Is there a place or an event that has informed your writing?
My writing is always rooted in my Antiguan-ness; and in particular the Antiguan (with a hint of Dominican) working-class reality from the 1970s to present; the rhythms of that world especially informed my first book The Boy from Willow Bend. But it’s there in some way, shape or form in the other stories as well – even the ones not set in Ottos, where I was born: people making do and making a way, people who had their eyes wide open to reality but were still superstitious, people dealing with the disorientation of change within the shadow of larger political and social factors, much like in my new book Oh Gad!
Calypsonians would have been some of the first poets I would have been exposed to and, from a literary perspective, their frank handling of topic juxtaposed with their inventive use of language to give the story a layered interpretation – I think in retrospect I took in some of that, though back then I just loved to sing and dance to my favourites – Shorty, Obstinate, Latumba. We all did; and we all knew we could count on them to tell the truth. But, of course, I also read what I could get my hands on, or bent my ear to whatever Anansi or jumbie story was floating around.
I want to say thank you to them for their interest in interviewing me.
And with the April 17th 2012 release of my book Oh Gad! the timing couldn’t be better.