

The Accidental Prize by Tamika Gibson (Trinidad and Tobago) – Tamika, a returning finalist, submitted a manuscript which puts this in the to-be-published category. Gibson, also a 2016 finalist for Dreams Beyond the Shore, published by Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books, and named one of 2017’s best contemporary teen reads by Kirkus, said, “What’s phenomenal about the Burt Award is that it’s a direct path to getting your books into the hands of readers. Entering the competition has freed me to focus on writing the best novel that I can, without having to worry too much about the business aspects that come after the book is finished.”

Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica), also a manuscript – Diana is also a previous winner for 2015’s Gone to Drift which has since had an American edition published (2016) with Harper Collins after its initial release with Dominica’s Papillote Press. McCaulay was already an award winning and critically acclaimed author and activist when she first triumphed at Burt and hasn’t missed a step with another non-Burt book published in 2017 (her fourth novel) and Daylight Come forthcoming with, I believe, Peepal Tree press (which is UK based but publishes primarily Caribbean fiction and has been a favourite of the main Bocas prize).

2018 titles:
Winning title – The-Dark-of-the-SeaThe Dark of the Sea by Imam Baksh (Guyana) – also a repeat winner this is his second previously unpublished manuscript to find a home with Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books after 2015 Burt title Children of the Spider which was published in 2016.  He explains in this linked article how the increased visibility positions him to do more to boost literature in his country even as he continues to work on his next novel and embraces opportunities to travel and present his work (most recently featured at the Edinburgh literary festival)

My Fishy Stepmom by Shakirah Bourne (Barbados) – manuscript, the Caribbean edition since published by Blouse and Skirt which is an imprint within Blue Banyan. Bourne is an independent filmmaker and self-published author now with a literary agent (I mention that this is the Caribbean edition of the book for just this reason as she also landed the book with an international agent right around the time it was shortlisted for the prize, as she blogs here). For her, there are loads of emerging opportunities (of which being a featured presenter at the 2019 Edinburgh festival is only one).

A Dark Iris by Elizabeth J. Jones (Bermuda) – manuscript, since published by Blouse and Skirt (Blue Banyan Books). You’ll see Tanya Batson-Savage’s Blouse and Skirt and/or Blue Banyan Books on this list a number of times as it has published more Burt Caribbean titles than any other imprint. Specifically, The Dark of the Sea and Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh, My Fishy Stepmom by Shakirah Bourne, The Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein, Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell, Dreams Beyond the Shore by Tamika Gibson, Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph, and the very first Burt Caribbean winning title All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele. This means that this independent Caribbean publisher’s list has grown by almost 10 (maybe more by the time this year’s winning books are published) because of this prize’s investment in the region and in the process new voices from across the region (Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, and Jamaica just from this list alone) are being either heard or amplified. I have had the opportunity to work with Blue Banyan as an editor of one of the named books and can attest to how seriously Tanya takes the job of shepherding these books in to the marketplace.

2017 titles:
Winning title – The Art of White RosesThe Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nunez (Puerto Rico) – this previously self-published novel was described by Kirkus as “An emotional coming-of-age story posed against the backdrop of the Cuban revolution.” It is one of three Burt titles issued by Dominica’s Papillote Press. What’s interesting to me is that Papillote, while not publishing Dominican books exclusively, had, certainly in my mind, been branded as a distinctively Dominican press (a press primarily concerned with stories out of Dominica) – with the publication of three Burt books out of Jamaica, Trinidad, and Puerto Rico in a short three year span, it emphatically broadened its brand to include the wider Caribbean.

Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini (Trinidad and Tobago) – this too is a Papillote book. I actually couldn’t find a lot from Lisa re the publication of the book but she did say this about its genesis on her blog: “The manuscript I first wrote a decade ago and rewrote while in hell in an airport in Suriname in 2016 is now being published as Home Home by Papillote Press, after being named third place in the CODE Burt Awards for Caribbean Literature in 2017. We’re hoping to do a launch at the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

Yay!!!”

For a manuscript 10 years in the making, I suspect that “Yay!!!” is only the half of it. And that’s the other thing, some of us write new things, some find a home finally for that manuscript gathering dust because of an industry that makes very little room for voices like ours. ETA: Home Home has landed a deal with Delacorte (Penguin) for release of a US edition due in 2020.

The Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad and Tobago) – Kevin was actually on quite a roll (with several Commonwealth short story wins, Bocas long listing)  when he placed in Burt so perhaps for him this didn’t change much but it certainly added to his coffers and his publishing credits.

2016 titles:
Winner – Dreams Beyond the Shore Dreams-Beyond-the-Shore-front-lr-190x300by Tamika Gibson (Trinidad and Tobago)

Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell (Bermuda) – who, per this article, dreamed of being a writer since her days reading the Bobbsey Twins and then of working in publishing, then a librarian only to find that she couldn’t work as a librarian in Bermuda because of segregation. With this book, the first dream is fully realized and she finally gets to tell the little known tale of segregation in Bermuda – and telling our under-told and unknown stories in a way that can enlighten generation now about the past is not a small thing. This is just one review I came across on booktube which contrasts segregation in the US and in Bermuda via Girlcott, indicating that this is a book primed for social studies discussion.
Beautifully Bookish Bethany, who seems to be American, said “(Girlcott is) super interesting… because I actually had never heard anything about Bermuda during the civil rights era… this is from an indie publisher but I really recommend it.”

The Protectors’ Pledge by Danielle Y C Mclean – published by Caribbean Reads
It’s worth noting here that one of the interesting elements of the Burt titles is that they underscore that the Caribbean story is not one thing; we write in different genres of different times and different futures, we have lore that is primed for exploration and expansion, and imaginations not constrained by the perceived tropes of Caribbean literature. There are many other non teen/young adult books that do this of course but if you’re looking for your teen reader you can find romance, adventure, crime, fantasy, coming of age, history, and so much more; just google them (I haven’t linked every book because I don’t feel like linking to Amazon but I have linked to the reviews I’ve written of the ones I’ve read).

2015 titles:
Winner – children of the spider 001Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh (Guyana) – Anansi as you’ve never seen…ze?

Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica) – a book that draws on the author’s career in environmental advocacy as it weaves a tight rescue tale.

Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph (Trinidad and Tobago) – I haven’t read the published version of this one yet though it is on my book shelf but I did read it when it was a contender for the prize as I was a judge that year. And speaking of telling different stories, this was is not only a Caribbean story but is another story that can be added to the library of books (if such a thing exists) about the fallout from 9/11, existing as it does at the intersection of Caribbean and American life. It’s also about grief as Home Home is about depression, as such tackling the still fairly taboo issue of mental health. These books (the Burt books generally) go there and really should be read not just by Caribbean teens but beyond.

2014 titles:
Winner – all over again - cover FAW 05JUN2013All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele (Jamaica) who has recently been announced as a Musgrave medal recipient (the equivalent of national awards) for her contribution to the literary arts. She said in the  linked article, “We are still in the very early stages, but there are a lot of fantastic writers right here in Jamaica. Unfortunately, most of them get on a plane and leave in search of greater opportunities for income and exposure. With technology moving the way it is, the good thing is that that is not even necessary any more as we can stay here and enjoy the benefits of these markets. But at a certain level, our work has to be recognised, we need to be taken seriously and it must be recognised that behind every great movie, song, radio or television programme is a good writer.” No lies detected and the Burt award – in fact other Bocas prizes are among the very few opportunities for writer development and reward in the Caribbean. That’s another reason why it’s sad to see it go- especially before another Eastern Caribbean small island writer could come through.

Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse (Antigua and Barbuda) – that’s me (the previous Eastern Caribbean small island writer that came through) and I would be remiss if I didn’t speak a bit on the opportunities I’ve had to work with the Burt Award and/or Code since being short listed for this prize. I organized and facilitated a workshop in 2014 (in addition to assisting with distribution and promotion of all three Burt titles here in Antigua and Barbuda)

my gift1.jpg

presentation of Colleen Smith-Dennis’ Inner City Girl at Clare Hall Secondary school

Gift to Library

copies to the Public Library at the official launch of Musical Youth

; I was recruited as a judge for the 2015 Caribbean Burt prize; and I was hired in 2017 as a mentor for one of the finalists of the Burt Africa prize. Thanks to Caribbean Reads’ hustle, my book Musical Youth (added to the schools reading lists in Antigua and Barbuda in 2018 and to a reading list in Trinidad before that, with its second and hard cover editions published in 2019)

MUSICAL_YOUTH_Cover_FRONT_Final

new edition released 2019

continues to find new readers (I’ve personally presented it at readings in New York, St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Croix, Barbados, and here at home).

with Muntsa Plana Valls and Auntie Janice and the staff at one of three schools visited

after a school presentation in St. Croix

It has earned accolades from the likes of Oonya Kempadoo (author of Buxton Spice) who said, “I first recognized the weight of her work by the response of the teens to her book, Musical Youth , in the Grenada Community Library. It remains one of the most popular books with teens, despite their tendency to shun Caribbean literature when they have a choice because they are required to read it in schools.”

Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis (Jamaica)

Bocas 5

Bocas Photo of finalists panel at the inaugural Code Burt award for Caribbean teen/young adult fiction (photo by Marlon James/original Bocas photographer)

If you’ve never heard of the Code Burt Award, I hope this post helps fill in the blanks and underscores the need for arts philanthropy. Per the Bocas press release announcing the wrapping up of the prize, “This unique literary award programme has inspired Caribbean writers to create fantastic stories; publishers have been supported to build young adult literature into their lists; teachers and librarians have been given fantastic resources; and young readers now have access to more books than ever before.”  I would say that we have always been telling fantastic stories and Burt gave us a platform to get them published while building the publishing infrastructure in the region and targeting the desired audience, ensuring that they, Caribbean teens, have stories they can relate to which also fire their imagination.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.

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Check us Out

I spent part of Saturday 15th December 2018 at the Best of Books Bookstore as part of their in-store display of local authors. Yes, we were right there to greet and hopefully entice readers doing their Christmas shopping.December 2018 3And yeah, we did some of that but we also caught up, talked movies, talked comics, talked comic book films – so you know it got spirited #booknerds We’re our own special brand of misfit cool – so don’t come for us.December 2018 2Do come for our books though. There is still time between now and Christmas. And since books – unlike bread – don’t go stale, there’ll be there after Christmas too.December 2018 1

So, let me tell you about these books real quick. Starting with the books (the pictured books) by the authors who were present.

Like Kimolisa Mings (far left in each of the posted pictures) most recent Into the Black Widow’s Web, and earlier releases If the Shoe Fits and She wanted a Love Poem. Into the Black Widow’s Web is a Caribbean mystery beginning with the death of Audra Kellman and featuring private investigator D’Angelo Marshall walking the razor’s edge of the law and getting caught up in a web of secrets, and a case that could change his life forever. Similarly If the Shoe Fits is a mystery from the perspective of Cindy Ellington who wakes up in the middle of a gruesome crime scene with no memory of the night before, and is now on the run and uncertain if she is the killer. She wanted a Love Poem is a poetry collection. You can read my review of it here on the blog. I’ll add this. In addition to being a talented and prolific writer, Kim is savvy – she self-publishes, and has attention grabbing titles and covers, runs workshops on and assists others with self-publishing, and is quite internet savvy (building and running sites like Bus Stop Antigua and others). She did a guest post about ebook publishing which is her primary lane a while ago; you can check that out here. Kim has a few books – A Friend in Need, I do…NOT, If the Shoe Fits, and Into the Black Widow’s Web – in the running for the Readers Choice Book of the Year, so remember to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

Then there’s Brenda Lee Browne (middle in the top two pictures) with her book London Rocks (her other book Just Write, a photo/lit journal isn’t pictured but I’ll mention it because she mentioned that there’s a new smaller version of the original book now available). London Rocks though is her first book of fiction and it tells the story of Dante a young Black man of West Indian descent finding his way in London, finding his way through music. So Dante gives you a window to the dub music/sound boy scene in late 70s/early 80s England and to the realities of being a Black body in a largely white world. When Brenda, mother of one, is not writing, she’s working behind the scenes of professional cricket both in the Caribbean and across the way in India; she’s also been a journalist and a creative writing/communications instructor and text writer. Both London Rocks and Just Write are in the running for the Readers Choice Book of the Year, so remember to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

Michelle Toussaint (middle, bottom picture) has a book called Now Taking a Lover which is a collection of poems chronicling a woman’s journey from spurned lover, to finding love. She is a secondary school science teacher (trained in forensic science and science education), wife, and mother of three. She also maintains two blogs, Death by Expectations and What the Hell is Real.

Finally, there is me, Joanne C. Hillhouse (far right in each of the pictures). In one picture I’m holding Musical Youth and on the table you can see Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure.

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In addition to being an author, I provide writing and writing related services, and I blog here (at Wadadli Pen, the online platform for the programme I started in Antigua and Barbuda to nurture and showcase the literary arts) and at jhohadli. Musical Youth was first runner-up for the Burt Award for teen/young adult Caribbean literature in 2014. It follows the drama – literally – of a group of teens involved in a summer production and deals with friendship, young love, family (including a bit of familial mystery), creating art, and coming to terms with colourism (in which lighter shades of blackness are given greater currency than darker). Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure is a picture book about the story of an Arctic seal stranded in the Caribbean and how he finds his way back home after making new friends. It is inspired by a true story. Lost! and its recently released Spanish edition is also in the running for the Readers Choice Book of the Year, so remember to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda

There are some other Antiguan and Barbudan books on the table – Antigua My Antigua by Barbara Arrindell and How to Work Six Jobs on an Island by Shawn Maile (also in the running for the Readers Choice Book of the Year, so remember to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda) – and on the shelf behind us – I can see Cooking Magic, a cook book from the country’s longest running TV show o the same name, and Explore Antigua and Barbuda by Gemma Handy (also in the running for the Readers Choice Book of the Year, so remember to #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda).

That’s it.

Check us out. Better yet, check out our books.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

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Put these BOOKS on Your Christmas Shopping List!

I mean, if you want to. The exclamation point is meant to communicate enthusiasm – I’m not trying to tell you what to do. I do hope you’ll consider adding some of the books listed on these lists to your Christmas shopping list though for the book lover to the reluctant reader you’ll hoping will read more.

First, my book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, but not only my books but books by this author, Geoffrey Philp (Uncle Obadiah and the Alien, Benjamin my Son, Marcus and the Amazons, Xango Music, The Christmas Dutch Pot Baby, Grandpa Sydney’s Anancy Stories, Who’s Your Daddy, 12 Poems and A Story for Christmas, Garvey’s Ghost, Hurricane Center, Dub Wise) who generously devoted some of his online real estate to this announcement re its Spanish language edition ¡Perdida! Una Aventura En El Mar Caribe.

These books recommended by Vintage Caribbean including personal favourite The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Dandicat, Marlon James’ multi-award winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, a few which have been on my to-read list (Tiphanie Yanique’s How to Escape a Leper Colony, The Marvelous Equations of the Dread: a Novel in Bass Riddim by Marcia Douglas, and Kei Miller’s Augustown), Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean – a collection I’m in, and – I was surprised to see – my novel Oh Gad! (which is technically out of print but there should still be some copies in the market).

marvelous

Face2Face Africa’s listing of 6 Books You should read at least once in your Lifetime including The Farming of Bones (again) and Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John (another personal favourite).

Those are the lists I’ve come across this past week which should help bring some Caribbean goodness to the bookshelves of the people on your Christmas list. I’ll add only the Burt books for teens and young adults (especially, for me, the ones I still haven’t read – My Fishy Stepmom, The Dark of the Sea, The Beast of Kukuyo, Dreams Beyond the Shore, The Protector’s Pledge, The Art of White Roses), a reminder re the LIAT inflight magazine’s 25 book recs for young readers (which included my own Musical Youth and other Burt titles – Children of the Spider, All Over Again, Gone to Drift, and other regional and international titles),  and the Antiguan and Barbudan books in the #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda Readers Choice Book of the Year Wadadli Pen initiative. Have you voted yet?

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What else, I expect to be at the Best of Books this Saturday between 3 and 5 p.m. – come  through.

Final shout out of the day to the journalists who, collectively, are Time magazine’s person of the year. Sadly some have lost their lives, others have been incarcerated for doing their job, and some continue to fight the good fight (separating fact from fiction) against amazing odds. Journalism matters (I’ve worked as a journalist, I’ve shared the media history of Antigua-Barbuda here on the Wadadli Pen blog) so I’m happy to share this vid of the Time winners with the reminder to all of us to stay vigilant and support press freedom in Antigua, Barbuda, the Caribbean, the world.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. Seriously, a lot of time, energy, love and frustration goes in to researching and creating content for this site; please don’t just take it up just so without even a please, thank you or an ah-fu-she-subben (credit). If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Mailbox – New Peekash

Peekash Press began in 2014 as a partnership between Peepal Tree Press in the United Kingdom and Akashic Books in the United States; it was a CaribLit initiative coming out of the Bocas Lit Fest in partnership with Commonwealth Writers and the British Council.

Peekash’s first publication was Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean followed by Coming up Hot: 8 New Poets from the Caribbean, New Worlds Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean, and So Many Islands: Stories from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Antiguans and Barbudans in these collections, to date, have been Tammi Browne-Bannister, from Antigua and Barbuda/based in Babados, who has been in So Many Islands and New Worlds Old Ways; and Joanne C. Hillhouse in Pepperpot – as listed in Antiguan and Barbudan Writings.

Peekash’s new publication is Thicker than Water: New Writing from the Caribbean. Here are the details:

Difficult parents and lost children, unfaithful spouses and spectral lovers, mysterious ancestors and fierce bloodlines — the stories, poems, and memoirs in this new anthology tackle everything that’s most complicated and thrilling about family and history in the Caribbean. Collecting new writing by finalists for the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, a groundbreaking award administered by the Bocas Lit Fest, Thicker Than Water shows us how a new generation of Caribbean authors address perennial questions of love, betrayal, and memory in small places where personal and collective histories are often troublingly intertwined.

Thicker than Water

Contributing writers are:

Lisa Allen-Agostini • Trinidad and Tobago
Nicolette Bethel • The Bahamas
Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné • Trinidad and Tobago
Vashti Bowlah • Trinidad and Tobago
Richard Georges • British Virgin Islands
Zahra Gordon • Trinidad and Tobago
Barbara Jenkins • Trinidad and Tobago
Lelawatee Manoo-Rahming • Trinidad and Tobago/The Bahamas
Ira Mathur • Trinidad and Tobago
Diana McCaulay • Jamaica
Sharon Millar • Trinidad and Tobago
Monica Minott • Jamaica
Philip Nanton • St Vincent and the Grenadines
Xavier Navarro Aquino • Puerto Rico
Shivanee Ramlochan • Trinidad and Tobago
Judy Raymond • Trinidad and Tobago
Hazel Simmons-McDonald • St Lucia
Lynn Sweeting • The Bahamas
Peta-Gaye V. Williams • Jamaica

Details here.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

 

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What do these books have in common?

Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid (Antigua and Barbuda)

Thine is the Kingdom by Garth Buckner (the Bahamas)

Song of Night by Glenville Lovell (Barbados)

On Heroes, Lizards and Passion by Zoila Ellis (Belize)

Afro-Cuban Tales (Cuentos negros de Cuba) by Lydia Cabrera – translated from the Spanish by Alberto Hernandez-Chiroldes and Lauren Yoder (Cuba)

The Snake King of the Kalinago by Grade 6 of Atkinson School (Dominica)

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Dominican Republic)

The Ladies are Upstairs by Merle Collins (Grenada)

Buxton Spice by Oonya Kempadoo (Guyana)

I am a Japanese Writer (je suis un écrivain japanais) by Dany La Ferriѐre (Haiti)

John Crow’s Devil by Marlon James (Jamaica)

Only God can make a Tree by Bertram Roach (St. Kitts-Nevis)

Neg Maron: Freedom Fighter by Michael Aubertin (St. Lucia)

The Moon is Following Me by Cecil Browne (St. Vincent and the Grenadines)

One Scattered Skeleton by Vahni Capildeo (Trinidad and Tobago)

Finished book

These are all the books from our Caribbean region read by British writer Ann Morgan in her Year of Reading the World project chronicled in her book Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer. You’ll find my review of that book in Blogger on Books. And you can find a more comprehensive bibliography of Caribbean books here. But Ann’s book is a good read in my view…and you’ll have to go there for her full list of world reads.

…but, let’s have a conversation, what do you think of her Caribbean choices …what would be your recommendations if asked to introduce a newbie to literature from your country?

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Caribbean Books Foundation

Marsha Gomes McKie of Trinidad and Tobago is an author and Regional Advisor for the Caribbean Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators. She’s recently launched a new marketing platform for Caribbean writers, the Caribbean Writers Foundation which has the tag line “where the world meets Caribbean literature”. Check it out.

Don’t forget you can find other great Caribbean and literary resources on this site simply by using our search feature …to the right, to the right…

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Discovering Caribbean Literature in English: A Select Bibliography (UPDATED)


Caribbean Writers

DEDICATED TO PATRICIA CHARLES, SAINT LUCIA 1937-2010 and REX NETTLEFORD, JAMAICA 1933-2010.

Caribbean Women Writers

Compiled and selected by John Robert Lee – Castries, St. Lucia 2014

Photo 1: Derek Walcott, Martin Carter, George Lamming, Earl Lovelace, Ernest Moutoussamy (Guadeloupe), Kamau Brathwaite. Carifesta 1995, Trinidad.

Photo 2: Women writers at BIM magazine conference on women’s writing, Barbados, 2008. Carolyn Cooper, Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, Angela Barry, Dana Gilkes, Esther Phillips, Ramabai Espinet, George Lamming, Joanne C.  Hillhouse,  Patricia Mohammed , Margaret Gill, Curdella Forbes.

Contents:

Introduction

Introduction

This bibliography presents selected texts of Caribbean writing in English and of works on the background to the writing.  Many of these represent the first writers and writings that identified and defined West Indian Literature. They are familiar names in the now established West Indian Canon. Many new writers and distinctive works have emerged since the early days, a number of whose names and works are listed.  This bibliography is aimed at those discovering the Literature and will help them to identify the major writers, the now-classic authors and talented new voices. The selected readings give a broad chronological background to the history of the literature, and its cultural and historical setting. The anthologies provide a perspective on the span of writers and their concerns. The range of anthologies – from the classic first compilations to the more recent – also offer a historical view of the development of the literature.

Only Prose and Poetry writers are listed. No Drama is cited though a number of the writers are also playwrights. Selected works of the novelists are given (including some of their non-fiction writing,) while only a name index is provided for the poets.  Years of births and deaths are given where identified, and the birth place of all writers is listed. The citations are of book texts. No periodical references are provided.

There are many web sites dedicated to West Indian writing in English and the other languages of the region. A Google search of “West Indian Literature” or “Caribbean Literature” will find them. National Bibliographies can be located that list writers and writing by country of origin.  Information on individual writers can also be found on the Internet.  Numerous blogs discuss Caribbean Literature and related issues.

Peepal Tree Press (www.peepaltreepress.com) is the foremost publisher of Caribbean Literature at this time. Based in Leeds, UK, they are republishing classic West Indian works as well as prose and poetry by new writers. www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com publishes excellent, readable reviews of new writing. Ian Randle Publishers (www.ianrandlepublishers.com) of Kingston, Jamaica is the leading publisher of scholarly works including some poetry and prose. The University of the West Indies Press (www.uwipress.com) is also increasing its publication of academic texts.

In Section 5, Readings on West Indian Literature in English, a chronological listing by publication date is generally followed. However in some cases, books by certain authors (eg Gordon Rohlehr) or on certain authors (eg Lamming, Walcott), are kept together for ease of reference. A chronological listing is also generally followed in Sections 3 (Anthologies) and 6 (Historical etc background). For section 4, the listing of major Caribbean periodicals, the listing is also chronological, by date of first issue. Sections 1 and 2 (the writers) use an alphabetical listing by authors’ surnames.

Full citations are provided in Sections 3, 5, 6. Section 4 is briefly annotated.  In section 1, Authors’ names, dates of birth (and death where necessary), Place of birth (and residence in some cases) and titles of selected works with dates of first and, in some cases other, editions, are given. Section 2 is a Name Index only of poets, with their birth (and death) dates, and place of birth (and in some cases, residence.)

Regarding selection of the newest writers, the criterion used was that they should have published work recognized as significant by their peers, and were themselves recognized by their peers as significant new voices. The past twenty years has seen much publication by new and talented Caribbean writers. Many of these live in the diaspora, but many have also chosen to remain and write and work at home. Their recognition and inclusion ensures that the shaping of the growing Caribbean Canon remains alive, relevant and exciting to follow. Journals like the Caribbean Review of Books proved invaluable as a source of information on new writers and writing, including both the creative and critical works. In this digital time, the Internet and Google were also invaluable in tracking down further information on writers and their works. Because this is only a select bibliography, users and researchers must use Internet search engines to follow paths suggested here.

Introduction Edited: June 26th 2014

After some discussion with friends interested in this project, I have decided to rename the bibliography, “Discovering Caribbean Literature in English: Selected Bibliography.” I will update to cover writing in English from anywhere in the Caribbean, not only from the former British colonies, typically called “West Indian.”  I will also include works in English translation by writers like Edwidge Danticat, Simone Scharz Bart, Junot Diaz and others. This obviously widens the scope of the bibliography, but is a realistic extension given the wealth of literature that exists across language boundaries in our Antilles. And in many ways the old “West Indian” designation has long been surpassed.

At some point I will endeavour to update the poetry section to include titles of collections.

This still remains a part time, occasional, developing work but it has proved useful to many. So I do have a growing responsibility to make it as substantial and respectable as I can. I will have to rewrite the Introduction, but I will look at that later.

While this bibliography is not a comprehensive compilation, it is hoped that it provides a good general  up-to-date survey of the literature of the Anglophone Caribbean. As with all bibliographies of this kind, it will need to be regularly updated. Readers are welcome to make comments and suggestions to the compiler at:

John Robert Lee:  johnrenator@gmail.com

www.mahanaimnotes.blogspot.com

top

1: West Indian Authors – prose writers, mainly novelists, with selected works listed. Note that this is not a comprehensive listing. Many of these authors have written more works than listed here, including prose non-fiction, poetry, drama and criticism. Internet search engines will help to identify other works of writers.

Ezekiel Alan 19..     Jamaica.
Disposable People. 2012.

Lisa Allen-Agostini  19..       Trinidad.
The Chalice Project. Macmillan Caribbean, 2008; co-editor, with Jeanne Mason, of Trinidad Noir. Akashic Books, 2008.

Phyllis S. Allfrey (1908-1986).   Dominica.
The Orchid House, 1953; It falls into place: the stories of Phyllis Shand Allfrey, 2004.

Michael Als 19-. Trinidad.
The Underclass, 2006; Manchild, 2007?/8?; Children’s Feet, 2009.

Michael Anthony 1932 – .  Trinidad.
The Games were coming, 1963, 2005; The Year in San Fernando, 1965; Green days by the river, 1967; and many other publications.

Robert Antoni  1958- . Trinidad.
Divina Trace, 1991; Blessed is the fruit, 1998; My Grandmother’s Erotic Folktales, 2000; Carnival, 2005; As flies to whatless boys, 2013.  Editor, with Bradford Morrow, The Archipelago: new writing from and about the Caribbean, 1996.

Michael Aubertin 1948-.  St. Lucia.
Neg Maron: freedom fighter, 2000.

Kevin Baldeosingh 19…-. Trinidad.
The Autobiography of Paras P., 1996; Virgin’s triangle, 1997; The Ten Incarnations of Adam Avatar, 2005.

Lindsay Barrett. 1941-. (writes poetry as Eseoghene).  Jamaica.
The State of Black desire, 1966; Song for Mumu, 1967, 1974; Veils of Vengeance Falling, 1985.

Angela Barry 19-. Bermuda.
Endangered Species and other stories, 2003.

Valerie Belgrave. Trinidad.
Ti Marie, 1988.

Jacqueline Bishop 19-. Jamaica.
The River’s Song, 2007.

Neil Bissoondath 1955- . Trinidad
A Casual Brutality, 1988; The Innocence of Age, 1992; The Worlds within her, 1998; Digging up the mountains – stories, 1985; On the Eve of Uncertain Tomorrows – stories, 1990.

E.R. Braithwaite 1920 -. Guyana.
To Sir with love, 1959; Paid servant, 1973; Choice of straws, 1965; Honorary White, 1975.

Erna Brodber 1940 -. Jamaica.
Jane and Louisa will soon come home, 1980; Myal, 1988; Louisiana, 1994; The Rainmaker’s Mistake, 2007.

Wayne Brown (1944-2009). Trinidad.
The Child of the Sea: stories and remembrances, 1989; Landscape with Heron: stories and remembrances, 2000. The Scent of the past: stories and remembrances,  2011; Biography: Edna Manley: The private years (1900-1938), 1975.

Tobias S. Buckell 1979-. Grenada/USA.
Crystal Rain, 2006; Ragamuffin, 2007; Sly Mongoose, 2008; Halo: The Cole Protocol, 2008; Tides from the New Worlds: short stories, 2009; [with Karen Traviss and Eric Nyland] Halo Evolutions: Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, 2009.

Timothy Callender  (1946-1989).  Barbados.
It so happen, 1975; How music came to the Ainchan people, 1979.

Hazel D. Campbell 1940- . Jamaica.
The Rag Doll and Other stories, 1978; Women’s Tongue, 1985; Singerman, 1992.

Jan Carew 1920- . Guyana .
Black Midas, 1958, 2009; The Wild Coast, 1958, 2009; The Last Barbarian, 1961.

Margaret Cezair-Thompson 19-. Jamaica.
The True History of Paradise, 1999; The Pirate’s Daughter, 2008.

Colin Channer 1963-. Jamaica.
Waiting in vain, 1998; Satisfy my soul, 2002; Passing through (stories), 2004; Editor, Iron Balloons: Hit Fiction from Jamaica’s Calabash Writer’s Workshop. Akashic Books, 2006.

Charles, Cornell, 19-, St. Lucia.
The Provident family of Baxter’s Yard, 2012; In pursuit of running water, 2009.

David Chariandy 1969-. Trinidad/Canada.
Soucouyant, 2007.

Willi Chen 1934- . Trinidad.
King of the Carnival and other stories, 1988, 2001.

Austin Clarke 1934 – . Barbados .
The Survivors of the Crossing, 1964; Amongst thistles and thorns, 1965; The Meeting Point, 1967; Storm of Fortune, 1973; The Bigger Light, 1975; Growing up stupid under the Union Jack, 1980, 2002; Pigtails ‘n’ Breadfruit: A Barbadian memoir, 2000; The Polished Hoe, 2002; The Origin of Waves, 2003; The Prime Minister, 2004; The Meeting Point: The Toronto Trilogy, 2005; More, 2009; and many other novels and non-fiction writing.

Michelle Cliff 1946-. Jamaica.
Abeng, 1984; The Land of Look Behind, 1980; Bodies of Water, 1990;  No telephone to heaven, 1996; The Sore of a Million Items, 1998; Everything is now: New and Collected Stories, 2009.

Merle Collins 1950-.  Grenada.
Angel, 1987; The Colour of Forgetting, 1995.

Frank Collymore (1893-1980). Barbados.
The Man who loved attending funerals, 1993.

Dathorne, Oscar R. (1934-2007). Guyana.
Dumplings in the Soup, 1963; The Scholar-man, 1964; Dele’s child, 1986.

Kwame Dawes 1962-. Jamaica/Ghana.
A Place to hide and other stories, 2002; She’s gone, 2007. Bivouac, 2010. And other non-fiction and poetry.

Neville Dawes (1926-1984). Jamaica.
The Last Enchantment, 1960, 2009; Fugue and other writings, 2009.

Ralph De Boissiere (1907-2008). Trinidad.
Crown Jewel, 1952; Rum and Coca Cola, 1956; No Saddles for Kangaroos, 1964; Call of the Rainbow, 2007.

Jean D’Costa 1937 – . Jamaican.
Sprat Morrison, 1972; Escape to Last Man Peak, 1975; Voice in the Wind, 1978.

Fred D’Aguiar 1960-. Guyana
The Longest Memory 1994; Dear Future, 1996; Feeding the Ghosts, 1999; Bethany Bettany, 2003.

Herbert G. De Lisser (1878-1944). Jamaica.
Jane: a story of Jamaica, 1914; Jane’s Career: a story of Jamaica, 1914; The White Witch of Rosehall,  1929.

Mcdonald Dixon 1944-. St. Lucia.
Season of Mist, 2000; Misbegotten, 2009; Careme and other stories, 2009; Saints of Little Paradise:Book One,
2012.

Geoffrey Drayton 1924- .  Barbados .
Christopher, 1959;  Zohara, 1961.

Beverly East 1953 – . Jamaica
Bat Mitzvah girl – memories of a Jamaican child, 2013.

Zee Edgell  1940- .  Belize.
Beka Lamb, 1982; In times like these, 1991; The Festival of San Joaquin, 1997; Time and the river, 2007.

Garfield Ellis 19- . Jamaica.
Flaming hearts: stories, 1997; Wake Rasta: stories, 2001; Till I’m laid to rest, 2010; Such as I have, 2003;
For nothing at all, 2005.

Ramabai Espinet  1948 – . Trinidad/Canada
The Princess of Spadina, 1992; Ninja’s Carnival, 1993; The Swinging Bridge, 2003.

Curdella Forbes  19- . Jamaica.
Songs of Silence, 2002; Flying with Icarus and other stories, 2003; A Permanent Freedom, 2008; Ghosts,
2012.

Fitzroy Fraser19-. Jamaica.
Wounds in the Flesh, 1962

Beryl Gilroy (1924-2001). Guyana.
Frangipani House, 1986; Boy-Sandwich, 1989; In praise of love and children, 1994; The Green Grass Tango,
2001.

Thomas Glave 19  -. Jamaica/New York.
Whose Song? and other stories, 2000; The Torturer’s Wife, 2008; Words to our now: Imagination and dissent  – Essays, 2005; Editor : Our Caribbean: a gathering of Lesbian and Gay writing from the Antilles, 2008.

Lorna  Goodison 1947-. Jamaica.
Baby Mother and the King of Swords: short stories, 1990; Fool Fool Rose is leaving Labour-in-vain Savannah, 2005; From Harvey River: a memoir, 2007.

Vishnu Gosine 1946- , Trinidad.
The Coming of lights, 1992.

Roland Watson-Grant 198?, Jamaica.
Sketcher, 2013; Skid, 2014.

Rudy Gurley. St. Lucia.
A Caribbean Tale, 2006; Sent from overseas, 2007.

Rosa Guy (1925-2012). Trinidad & Tobago.
The Disappearance, 1979; I heard a bird sing, 1986; The Friends, 1995.

Wilson Harris 1921-. Guyana.
Palace of the Peacock, 1960; Heartland, 1964, 2009; The Guyana Quartet (his first four novels), 1985; The Eye of the Scarecrow, 1965; The Waiting Room, 1967; The Mask of the Beggar, 2003, The Ghost of Memory, 2006, and many other novels; Selected essays, 1999; Poetry: Eternity to season, 1954.

John Hearne (1926-1995). Jamaica.
Voices under the window, 1955; Stranger at the gate, 1956; The Faces of Love, 1957; The Autumn Equinox, 1959;  Land of the Living, 1961; The Sure Salvation, 1981. Editor, Carifesta Forum: An Anthology of 20 Caribbean Voices (Carifesta 1976 Publication).

Roy Heath (1926-2009). Guyana.
A Man come Home, 1974; The Murderer, 1978; The Shadow Bride, 1988; The Ministry of Hope, 1997; The Armstrong Trilogy, 1994.

Joanne C. Hillhouse 1973-. Antigua & Barbuda.
Dancing nude in the moonlight, 2004; The Boy from Willlow Bend, 2002, 2009; Oh Gad!, 2012. Fish Outta Water, 2013.

Merle Hodge 1944-. Trinidad.
Crick Crack, Monkey, 1970; For the Life of Laetitia, 1999.

Nalo Hopkinson 1960- . Trinidad/Toronto.
Brown Girl in the Ring, 1998; Midnight Robber, 2000; Skin Folk: short stories, 2001; The Salt Roads, 2003; The New Moon’s Arms, 2007. Editor, Mojo: Conjure Stories, 2003.

Lionel Hutchinson (1923-2000). Barbados.
Man from the people, 1970; One touch of nature, 1971.

C L R James (1901-1989). Trinidad.
Minty Alley, 1936; The Nobbie Stories for Children and Adults. Edited by Constance Webb (1918-2005), 2006.

Cynthia James 1948-. Trinidad.
Bluejean: a novel, 2000; Sapodilla Terrace, 2006.

Marlon James 1970-. Jamaica.
John Crow’s Devil, 2008; The Book of Night Women, 2010.

Keith Jardim 19- , Trinidad.
Near open water: stories, 2011.

Barbara Jenkins, 19- , Trinidad.
Sic Transit Wagon and other stories, 2013.

Marie-Elena John 1963-.  Antigua.  Unburnable, 2006.

Ruel Johnson 1980-. Guyana.
Ariadne and other stories, 2003; Fictions Volume 1, 2008.

Simon Jones-Hendrickson. St. Kitts, Nevis.
Sonny Jim of Sandy Point, 1991.

Peter Kempadoo (Lauchmonen) 1926- . Guyana.
Guiana Boy, 1960; Old Thom’s Harvest, 1965.

Oonya Kempadoo 1966 – . Guyana.
All decent animals, 2013.Tide Running, 2001; Buxton Spice, 1998.

Ismith Khan (1925-2002). Trinidad.
The Jumbie Bird, 1961; The Obeah Man, 1964; The Crucifixion, 1987; A Day in the Country – stories, 1990.

Jamaica Kincaid (Elaine Potter Richardson) 1949- . Antigua.
At the Bottom of the River, 1983; Annie John, 1985;  A Small Place, 1988; Lucy, 1991; The Autobiography of my mother, 1996; My brother, 1997; Talk stories, 2000. And other fiction and  non-fiction writings; See now then, 2013.

Karen King-Aribisala 19 – . Guyana/Nigeria.
Our wife and other stories, 1991; Kicking tongues, 1998; The Hangman’s Game, 2007.

Harold Sonny Ladoo (1945-1973). Trinidad.
No pain like this body, 1972; Yesterdays, 1974.

George Lamming 1927-. Barbados.
In the Castle of my skin, 1953; The Emigrants, 1954; Of Age and Innocence, 1958; Season of Adventure, 1960; The Pleasures of Exile (essays), 1960; Water with Berries, 1971; Natives of my person 1972; Cannon Shot and Glass Beads: Modern black writers (Ed.), 1974; Conversations: Essays, addresses and interviews 1953-1990, 1992; Coming, Coming Home: Conversations II, 1995, 2000.

Nicholas Laughlin 1975-.         Trinidad.
editor, Town, 2009-; Editor, [CLR James] Letters from London. Prospect press, 2003; Editor, V.S. Naipaul. Letters between a father and Son. Picador, 2009.

Sharon Leach 19-. Jamaica.
What you can’t tell him: stories, 2006.

Jacintha Anius Lee 1951-. St. Lucia.
Give me some more sense: St. Lucian folk tales, 1988.

Andrea Levy 1956-. Jamaica/UK.
Small Island, 2004; The Long Song, 2010.

Earl Long. St. Lucia.
Consolation, 1995; Voices from a drum, 1996; Slicer, 2000; Leaves in a river, 2009.

Karen Lord, 1968, Barbados.
Redemption in Indigo, 2010; The Best of all possible worlds, 2013.

Earl Lovelace 1935-. Trinidad.
While Gods are falling, 1965, 1984; The Schoolmaster, 1968, 1979; The Dragon can’t dance, 1979; The Wine of Astonishment 1982 ; A Brief Conversion and other stories, 1988;  Salt, 1996; Is just a movie, 2011. Also published Essays and plays.

Glenville Lovell 19-..,Barbados.
Fire in The canes, 1995; Song of night, 1998; Too beautiful to die, 2003; Love and death in Brooklyn, 2004. Glenville also has Going Home in Chains (short stories) 2012.

Roger Mais (1905-1955). Jamaica.
The Hills were joyful together, 1953, 2009; Brother Man, 1954; Black Lightning, 1955; Listen, the Wind and
other stories, 1986.

Rachel Manley 1955 -. Jamaica.
Drumblair: memories of a Jamaican Childhood, 1996; Slipstream: a Daughter remembers, 2000; Horses in Her
Hair: A Grand-daughter’s Story, 2008.

E. A. Markham (1939-2008). Montserrat. Something Unusual: short stories (1986); Taking the drawing room through customs, 1996; Meet me in Mozambique, 2005;  At home with Miss Vanesa, 2006;  The Three suitors of Fred Belair, 2009; and other works (including poetry).

Paule Marshall 1929 – . Barbados/USA.
Brown Girl, Brownstones, 1959 (1981); Soul clap hands and sing, 1961; The Chosen Place, The Timeless People, 1969; Praisesong for the Widow, 1983; Reena and other stories, 1983; Daughters, 1991; The Fisher King, 2001; Triangular Road, 2009.

Diana McCaulay 19- , Jamaica.
Dog-Heart, 2010; Huracan, 2012.

Ian McDonald 1933-. Trinidad/Guyana .
The Hummingbird Tree, 1969.

Claude McKay (1889-1948). Jamaica.
Home to Harlem, 1928; Banana Bottom, 1933.

Alecia McKenzie 1960-. Jamaica.
Satellite City, 1993; Stories from Yard, 2005; Sweetheart, 2011.

Earl McKenzie 1943-. Jamaica.
A Boy named Ossie: A Jamaican childhood, 1991; Two roads to Mount Joyful and other stories, 1992.

Mark Mcwatt 1947-. Guyana.
Suspended Sentences, 2005.

Pauline Melville 1941-. Guyana/UK.
Shape-shifter, 1990;  The Ventriloquist’s Tale, 1997; The Migration of ghosts, 1998; Eating Air, 2009.

Alfred Mendes (1897-1991). Trinidad.
Pitch Lake, 1934; Black Fauns, 1935; The Man who ran away and other stories of Trinidad in the 1920’s and
1930’s. Ed. by Michèle Levy. UWI Press, 2006.

Kei Miller 1978- . Jamaica.
Fear of stones and other stories, 2006; The Same earth, 2008; The Last Warner Woman, 2010; Writing down the Vision: Essays and Prophecies, 2013.

Edgar Mittelholzer (1909-1965). Guyana.
Corentyne Thunder, 1941, 2009; A morning at the office, 1950, 1974,2009; Shadows move among them, 1952; Children of Kaywana, 1952; The Life and Death of Sylvia, 1953; My bones and my flute, 1955; The Jilkington Drama, 1965, and many other novels.

Shani Mootoo, 1958 – . T’dad/Canada.
Out on Main Street, 1993; Cereus blooms at night, 1996; He drown she in the sea, 2005; Valmiki’s Daughter, 2008.

Seepersad Naipaul 1906-1953. Trinidad.
Adventures of Gurudeva,  1976.

Shiva Naipaul (1945-1985). Trinidad.
Fireflies, 1970; The Chip-Chip Gatherers, 1973; North of South, 1978; Black and White, 1980; A Hot Country, 1983; Love and death in a hot country, 1984; Beyond the Dragon’s Mouth: stories and pieces, 1984; An Unfinished Journey, 1986.

V S Naipaul 1932-. Trinidad. The Mystic Masseur, 1957; The Suffrage of Elvira, 1958; Miguel Street, 1959;  A House for Mr. Biswas, 1961; The Mimic Men, 1967; In a Free State, 1971; Guerrillas, 1975; A Bend in the River, 1979; Half a Life, 2001; Magic Seeds, 2004; The Middle Passage, 1962; An Area of Darkness, 1964; The Enigma of Arrival, 1988; A Way in the World, 1995, Literary Occasions: essays, 2004;  A Writer’s People: Ways of looking and feeling, 2008; and many other novels and non-fiction writing.  Letters between a father and son. V.S. Naipaul. Edited by Nicholas Laughlin. Picador, 2009.   NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE, 2001

Christopher Nicole. Guyana.
Off-White, 1959; Shadows in the Jungle, 1961; Blood Amyot, 1964; White Boy, 1966, and other novels.

Anton Nimblett. 19….. Trinidad.
Sections of an Orange, 2009.

Elizabeth Nunez. 1944-.  Trinidad.
Beyond the Limbo Silence, 1998; Bruised Hibiscus, 2000; Discretion, 2002; Grace, 2003; Prospero’s daughter,
2006.

Dorbrene O’Marde, 1950, Antigua.
Send out you hand, 2012; Nobody go run me: biography of King Short shirt of Antigua, 2013.

C. Everard Palmer 1930 – . Jamaica.
The Cloud with the Silver Lining, 1966; Big Doc Bitteroot, 1968; The Sun salutes you, 1970; The Hummingbird People, 1971; The Wooing of Beppo Tate, 1972; A Dog called Houdini, 1979.

Marion Patrick-Jones 193? – . Trinidad.
Pan Beat, 1973; J’Ouvert Morning, 1976.

Orlando Patterson 1940 – . Jamaica.
The Children of Sisyphus, 1964, 2009; An Absence of ruins, 1967; Die the Long Day, 1971.

Lakshmi Persaud 1939-. Trinidad.  Butterfly in the wind, 1990. Sastra, 1993; For the love of my name, 2000;  Raise the lanterns high, 2004.

Caryl Phillips 1958 -. St. Kitts.
A State of Independence, 1986; The Final passage, 1985; Cambridge, 1991; Crossing the River, 1993; A Distant Shore, 2003; In the Falling Snow, 2009; The European Tribe, 1987; A New World Order, 2001; Color me English, 2011 and other fiction and non-fiction works, including drama.

Geoffrey Philp 19-.  Jamaica   Who’s your daddy? and other stories, 2009.

Patricia Powell  1966- . Jamaica.   Me dying trial, 1993; A small gathering of bones, 1994; The Pagoda, 1999; The Fullness of Everything, 2009.

Althea Prince 1945-. Antigua.
Ladies of the Night and other stories, 1998; Loving this man, 2001. Also children’s books and various non-fiction collections.

Raymond Ramcharitar. 19…. Trinidad.
The Island Quintet:  five stories – A Sequence, 2009.

Tom Redcam (Thomas H. MacDermot) (1870-1933), Jamaica
Beckra’s Buckra Baby, 1903; One Brown Girl and – , 1909.

V S Reid (1913-1987).  Jamaica
The Leopard, 1958; Sixty-five, 1960; New Day, 1973, 2009.

Anderson Reynolds. St. Lucia.
Death by fire, 1999.

Trevor Rhone 1940 – 2009. Jamaica.
Bellas Gate Boy (Memoir), 2008.

Jean Rhys (Ella Gwendoline  Rees Williams 1894-1979). Dominica.
Quartet, 1928, 1969; After leaving Mr. Mackenzie, 1930; Good Morning, Midnight, 1939, 1969; Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966; Sleep it off Lady: stories, 1976, 1979; Smile Please, 1979; Tales of the Wide Caribbean, 1985; Complete Novels (Norton), 1985;  The Collected  Short Stories (Norton), 1990; and other novels and essays.

Joan Riley 1958 – . Jamaica.
The Unbelonging, 1984; Waiting in the Twilight, 1987; Romance, 1988; The Waiting Room, 1989; A kindness to the children, 1992.

W. Adolphe Roberts  (1886-1962). Jamaica.
The Haunting Hand, 1926; Creole Dusk, 1948; The Single  Star, 1949 and other novels.

Monique Roffey, 1965-. Trinidad.
Sun Dog, 2002; The White woman on the green bicycle 2009; With the kisses of his mouth (Memoir), 2011; Archipelago, 2012.

Jacob Ross 19-. Grenada.
Pynter Bender, 2008.

Namba Roy (1910-1961). Jamaica .
Black Albino, 1961.

Garth St. Omer 1931- . St. Lucia.
Syrop: a novella, 1964; A Room on the Hill, 1968; Shades of Grey, 1968; Nor Any Country, 1969; J-, Black
Bam and the Masqueraders, 1972; The Lights on the Hill, 1968, 1986; PRISNMS (unpublished novel).

Andrew Salkey (1928-1995). Jamaica.
A Quality of Violence, 1959;  Escape to an Autumn Pavement, 1960, 2009; Anancy’s Score, 1973; Anancy
Traveler, 1992; Havana Journal, 1971; Georgetown Journal, 1972 and many other writings.

Robert Edison Sandiford. Barbados.  Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall : stories, 1995; Sand for snow, 2003; The Tree of Youth and other stories, 2005; Intimacy 101: Rooms and suites, 2013; And sometimes they fly, 2013.

Lawrence Scott  1943-. Trinidad.
Witchbroom, 1992; Ballad for the New World and Other Stories, 1994; Aelred’s Sin, 1998; Night Calypso, 2004;
Light falling on bamboo, 2012.

Samuel Selvon (1923-1994). Trinidad.
A Brighter Sun, 1952; The Lonely Londoners, 1956, 1972; Ways of Sunlight, 1957, 1973; Turn again Tiger,
1958; Moses Ascending, 1972; Eldorado West One ( 7 one act plays based on the characters from the novels), 1988; Foreday morning, 1989; Highway in the sun and other plays, 1991; and other novels.

Olive Senior, 1941- .Jamaica.
Summer Lightning and Other stories, 1986;   Arrival of the Snake Woman and other stories, 1989.

Janice Shinebourne. Guyana.
Timepiece, 1986; The Last English Plantation, 1989.

Vanessa Spence 1961-. Jamaica.
The Roads are down, 1993.

Jeremy Taylor 19-. UK/Trinidad.
Going to Ground : Journalism (1972-1992),1994.

Michael Thelwell  1939-. Jamaica.
The Harder they Come, 1994.

G.C.H. Thomas (1911-1994).
St. Vincent.  Ruler in Hiroona, 1972.

Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw 1964-. Trinidad.
Four taxis facing north, 2007; Mrs. B, 2014.

Eric Walrond (1898-1966). Guyana.
Tropic Death, 1926.

Gemma Weekes 1978-.  St. Lucia.
Love Me, 2009.

John Wickham (1923-2000). Barbados.
Casuarina Row, 1974; World without end, 1982; Discoveries,  1993.

Denis Williams (1923-1998). Guyana.
Other Leopards, 1963, 2009; The Third Temptation, 1968, 2009.

N D Williams 1942- . Guyana.
Ikael Torass, 1976; The Crying of rainbirds, 1992; The Silence of Islands, 1994; Julie Mango – stories, 2003;
The Friendship of Shoes – stories, 2005.

Ronald A. Williams, 1950, Barbados.
Four saints and an angel, 2009; A Death in Panama, 2010; A  Voice from the tomb, 2012.

Anthony C. Winkler 1942- . Jamaica.
The Painted canoe, 1983; The Lunatic, 1987. The Duppy, 2008; Crocodile, 2009, and other novels.

Sylvia Wynter 1928-.
The Hills of Hebron, 1962.

Tiphanie Yanique, 1978 (St. Thomas,USVI)
How to escape from a leper colony: a novella and stories, 2010. I am the Virgin Islands (children’s picture book), 2012.
The Land of love and drowning, 2014
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2.West Indian authors – poets, a name index.

This list represents many of the major names in West Indian poetry. It is not an all-inclusive compilation. Many of the writers whose works now form the foundation of West Indian Literature are listed here. A number of newer writers are also included.

The names of the writers and their place of birth are given here. Birth and death dates are added. Titles of their works are not included. Many West Indian writers produce both prose, drama and poetry. An Internet search will provide more information on the writers and their major works.

 

James Christopher Aboud 1956 -. Trinidad.

Opal Palmer Adisa 1954-. Jamaica

Roger Bonair-Agard. Trinidad.

John Agard 1949-. Guyana

Lillian Allen 1951-. Jamaica

Lauren K. Alleyne, 19 – , Trinidad

Phyllis Shand Allfrey (1908 – 1986), Dominica

Adrian Augier 1959-. St. Lucia
Raymond Barrow 1920-. Belize

Edward Baugh 1936-, Jamaica

Vera Bell 1906 – . Jamaica

Louise Bennet-Coverley  (1919-2006). Jamaica

James Berry 1924-, Jamaica/UK

Marion Bethel  19-. Bahamas

Nicolette Bethel 19-. Bahamas

Jacqueline Bishop 19… Jamaica

Valerie Bloom 1956-. Jamaica

Danielle Boodoo Fortune 19-. Trinidad and Tobago.

Malika Booker, 19?. UK/Guyana/Grenada

Dionne Brand 1953-. Trinidad

Kamau Brathwaite 1930-. Barbados

Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze 1957-.  Jamaica

Wayne Brown, Trinidad. (1944-2009)

 

Christian Campbell 1979. Bahamas/Trinidad & Tobago

George Campbell (1916-2002). Jamaica

Vahni Capildeo 1973-. Trinidad

H.D. Carberry 1921-. Jamaica

Peggy Carr 1955-. St. Vincent

Martin Carter (1927-1997). Guyana

Wilfred Cartey (1931-1992). Trinidad

Brian Chan 1949-. Guyana

Faustin Charles 1944-. Trinidad/UK

Staceyann Chin 1971-. Jamaica

LeRoy Clarke 1938-. Trinidad

Michelle Cliff 1946-. Jamaica

Merle Collins 1950-. Grenada

Loretta Collins Koblah 1961. Puerto Rico

Frank Collymore (1893-1980). Barbados

Christine Craig 1943-. Jamaica

Dennis Craig (1929-2004). Guyana

 

Fred D’Aguiar 1960-. Guyana/UK

Cyril Dabydeen 1945-. Guyana/UK

David Dabydeen 1955-. Guyana/UK

Melania Daniel 1962-. St. Lucia

Mahadai Das (1954-2003). Guyana

Oscar R. Dathorne (1934-2007). Guyana

Kwame Dawes 1962-. Jamaica.

Linda Deane, 19-, Barbados

McDonald Dixon 1944-. St. Lucia

Lisa Dublin, 19-, St. Lucia

 

J. Edsel Edmunds 1935-. St. Lucia

Gloria Escoffery (1923-2002). Jamaica

Winston Farrell 19-. Barbados

Howard Fergus 1937-. Montserrat

Hunter J. Francois 1924-. St. Lucia

John Figueroa (1920-1999). Jamaica

Honor Ford-Smith 1951-.  Jamaica.

Denis Foster 19.-. Barbados

Michael Foster (19..-19..). Barbados

 

Michael Gilkes 1933-. Guyana.

Margaret Gill 1953-. Barbados

Anson Gonzalez 1936-. Trinidad.

Lorna Goodison  1947-. Jamaica

Millicent  A. Graham  1974-. Jamaica

Cecil Gray 1923-. Trinidad

Stanley Greaves 1934- . Guyana

 

Claire Harris 1937-. Trinidad/Canada

Wilson Harris 1921 – . Guyana

Cecil Herbert 1926-. Trinidad

A.L. Hendricks (1922-1992). Jamaica

Kendel Hippolyte 1952-. St. Lucia

Jane King-Hippolyte 1952-. St. Lucia

Abdur Rahman Slade Hopkinson (1934-1993). Guyana

Ishion Hutchinson 19-. Jamaica

 

Arnold Harrichand Itwaru 1942-. Guyana

 

Cynthia James 1948 – . Trinidad

Bongo Jerry 1948-. Jamaica.

Linton Kwesi Johnson 1952-. Jamaica/UK

Evan Jones 1927-. Jamaica

 

E. McG. ‘Shake’ Keane (1927-1997). St. Vincent

Paul Keens-Douglas 1942-. Grenada/Trinidad

Ricardo Keens-Douglas 1953-. Grenada

Anthony Kellman 1955-. Barbados

 

Anthony John La Rose (1927-2009). Trinidad

Paul A. Layne (19?—1971). Grenada/Barbados

Fragano Ledgister 1956-. London/Jamaica

John Robert Lee 1948-, St. Lucia

Ann Margaret Lim, 19…, Jamaica

Edward Lucie-Smith 1933- . Jamaica

Vladimir Lucien 1978-. St. Lucia.

 

Malik (Delano Abdul Malik De Coteau) 1940-. Grenada

Rachel Manley 1955- . Jamaica

Lelawatee Manoo-Rahming  1960, Trinidad

E. A. Markham (1939-2009). Montserrat

Una Marson 1905-1965. Jamaica

Mark Matthews 1937-. Guyana

Wordsworth McAndrew (1936-2008). Guyana

Shara McCallum 19-. Jamaica.

Ian McDonald 1933-. Tdad/Guyana

Basil McFarlane 1922-. Jamaica

J. E. Clare McFarlane (1894-1962).  Jamaica

Claude McKay (1889-1948). Jamaica/USA.

Earl McKenzie 1943. Jamaica

Anthony McNeill (1941-1996). Jamaica

Dionyse McTair 19??.    Trinidad

Roger Mc Tair 1943-. Trinidad and Tobago

Mark McWatt 1947-. Guyana

Judy Miles 1942-. Trinidad & Tobago

Kei Miller 1978-. Jamaica

Rooplal Monar 1945-. Guyana

Pamela Mordecai 1942. Jamaica

Mervyn Morris 1937-. Jamaica

Mutabaruka 1952-. Jamaica

 

Philip Nanton 19 ??.  St. Vincent.

Grace Nichols 1950-. Guyana/UK

 

Oku Onuora  (Orlando Wong)1952-. Jamaica

 

Jude Patrong 19-. Trinidad

Sasenarine Persaud 1958-. Guyana

Marlene Nourbese Philip 1947-. Trinidad

Esther Phillips 19??. Barbados

Geoffrey Philp 1958- . Jamaica

Velma Pollard 1937-. Jamaica

 

Victor Questel, (1949-1982). Trinidad

 

Jennifer Rahim 1963-. Trinidad

Barnabas J. Ramon-Fortuné (1905- ?? ). Trinidad

Rajandaye Ramkissoon-Chen 1936-. Trinidad

Claudia Rankine 1963- . Jamaica

Roger Robinson, 19?. Trinidad/UK

Eric Roach (1915-1974). Trinidad

Althea Romeo-Mark 1948- . Antigua

Rupert Roopnaraine 19…-. Guyana

Sassy Ross 19-. St. Lucia

Heather Royes 19- , Jamaica

 

Andrew Salkey (1928-1995). Jamaica

Dennis Scott (1939-1991). Jamaica

Olive Senior 1941-. Jamaica

Arthur J. Seymour (1914-1989). Guyana

Philip Sherlock (1902-2000). Jamaica

Tanya Shirley 19  -. Jamaica

Hazel Simmons-McDonald 1947-. St. Lucia

Louis Simpson 1923-. Jamaica

Dorothea Smartt 19 -. London/Barbados

M. G. Smith (1921-1993). Jamaica

Obadiah Michael Smith. Bahamas

Michael Smith (1954-1983). Jamaica

Eintou Pearl Springer 1944-. Trinidad

Gandolph St. Clair 195? St. Lucia

Bruce St. John. (1923-1995). Barbados

Ian Gregory Strachan 19-. Bahamas

 

Harold Telemaque. (1909-1982). Trinidad

Ralph Thompson 1928-. Jamaica

Patricia Turnbull 19-.  St. Lucia

 

H.A. Vaughan (1901-1985). Barbados

Vivian Virtue (1911-1998). Jamaica

 

Derek Walcott, 1930- . Saint Lucia. NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE, 1992.

Daniel Williams (1927-1972). St. Vincent

Milton Vishnu Williams 1936-.     Guyana

Cynthia Wilson 1934-. Barbados

 

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3. Selections of West Indian Literature – Anthologies

PROSE FICTION (Some of the general anthologies carry poems)

West Indian Stories. Edited by Andrew Salkey. Faber, 1960.

Tales from the West Indies retold by Philip Sherlock. [A collection of folk tales]. Oxford, 1966.

Caribbean Literature: An Anthology. Selected and edited by G. R. Coulthard. University of London Press, 1966.

From the Green Antilles: Writings of the Caribbean. Edited by Barbara Howes. Souvenir Press, 1967.

The Sun’s Eye. New Edition.  Compiled by Anne Walmsley. Longman Caribbean, 1968.

New Writing in the Caribbean. Edited by A.J. Seymour. Carifesta 1972 Publication. [Prose and poetry from all Caribbean language areas, including Latin America.]

Caribbean Rhythms: the emerging English Literature of the West Indies. James T. Livingston.  NY: Washington Square Press, 1974.

New Planet: Anthology of Modern Caribbean Writing. Edited by Amon Saba Saakana (as Sebastian Clarke). Karnak House, 1978.

Best West Indian Stories.  Edited by Kenneth Ramchand. Nelson Caribbean, 1982. [Selected short stories by major WI writers]

An Anthology of African and Caribbean Writing in English.  Edited by John J. Figueroa. Heinemann, 1982.

Facing the Sea.  Compiled by Anne Walmsley and Nick Caistor.  Heinemann, 1986.

Her True-True Name: an anthology of women’s writing from the Caribbean.  Edited by Pamela Mordecai and Betty Wilson. Heinemann, 1989.

Caribbean New Wave: Contemporary Short Stories.  Edited by Stewart Brown.  Heinemann, 1990.

The Faber Book of Contemporary Caribbean Short Stories.   Edited by Mervyn Morris. Faber, 1990.

And I remember many things: folklore of the Caribbean. Compiled and edited by Christine Barrow. Ian Randle Publishers, 1993.

The Penguin Book of Caribbean Short Stories.  Edited by E. A. Markham.  Penguin, 1996.

Caribbean Women Writers. Edited by Harold Bloom. Chelsea House Publications, 1997.

The Whistling Bird: Women writers of the Caribbean [Fiction, Verse, Plays]. Edited by Elaine Campbell, Pierrette Frickey. Lynne Reinner Publishers, 1998.

The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories.  Edited by Stewart Brown and John Wickham. Oxford, 1999.

Caribbean Folk Tales and Fantasies. Michael Anthony. Macmillan Caribbean, 2004.

Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean. Peekash (Akashic/Peepal Tree) – 2014.

 

Pulse: A Collection of essays by Saint Lucian writers. Edited by Kendel Hippolyte and Melchoir Henry, 1980.

Saint Lucian Literature and Theatre: an anthology of reviews. Compiled and edited by John Robert Lee and Kendel Hippolyte. Castries: Cultural Development Foundation, 2006.

 

POETRY

Caribbean Verse: an anthology. Edited and introduced by O.R. Dathorne. Heinemann Educational Books Ltd, 1967.

Caribbean Voices: an anthology of West Indian Poetry. Selected by John Figueroa.  Vol. 1 – Dreams and Visions. Evans Brothers, 1966; Vol. 2 – The Blue Horizons. Evans Brothers, 1970.

West Indian Poetry.  New edition.  Edited by Kenneth Ramchand and Cecil Gray.  Longman Caribbean, 1971.

Breaklight: an anthology of Caribbean poetry. Edited by Andrew Salkey. Hamish Hamilton, 1971.

Melanthika:  an Anthology of Pan-Caribbean writing. Edited by Nick Toczek, Philip Nanton and Yann Lovelock. L.W.M. Publications, 1977.

News for Babylon: The Chatto Book of Westindian – British Poetry. Edited by James Berry. Chatto and Windus, 1984.

A Shapely Fire: Black Writers in Canada. Edited by Cyril Dabydeen. Mosaic press, 1987.

Jahaji Bhai: an anthology of Indo-Caribbean Literature. Frank Birbalsingh. TSAR, 1988.

Voiceprint: an anthology of oral and related poetry from the Caribbean. Selected and edited by Stewart Brown, Mervyn Morris, Gordon Rohlehr. Longman, 1989.

Hinterland: Caribbean poetry from the West Indies and Britain. Edited by E.A. Markham. Bloodaxe Books, 1989.

Creation Fire: A CAFRA Anthology of Caribbean Women’s Poetry. Edited by Ramabai Espinet. Sister Vision, 1990.

The Heinemann Book of Caribbean Poetry.  Selected by Ian McDonald and Stewart Brown. Heinemann,  1992.

Caribbean Poetry Now.  2nd edition.  Edited by Stewart Brown.  Edward Arnold, 1992.

Crossing Water: Contemporary Poetry of the English-Speaking Caribbean. Edited by Anthony Kellman. NY: The Greenfield Review Press, 1992.

The Massachusetts Review: Contemporary Caribbean Culture and Art. Autumn-Winter 1994.

The Penguin Book of Caribbean Verse in English. Edited by Paula Burnett.  Penguin Classics, 1986, 2005.

The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse.  Edited by Stewart Brown and Mark McWatt.  Oxford, 2005.

University of Hunger: Collected poems and selected prose of Martin Carter. Edited by Gemma Robinson. Tarset: Bloodaxe Books, 2006.

New Caribbean Poetry: an Anthology. Edited by Kei Miller. Carcanet, 2007.

Wheel and Come Again: An Anthology of Reggae Poetry. Edited by Kwame Dawes. Peepal Tree press, 2008.

 

Confluence: nine Saint Lucian poets.  Edited by Kendel Hippolyte.  Castries, 1988.

Roseau Valley and other poems for Brother George Odlum.  Compiled and edited by John Robert Lee. Castries.

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4. West Indian Literary Journals

BIM. Barbados. Begun in December 1942 by E.L. (Jimmy) Cozier the Founder and First editor.  Edited for many years by Frank Collymore and John Wickham.  New issues are now edited by Esther Phillips.

Kyk –Over- Al.  Guyana. Founded in 1945. Edited by the late A. J. Seymour.  Last issue in 1961 after 28 issues. Kyk-over-Al #49/50 (June 2000) dedicated to Martin Carter Tribute.  More recent editors of occasional publications: Ian McDonald and Vanda Radzik.

Focus. Jamaica. Edited by Edna Manley in 1943, 1948, 1956, 1960. 1983 edition edited by Mervyn Morris.

Caribbean Quarterly 1949-.  Edited by Director of Extra Mural Studies, UWI, Mona, Jamaica.

New World Quarterly: A Journal of Caribbean Affairs and Public Opinion (1965-1969?/1972). Managing Editor: George Beckford (1934-1990). Published by New World Group Ltd. Carried poems, prose and literary reviews.

Jamaica Journal 1967- . Journal of the Institute of Jamaica.

The Trinidad and Tobago Review (formerly Tapia), beginning publication in 1969, has regularly published poetry, prose and reviews of Caribbean Literature. Among its writers have been Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, Gordon Rohlehr, Ian McDonald, Kenneth Ramchand. It was edited for many years by the late Lloyd Best (1934-2007). Published by the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of the West Indies.

SAVACOU: A Journal of the Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM). From Issue #1 June 1970 – Issue #15 1980. Main editors were Kamau Brathwaite, Andrew Salkey, Kenneth Ramchand, Gordon Rohlehr. Published by CAM and Savacou Publications Ltd. A number of issues were anthologies of writing, in particular the landmark and controversial Savacou 3/4 which presented New Writing 1970.

The New Voices. Trinidad. No longer published. Edited from 1973 to 1993, by Trinidadian author, Anson Gonzalez.

The Journal of West Indian Literature 1986 -.  Edited and published by Departments of Literatures in English, The University of the West Indies.

The Caribbean Writer 1987-.  Published by the University of the Virgin Islands.

WASAFIRI (UK) 1984-. Edited by Susheila Nasta. Published for the Association for the Teaching of Caribbean, African, Asian and Associated Literatures (ATCAL).

Caribbean Beat: the magazine of the true Caribbean. Published since 1992 by Media and Editorial Projects Ltd (MEP), it is the leading magazine on Caribbean and West Indian arts, culture and society. The inflight magazine of Caribbean Airways. (formerly BWIA).

Calabash: A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters. 2000-. Founding Editor: Jacqueline Bishop.  Editor: Gerard Aching.

Small axe: a Caribbean Journal of criticism 2001-. Editor: David Scott (1958-). Associate Editors: Anthony Bogues, Nadi Edwards, Annie Paul.

The Caribbean Review of Books (CRB). First edited by Samuel Bandara, in Jamaica, 1991-1994. Revived in 2004.  Edited by Nicholas Laughlin, Trinidad.  www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com. Now an online journal.

The Arts Journal: Critical Perspectives on the contemporary Literature, Art and Culture of Guyana and the Anglophone Caribbean. May 2004-. Published yearly by The Arts Forum Inc., Georgetown, Guyana. Editor: Ameena Gafoor.  <www.theartsjournal.org.gy>

Many of these Journals and others that review Caribbean Literature are now online. Many blogs created by individual writers discuss and review Caribbean Literature and related issues. In its February 2009 Issue, CRB discussed the growing necessity for online literary journals. Some of the sites noted were:

Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal (www.anthurium.miami.edu). Published from the University of Miami, debuted online in 2003. Appears roughly twice per year.

Calabash: A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters (www.nyu.edu/calabash). Based at New York University. Started in 2000.

Repeating Islands (www.repeatingislands.com). Started in 2009.

Tongues of the Ocean (www.tonguesoftheocean.org). Poetry journal based in the Bahamas. Launched in 2009. Edited by poet and playwright Nicolette Bethel. Three issues annually.

Wadadli Pen (https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com).   Managed by Antiguan & Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse. Site provides a bibliography of writing from Antigua and Barbuda.

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5: Readings on West Indian Literature in English.

West Indian Literature. 2nd Edition. Edited by Bruce King. Macmillan, 1995. [Provides a historical background to West Indian writing, with brief studies of selected writers.]

The Islands in Between. Edited by Louis James. Oxford, 1968.

Caribbean writers: critical essays. Ivan Van Sertima (1935-2009). New Beacon Books, 1968.

Tradition the writer and society: Critical essays. Wilson Harris. New Beacon Books, 1967.

The West Indian Novel and its background. Kenneth Ramchand (1939-). Faber 1970; Heinemann, 1993.  Revised edition published by Ian Randle Publishers, 2004.  With bibliographies to 1967.

West Indian Poetry 1900-1970: A study in cultural decolonization. Edward Baugh. Kingston: Savacou Publications, 1971.

West Indian Poetry.  Lloyd Brown. Boston: Twayne Publications, 1978.

Critics on Caribbean Literature.  Edited by Edward Baugh. Allen and Unwin, 1978.

A Companion to West Indian Literature. Michael Hughes. London: Collins, 1979.

 

On George Lamming:

The Novels of George Lamming. Sandra Paquet Pouchet. Heinemann, 1983.

Caliban’s Curse: George Lamming and the revisioning of history. Supriya Nair. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996.

From Nation to Diaspora: Samuel Selvon, George Lamming and the Cultural Performance of Gender.  Curdella Forbes. Kingston: UWI Press, 2005.

 

Resistance and Caribbean Literature. Selwyn R. Cudjoe. Ohio University Press, 1980.

The Man-of-Words in the West Indies: Performance and the Emergence of Creole Culture. Roger D. Abrahams. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983.

 

On Jean Rhys:

Jean Rhys. Carole Angier. Penguin, 1985.

Jean Rhys. Letters 1931-1966. Edited by Francis Wyndham and Diana Melly. Viking Adult, 1984. Penguin Twentieth Century Classics, 1995.

Jean Rhys’s  Imagination: Reading and Writing the Creole. Veronica Marie Gregg. Atlantic Books, 1995.

Jean Rhys (Cambridge Studies in African and Caribbean Literature). Elaine Savory, 2007.

The Cambridge Introduction to Jean Rhys (Cambridge Introductions to Literature). Elaine Savory. 2009.

The Blue Hour: A Portrait of Jean Rhys (Bloomsbury Lives of Women). Lilian Pizzichini. Bloomsbury, 2010.

 

Phyllis Shand Allfrey: a Caribbean Life. Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. Rutgers University Press, 1996.

History of the Voice: The Development of Nation Language in Anglophone Caribbean Poetry.  Kamau Brathwaite.  London: New Beacon Books, 1984.

Poetry in the Caribbean. Julie Pearn. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1985.

Passion and Exile: Essays in Caribbean Literature. Frank Birbalsingh. Hansib, 1988.

A Reader’s Guide to West Indian and Black Literature. David Dabydeen and Nana Wilson-Tagore. Hansib, 1988.

The Caribbean Artists Movement 1966-1972: A literary and cultural history. Anne Walmsley. New Beacon Books, 1992.

New World Adams: conversations with contemporary West Indian Writers. Daryl Cumber Dance. Peepal Tree, 1992.

 

Gordon Rohlehr  (1942-.):

Calypso and Society in Pre-Independence Trinidad. Gordon Rohlehr. Port of Spain, 1990.

The Shape of that Hurt and other essays. Gordon Rohlehr. Longman Trinidad Ltd, 1992.

My Strangled City and other essays. Gordon Rohlehr. Longman Trinidad Ltd, 1992.

A Scuffling of islands: Essays on Calypso. Gordon Rohlehr. Lexicon Trinidad Ltd, 2004.

Transgression, Transition, Transformation: Essays in Caribbean Culture. Gordon Rohlehr. Lexicon Trinidad Ltd, 2007.

 

On Kamau Brathwaite:

Pathfinder: Black awakening in The Arrivants of Edward Kamau Brathwaite. Gordon Rohlehr, 1981.

Roots: essays of Kamau Brathwaite. Kamau Brathwaite. University of Michigan, 1993.

The Art of Kamau Brathwaite. Edited by Stewart Brown. Seren Books, 1995.

Kamau Brathwaite’s MiddlePassages:  A Lecture, with an introduction by Elaine Savory, produced by Hyacinth M. Simpson. Sandberry Press, 2005. [CD, 65 minutes].

Caribbean Culture: soundings on Kamau Brathwaite. Edited by Annie Paul. UWI Press, 2007.

Copied from Wikipedia:

Selected works of Brathwaite and the year of publication follow:

  • Four Plays for Primary Schools (1964)
  • Odale’s Choice (1967)
  • Rights of Passage (1967)
  • Masks (1968)
  • Islands (1969)
  • Folk Culture of the Slaves in Jamaica (1970)
  • The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica, 1770-1820 (1971)
  • The Arrivants (1973)
  • Contradictory Omens: Cultural Diversity and Integration in the Caribbean (1974)
  • Other Exiles (1975)
  • Days & Nights (1975)
  • Black + Blues (1976)
  • Mother Poem (1977)
  • Soweto (1979)
  • History of the Voice (1979)
  • Jamaica Poetry (1979)
  • Barbados Poetry (1979)
  • Sun Poem (1982)
  • Afternoon of the Status Crow (1982)
  • Gods of the Middle Passage (1982)
  • Third World Poems (1983)
  • History of the Voice: The Development of Nation Language in Anglophone Caribbean Poetry (1984)
  • Jah Music (1986)
  • X/Self (1987)
  • Sappho Sakyi’s Meditations (1989)
  • Shar (1992)
  • Middle Passages (1992)
  • The Zea Mexican Diary: 7 September 1926 – 7 September 1986 (1993)
  • Trenchtown Rock (1993)
  • Barabajan Poems (1994)
  • Dream Stories (1994)
  • Words Need Love Too (2000)
  • Ancestors (2001)
  • Magical Realism (2002)
  • Golokwati (2002)
  • Born to Slow Horses (2005) (winner of the 2006 International Griffin Poetry Prize)
  • Limbo As published in Oxford AQA GCSE English Anthology 2005 and 2008
  • Elegguas (2010)

Critical writing about Brathwaite:

  • Kelly Baker Josephs. “Versions of X/Self: Kamau Brathwaite’s Caribbean Discourse.” Anthurium, 1.1 (Fall 2003).
  • June Bobb. Beating a Restless Drum: The Poetics of Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1997.
  • ed. Stewart Brown. The Art of Kamau Brathwaite (Seren, 1995, ISBN 9781854110923).
  • Loretta Collins. “From the ‘Crossroads of Space’ to the (dis)Koumforts of Home: Radio and the Poet as Transmuter of the Word in Kamau Brathwaite’s ‘Meridian’ and Ancestors.” Anthurium, 1.1 (Fall 2003).
  • Raphael Dalleo. “Another ‘Our America’: Rooting a Caribbean Aesthetic in the Work of José Martí, Kamau Brathwaite and Édouard Glissant.” Anthurium, 2.2 (Fall 2004).
  • Montague Kobbe, “Caribbean Identity and Nation Language in Kamau Brathwaite”. Latineos, 12/23/2010. Retrieved 10/18/2012.
  • Melanie Otto, A Creole Experiment: Utopian Space in Kamau Brathwaite’s “Video-Style” Works. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2009.
  • Anna Reckin: “Tidalectic Lectures: Kamau Brathwaite’s Prose/Poetry as Sound-Space.” Anthurium, 1.1 (Fall 2003).

 

Come back to me my language: poetry and the West Indies. J. Edward Chamberlin. Illinois, 1993.

Woman version: Theoretical Approaches to West Indian Fiction by Women. Evelyn O’Callaghan.  Warwick University Caribbean Studies, 1993.

Out of the Kumbla: Caribbean Women and Literature. Edited by Carole Boyce Davies, Elaine Savory Fido. NJ: Africa World Press, 1994.

Women writing the West Indies, 1804-1939: ‘A Hot Place, belonging to us.’ Evelyn O’Callaghan. London: Routledge Research in Postcolonial literatures, 2004.

Deconstruction, Imperialism and the West Indian novel. Glyne A. Griffith. UWI Press, 1995.

Rena Juneja. Caribbean Transactions: West Indian Culture in Literature. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996.

The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective. Antonio Benitez-Rojo (1931-2004). Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996.

Frontiers of Caribbean Literature in English( Interviews). Edited by Frank Birbalsingh.  St. Martin’s Press, 1996.

The Routledge reader in Caribbean Literature. Edited by Alison Donnell, Sarah Lawson Welsh, 1996.

Traveller’s Literary Companion: Caribbean. James Ferguson. Passport Books, 1997.

Conversations with V.S. Naipaul.  Edited by Feroza Jussawalla. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi,   1997.

An introduction to West Indian Poetry. Laurence A. Breiner. Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Historical thought and literary representation in West Indian Literature. Nana Wilson-Tagoe. UWI Press, 1998.

Beating a Restless Drum: The Poetics of Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott. June Bobb. Trenton, NJ: Africa World press, 1998.

The Other America: Caribbean Literature in a New World Context. J. Michael Dash. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1998.

Caribbean Literature in English. Louis James. Longman, 1999.

Is English we speaking and other essays.  Mervyn Morris. Ian Randle Publishers, 1999.

Natural Mysticism: Towards a New Reggae Aesthetic. Kwame Dawes. Peepal Tree Press, 1999.

Talk yuh talk: Interviews with Anglophone Caribbean Poets. Edited by Kwame Dawes. University of Virginia Press, 2000.

 

On Derek Walcott:

The Art of Derek Walcott. Edited by Stewart Brown. Seren Books, 1991.

Critical Perspectives on Derek Walcott. Edited by Robert Hamner. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1996.

Conversations with Derek Walcott. Edited by William Baer. University Press of Mississippi, 1996.

What the Twilight says: Essays. Derek Walcott. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1998.

Derek Walcott: A Caribbean Life. Bruce King. Oxford, 2000.

Abandoning dead metaphors: the Caribbean phase of Derek Walcott’s poetry. Patricia Ismond (1944-2006). University of the West Indies Press, 2001.

Nobody’s Nation: Reading Derek Walcott. Paul Breslin. University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Derek Walcott. Edward Baugh. Cambridge University Press [Cambridge Studies in African and Caribbean Literature], 2006.

Interlocking basins of a globe: essays on Derek Walcott. Edited by Jean Antoine-Dunne. Peepal, 2013.

 

The Caribbean Novel in English: An Introduction. Edited by M. Keith Booker and Dubravka Juraga. Ian Randle Publishers, 2001.

The novels of Samuel Selvon: A critical study. Roydon Salick. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001.

The Maroon Narrative: Caribbean Literature in English across boundaries, ethnicities and centuries (Studies in Caribbean Literature). Cynthia James. Heinemann, 2002.

The Empire writes back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures. Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, Helen Tiffin. 2nd Edition. Routledge, 2002.

The Second Shipwreck. A Study of Indo-Caribbean Literature. Jeremy Poynting. Peepal Tree, 2003.

Self-Portraits: Interviews with Ten West Indian Writers and Two Critics. Funso Aiyejina. UWI School of Continuing Studies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago, 2003.

Growing in the Dark: Selected Essays. Earl Lovelace and Funso Aiyejina.  Port of Spain: Lexicon, 2003.

 

On Wilson Harris:

Wilson Harris: A Philosophical Approach. C.L.R. James. UWI, 1965.

Wilson Harris and the Caribbean novel. Michael Gilkes. Longman, 1975.

Wilson Harris. Hena Maes-Jelinek. Boston: Twayne, 1982.

The Literate Imagination: Essays on the novels of Wilson Harris. Edited by Michael Gilkes. Macmillan, 1989.

Selected Essays of Wilson Harris, the unfinished Genesis of the Imagination. Edited by A.J.M. Bundy. Routledge, 1999.

Exploring the Palace of the Peacock: Essays on Wilson Harris. Joyce Sparer Adler. Edited by Irving Adler,  UWI Press, 2003.

 

All are involved: the Art of Martin Carter. Edited by Stewart Brown. Peepal Tree, 2004.

Making West Indian Literature (Essays and interviews). Mervyn Morris. Ian Randle Publishers, 2005.

Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature: Critical Moments in Anglophone Literary History. Alison Donnell. Routledge, 2005.

Caribbean Literature and the Environment: Between Nature and Culture. Elizabeth M. De Loughery. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005.

Tourist, traveller, troublemaker: essays on poetry. Stewart Brown. Peepal Tree, 2007.

Nationalism and the Formation of Caribbean Literature. Leah Reade Rosenberg. Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

The World is what it is: The Authorised Biography of V.S. Naipaul. Patrick French. Picador, 2008.

Black Yeats: Eric Roach and the politics of Caribbean Poetry. Laurence A. Breiner.  Peepal Tree, 2008.

Caribbean Literature After Independence: The Case of Earl Lovelace. Edited by Bill Schwartz.  Institute  for the Study of the Americas, 2008.

A  Place in the World: Essays and Tributes in Honour of Earl Lovelace at 70. Edited by Funso Aiyejina. Port of Spain: Lexicon, Trinidad, 2008.

Writing Life: Reflections by West Indian Writers, Edited by Mervyn Morris & Carolyn Allen. Ian Randle Publishers, 2008.

Frank Collymore: a biography. Edward Baugh. Ian Randle Publishers, 2009.

Philosophy in the West Indian novel. Earl McKenzie. UWI Press, 2009.

Caribbean Women Writers: Essays from the First International Conference. Selwyn R. Cudjoe. University of Massachusetts, 2009.

The Caribbean Short Story: Critical perspectives. Edited by Lucy Evans, Mark McWatt & Emma Smith, 2011.

The Sky’s Wild Noise: Selected Essays. Rupert Roopnarine. Peepal, 2012.

Writing down the vision: essays and prophecies. Peepal Tree Press, 2013.

 

Bibliographies, Indexes, Reference materials:

Caribbean Writers: a Bio-Bibliographical-Critical Encyclopedia.  Edited by Donald E. Herdeck. Three Continents Press, 1979.

Derek Walcott: An Annotated Bibliography of His Works. Irma Goldstraw. New York: Garland, 1984.

Fifty Caribbean Writers: a Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Edited by Daryl Cumber Dance. Greenwood Press, 1986.

West Indian Literature: an Index to criticism 1930-1975. Jeannette B. Allis. Boston: G. H. Hall, 1981.

Anglophone Caribbean Poetry 1970-2001: An Annotated Bibliography. Emily Allen Williams. Greenwood, 2002.

Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean Literature 1900-2003.  Edited by Daniel Balderston and Mike Gonzalez.  Routledge, 2004.

Bibliography of St. Lucian Creative Writing: poetry, prose, drama by St. Lucian writers 1948-2012. John Robert Lee. Castries: Mahanaim, 2013. EBook by Author House, 2013.

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6. The Historical, Cultural and Social background

The Traveller’s Tree. Patrick Leigh Fermor. Murray, 1950.

The Making of the West Indies. F.R. Augier et al. Longmans, 1960.

The Rastafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica. M.G. Smith, Roy Augier, and Rex Nettleford. Kingston: Institute of Social and Economic Research, UWI, 1960.

Federation of the West Indies. Sir John Mordecai. Northwestern University Press, 1968.

The Growth of the Modern West Indies. Gordon K. Lewis (1919-1991). Monthly Review Press, 1968; Ian Randle Publishers, 2004.

How Europe underdeveloped Africa.  Walter Rodney. London: Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications, 1972.

The Groundings with my brothers. Walter Rodney (1942-1980). London: Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications, 1969. Reprint, 1990.

Contemporary Caribbean: A Sociological Reader. Two Volumes. Edited by Susan Craig. Port of Spain, 1981, 1982.

Main Currents in Caribbean Thought. Gordon K. Lewis (1919-1991). Heinemann, 1983.

West Indian Societies. David Lowenthal. Oxford, 1972.

The Caribbean People, Books 1,2,3.  Lennox Honychurch.  Nelson Caribbean, [1979.]

The Caribbean: Survival, Struggle and Sovereignty. Catherine A. Sunshine. An EPICA Publication, 1985.

The Modern Caribbean. Edited by Franklin W. Knight and Colin A. Palmer. University of North Carolina Press, 1989.

 

C.L.R. James (1901-1989):

Beyond a Boundary. C.L.R. James.  Serpent’s Tail, 1963.

The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. 2nd Edition Rev.  C.L.R. James. Vintage Books, 1989.

The CLR James Archive: A Reader’s Guide. Compiled by Anna Grimshaw. NY: CLR James Institute, 1991.

Special Delivery: The Letters of CLR James to Constance Webb 1939-1948. Edited by Anna Grimshaw & Constance Webb. Blackwell Publishers,  1995.

C.L.R. James: A Life. Farrukh Dhondy. Pantheon Books, 2002.

Letters from London (letters of C.L.R. James). Edited by Nicholas Laughlin. Prospect Press, 2003.

C.L.R. James: Cricket’s Philosopher King. Dave Renton. Haus Publishing,  2007.

Urbane Revolutionary: C.L.R. James and the Struggle for a New Society. Frank Rosengarten. University Press of Mississippi, 2007.

 

Whispers from a Continent: the Literature of contemporary Black Africa. Wilfred Cartey (1931-1992). Random House, 1969.

Whispers from the Caribbean: I going away, I going home. Wilfred Cartey (1931-1992). University of California, 1991.

From Columbus to Castro: the History of the Caribbean 1492-1969. Eric Williams (1911-1981). Andre Deutsch, 1970.

The Sociology of Slavery. Orlando Patterson (1940-). London, 1971.

The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica 1770-1820. Edward (Kamau) Brathwaite. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971.

“Is Massa Day Done?”.  Edited by Orde Coombs.  Anchor/Doubleday, 1974.

Bob Marley: Soul rebel-Natural Mystic. Adrian Boot & Vivien Goldman. EEL Pie Publishing/Hutchinson, 1981. [Photographs of Marley 1945-1981].

West Indians and their language. Peter Roberts. Cambridge, 1988.

The Trinidad Awakening: West Indian Literature of the Nineteen-Thirties. Reinhard W. Sander. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988.

Trinidad Carnival: a republication of the Caribbean Quarterly Trinidad Carnival Issue Vol. 4 (numbers 3&4), 1956. Port of Spain: Paria Publishing Company Limited, 1988.

The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism. Franklin W. Knight. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Inward Stretch, Outward Reach: A Voice from the Caribbean. Rex Nettleford. London: Macmillan, 1993.

Noises in the blood: orality, gender and the vulgar body of Jamaican Popular Culture. Carolyn Cooper. Duke University Press, 1993.

Liberation Cricket: West Indies Cricket Culture. Edited by Hilary McD. Beckles and Brian Stoddart. Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, 1995.

The Development of West Indies Cricket. Hilary McD. Beckles. Kingston: UWI Press, 1999.

Ethnic Minorities in Caribbean Societies. Edited by Rhoda Reddock. St. Augustine, Trinidad: Institute of Social and Economic Research, UWI, 1996.

UNESCO General History of the Caribbean [6 titles Vols i-vi]. Volume III: The Slave societies of the Caribbean. Editor: Franklin W. Knight. Macmillan, 1997. Vol. 5: The Caribbean in the Twentieth century.

Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage.  Richard Allsopp (1923-2009). Oxford, 1997.

The Trinidad Carnival: Mandate for a National Theatre.  Errol Hill. London: New Beacon, 1997.

Catch A Fire: the Life of Bob Marley. Timothy White. Holt Paperbacks, 1998.

Before and after 1865: education, politics and regionalism in the Caribbean. Edited by Brian L. Moore and Swithin R. Wilmot. Ian Randle Publishers, 1998.

Chanting down Babylon: A Rastafari Reader. Edited by N. Samuel Murrel, William Spencer,and Adrian Anthony. Ian Randle Publishers, 1998.

Caribbean Art.  Veerle Poupeye. Thames & Hudson, 1998.

The Shaping of the West Indian Church 1492-1962. Arthur Charles Dayfoot. UWI Press, 1999.

On the canvas of the world. Edited by George Lamming. Published by the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of the West Indies, 1999. Contained are the two special issues of New World Quarterly, first published in February and November 1966 to mark the Independence of Guyana and Barbados. They were edited by George Lamming, Martin Carter and Edward Baugh.

Enterprise of the Indies. Edited by George Lamming. Published by the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of the West Indies, 1999. The material was first published in the Trinidad and Tobago Review. Contains poetry, prose, fiction and non-fiction by many leading writers and intellectuals.

Contending with destiny: The Caribbean in the 21st Century. Edited by Kenneth Hall and Denis Benn. Ian Randle Publishers, 2000.

Caribbean Art Criticism: Fashioning a Language, forming a dialogue. Edited by Nick Whittle. Bridgetown: AICA Southern Caribbean, 2000.

New Caribbean Thought. Edited by Brian Meeks and Lindahl Folke. Kingston: UWI Press, 2001.

This is Reggae Music: The Story of Jamaica’s Music. Lloyd Bradley. Grove Press, 2001.

A History of West Indies Cricket. Revised Edition. Michael Manley with Donna Symmonds. Andre Deutsch, 2002.

Understanding the contemporary Caribbean. Edited by Richard S. Hillman and Thomas D’Agostino. Ian Randle Publishers, 2002.

Questioning Creole: Creolisation Discourses in Caribbean Culture. Edited by Verene Shepherd and Glen L. Richards. Ian Randle Publishers, 2002.

Paradise and Plantation: Tourism and Culture in the Anglophone Caribbean. Ian Gregory Strachan. University of Virginia Press, 2002.

The Caribbean: an Intellectual History 1774-2003. Denis M. Benn. Ian Randle Publishers, 2004.

Jamaican Dancehall Culture at large. Carolyn Cooper. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Rastafari: A universal philosophy in the third millennium. Edited by Werner Zips. Ian Randle Publishers, 2005.

Globalisation, Diaspora and Caribbean Popular Culture. Edited by Christine G. T. Ho and Keith Nurse. Ian Randle Publishers, 2005.

Rex N: Selected Speeches Rex Nettleford (b.1933– d.2010). Edited by Kenneth O. Hall. Ian Randle Publishers, 2005.

Shouts from the Outfield: The ArtsEtc Cricket Anthology. Edited by Linda M. Deane and Robert Edison Sandiford. AE Books, 2007.

Governing Sound: The Cultural Politics of Trinidad’s Carnival Musics.  Jocelyne Guilbault.  Ian Randle Publishers/University of Chicago Press (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology), 2007.

No Woman No Cry: My Life with Bob Marley. Rita Marley (with Hettie Jones). Hyperion, 2005.

Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius. Kwame Dawes. Bobcat Books, 2007.

Bob Marley: A Life (1945-1981). Garry Steckles. Macmillan Caribbean/Signal Books/Interlink Books, 2008.

A History of St. Lucia. Jolien Harmsen, Guy Ellis, Robert Devaux. Vieux Fort, St. Lucia: Lighthouse Road, 2012.

caribbean writers

Caribbean writers in St. Lucia for WordAlive Literary Festival, 2010

From left to right:

Standing: Earl Lovelace, McDonald Dixon, John Robert Lee, Kei Miller, Esther Phillips, Kendel Hippolyte, Alwin Bully, Anita Bully, Lorna Goodison, Edward Baugh.

Sitting: Roger Bonair Agard, Marie – Elena John, Adrian Augier, Marc Matthews.

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John Robert Lee. Photo by Davina Lee                                                                                                                                                            


 John Robert Lee is a published writer of prose, poetry, journalism; a librarian; and a radio and television broadcaster. His  latest publications are  “elemental: new and selected poems,  1975-2007”. Peepal Tree Press, 2008, “Sighting and other poems of faith, Mahanaim, 2013 and “Bibliography of St. Lucian Creative writing” 1948-2013, Mahanaim.
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Reading the World: the full interview

UPDATE! Ann’s landed a book deal from this project and she’s still reading. Here’s her review of Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean.

Late last year, I did an interview with British writer Ann Morgan about her project (a blog now on track to become a book) to read the entire world in one year. That article Reading the World: the Caribbean Leg can be found here. I came across the transcript of our original interview and thought it was worth sharing. Enjoy.

Joanne C. Hillhouse: What’s the single most significant thing you’ve learned so far on this literary journey?

Ann Morgan: That the world is full of generous people who will help you achieve your goals if you ask them in the right way. In terms of what I’ve learnt from the books, that’s probably best summed up by a sentence from The Corsair by Abdul Aziz Al Mahmoud (the book I read from Qatar): corsair‘You would think differently if this land was your land and if these people were your people.’

JCH: Has it changed how you perceived any of the countries or deepened your understanding of them in any way? I ask that because I do believe that the insights provided through the arts – even more so than non fiction or news – can open a window to the soul of a country; how people live, think, dream, what they value…. I wonder if it has resulted in any shifts in terms of how you see things?

AM: I think I’ve learned to appreciate the value of difference more and the extraordinary variety of cultures wgreate have in our world. However, I’m also very conscious that as I’m only reading one book from each country this year I mustn’t make the mistake of thinking that I have gained a rounded insight into any particular nation – I’d be annoyed if someone assumed they knew all about Britain just from reading Great Expectations!

JCH: I find the task you’ve set yourself to be quite ambitious, has it ever felt overwhelming?

AM: I was worried it might be overwhelming at the start and it has been tiring. But by making a plan of how much I had to read each day and sticking to it, it’s been possible. I’ve also had great encouragement from people all over the world who have got behind the project and done so much to help me.

JCH: Has it been fun?

AM: Yes, great fun. And I now have friends all over the planet, which is brilliant.

JCH: What’s the most fun thing you’ve learned about the Caribbean through reading Caribbean books?

AM: I loved the myth about the Snake King as told by the children in Grade 6 at Atkinson School, Bataka, Dominica. snakeThe story was so rooted in the landscape of the island – with a specific rock formation on the island used as the staircase for the snake to climb out of the ocean. The illustrations also made it a really colourful, joyful book.

JCH: What’s the most unsettling thing?

AM: I guess that would have to be the history of the brutal acts that took place under the regime of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. These form the backdrop and backstory to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diazoscar, which I read for that country. It’s amazing that such a vibrant society could emerge from such dark times.

JCH: And assuming it’s not either of these, what’s the most revealing thing?

AM: I was fascinated to read Trinidadian writer Vahni Capildeo’s reflections on what it’s like to try to find a voice as a Caribbean writer in her – as yet unpublished – memoir One Scattered Skeleton. She is related to VS Naipaul, so grew up in quite a large shadow, but for her the biggest obstacle seemed to be the fact that all the books published out there apart from Naipaul’s were from countries like the UK. Her descriptions of how books and formative experiences that we encounter growing up affect the way we read and write are fascinating.

JCH: Do you feel like you understand the Caribbean better than you did? Can you before and after it for me?

AM: I suppose yes would be the short answer – although I’ve only read one book for each nation, so there’s loads I don’t know. I think the variety and diversity of life in the Caribbean is something I can appreciate more now. Here in the rainy old UK we are used to lumping the region together and just thinking of it as a sunny, tropical paradise. However the books I’ve read have showed me that the different nations have strikingly different characteristics: from the tensions between rich and poor in the Bahamas to the playful rivalries between different communities and islands in tiny places like St Vincent and the Grenadines, there’s so much to discover.

JCH: People think of reading as a very solitary thing. Reading your blog though I get the sense that it’s been quite a social experience for you, connecting with writers and critics and other book lovers from around the world. Has it?

AM: Absolutely. When I started the project, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it alone – I needed people to tell me what I should be reading. I wanted recommendations of books that people loved and admired. And that meant talking to people! As the year’s gone on, I’ve also been incredibly lucky with the number of people who have gone out of their way to help me get hold of books from harder to reach places and countries that don’t really have any literature in translation. It’s been an amazing experience.

JCH: How many books have you gotten through so far this year?

AM: I’m now into the final 10 books of the project. By the end of the year, I’ll have read and posted on 197 books – one for each nation on the list of 196, plus one extra ‘Rest of the World’ book. This was chosen for me by blog visitors who voted on a shortlist of books from territories not on my main list.

JCH: In selecting books, and especially books from the Caribbean, how have you dealt with the question of what constitutes national literature?

AM: This is a tricky question wherever you are in the world. Although it sounds as though working out what country a book is from should be easy, when you start to think about it, it becomes really complicated. All sorts of questions come up: does the writer have to live in the country? Must they have been born there? And does the story have to take place in that country too? Where do you draw the line?

In fact one of the Caribbean authors I read, Dany Laferrière threw me a real curveball with his novel i-am-a-japanese-writerI am a Japanese Writer, in which a Haitian-Canadian writer – like Laferrière – tries to embrace Japanese national identity. That novel shows up how inconsistent and ridiculous many of the assumptions we make about nationality are. As a general rule, though, I’ve been trying to make sure that all the books I read are by writers with enough of a connection with a country for it to be a big part of their life story.

JCH: I once blogged about what it’s like to be a Caribbean writer, to be on the fringe of what’s considered mainstream. So it was interesting to me reading your comment about your reading patterns before now. Would you say such patterns have changed for good as a result of this experience? And would you recommend others in the UK and the US to open up their reading palate? Why?

AM: Yes, I’ll certainly be reading more world literature in future. And, yes I would recommend other UK and US readers venture further afield. Reading books from other countries and cultures is one of the easiest, richest and cheapest ways of experiencing the world from other perspectives.

JCH: What’re your favourites that you’ve read from the Caribbean and why?

AM: I loved both the Laferrière and the Diaz because they’re incredibly complex, clever and engaging books. However, for a story that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and keeps you reading way past bedtime, it would have to be John Crow’s Devil crowby Marlon James – my Jamaican choice. It’s a novel about a village that gets taken over by an extremist preacher and becomes a sort of cult – spooky and brilliant. I also really enjoyed Garth Buckner’s Thine is the Kingdomkingdom, which looks at questions of identity and class in the Bahamas, and song of nightGlenville Lovell’s Song of Night. Ooh and Merle Collins’s the-ladies-are-upstairsThe Ladies are Upstairs contains some great atmospheric stories – there’s so much to choose from!

JCH: What was your most difficult Caribbean read and why?

AM: Probably the Laferrière for the reasons described above. Difficult’s not a bad thing, though. In this case it threw up some really interesting ideas.

JCH: What was the most challenging region of the world and where does the Caribbean rank in terms of the challenges of this literary journey?

AM: The Pacific island nations were the most challenging group of nations to get books from, although several French and Portuguese-speaking African countries also have very little or no literature in translation (these required some imaginative solutions, like, in the case Sao Tome and Principe, getting a book specially translated by a team of volunteers). Some of the smaller Caribbean nations on my list shared similar challenges to the Pacific island nations. Having low populations and with relatively young publishing traditions, countries like Saint Vincent & the Grenadines and Saint Kitts & Nevis didn’t seem to have much that a British reader like me could get my hands on. It took some expert advice from bloggers, readers and writers who know the region well to find my way to books that I could read from those countries. However, I’m encouraged to see initiatives like the BOCAS Lit Fest growing in popularity – I’m sure this will help get the work of Caribbean writers out to wider audiences.

JCH: Have any of the Caribbean books you’ve read entered your list of all time favourites? Why?

AM: No, although another Caribbean title I read years ago – Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Seawide sargasso sea – is already a great favourite. The books have definitely given me an appetite to discover more Caribbean literature, however.

JCH: Which Caribbean book would you readily recommend especially to the British reader? Why?

AM: I think every book I’ve read from the Caribbean has had something to recommend it. British readers might find one story, ‘Action, Action’ in Cecil Browne’s the-moon-is-following-meThe Moon is Following Me (my choice from Saint Lucia) especially interesting. It’s about a woman preparing for the homecoming of her husband who has been away working in England for the whole of their marriage. LucyLucy by Jamaica Kincaid also has some fascinating things to say about the legacy of British colonialism.

JCH: What most surprised you about reading the Caribbean?

AM: Laferrière’s book.

JCH: You mention that the Olympics was an impetus for this journey, the fact that the world was coming to London where you live. I love watching the opening parade with my mom in small part because at some point she’ll marvel out loud at the sheer number of countries and discover some country she never knew existed. Has this reading adventure been like that for you? What Caribbean country did you discover?

AM: Yes, in terms of places like Nauru and Tuvalu, although I had heard of all the Caribbean nations before.

JCH: I find it interesting that your Antigua choice is a book actually set outside of Antigua and the Caribbean…do you feel it provided any insights to the country?

AM: Setting hasn’t played a big part in most of my book choices this year. British writers write about other places all the time so I don’t see why I should expect authors from other countries to stick to stories within their own national boundaries. That said, Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy, which takes place in the US, does provide some interesting insights into the long-term effects of British colonialism in Antigua & Barbuda. There’s a brilliant bit where Lucy describes her memory of having to recite William Wordsworth’s famous poem ‘Daffodils’ at school without ever having seen the flower. It shows up how damaging it can be to be forced to embrace a culture that is not your own.

JCH: From a cursory glance, though there are some classics on your list, you seemed to stray from the traditional Caribbean literary canon (Selvon and Anthony in Trinidad, Lamming and Clarke in Barbados, McKay and Senior and Goodison and Winkler in Jamaica, Edgell in Belize, Jean Rhys in Dominica, Harris and Carter and McDonald in Guyana et al) to what can be termed the newer wave of writers; is this incorrect? If it is correct was it accidental or purpose driven?

AM: My project’s been driven by recommendations from readers around the world, so the list reflects what people have suggested. In general, though, I do tend to choose more contemporary works.

JCH: There are Caribbean countries missing from your list (the USVI, the BVI, Aruba, Curacao, St. Martin and St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, Montserrat, Anguilla, Cayman, Turks and Caicos, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Puerto Rico etc.) – any particular reason?

AM: My list of 196 countries is made up of all UN-recognised states plus Taiwan (which used to be a UN member), so it doesn’t include Caribbean nations that are not in this category. However, I am including one extra book in the project from the ‘Rest of the World’, to represent all territories not on the main list. This was voted for from a shortlist of nominated books by visitors to the blog. As you can see on the site, some books from other Caribbean places made the longlist. The winning ‘Rest of the World’ book will be revealed in the penultimate post of the year.

JCH: Did you find any common thread in the Caribbean lit that you read?

AM: No.

JCH: You might be interested to know that a fair amount of Caribbean readers have probably read books from the US and the UK more than what Caribbean books they’ve read. There are many reasons for this, including our history of colonialism, limited publishing opportunities for writers and access to regional books for readers not to mention books going out of print, and the sheer pervasiveness of American culture. Does that surprise you? I suspect it doesn’t since you mentioned several times how difficult it was to find books from this or that Caribbean country? Given what you’ve read, if you had the ear of the international publishing industry what would you say to them about the potential of Caribbean literature.

AM: No, it doesn’t surprise me. As I mentioned, the lack of published Caribbean literature in decades gone by is a theme in Vahni Capildeo’s memoir. The situation does seem to be changing with the rise of more literary festivals and publishing houses dedicated to Caribbean, which is a good thing. This will help the next generation of writers to develop their talents and reach more people around the world. There is certainly no lack of stories to tell and publishers looking for fresh voices will find plenty of them in the region.

 As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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