Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Caribbean Writers - A Series

Today, I'm continuing with my occasional series on Caribbean writers, past and present.  A lot of Caribbean people don't know the rich diversity of Caribbean literature so this is my meager effort to highlight fabulous writers from the region. 
Lawrence Scott (born in Trinidad, 1943) is an award-winning novelist and short-story writer from Trinidad & Tobago, currently living in London and Trinidad. His novels have been awarded (1998) and short-listed (1992, 2004) for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and twice nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (for Aelred's Sin in 2000 and Night Calypso in 2006). His stories have been much anthologized and he won the Tom-Gallon Short-Story Award in 1986. He divides his time between London and Port of Spain.

Witchbroom (Cws (Series)) by Scott, Lawrence published by Heinemann Paperback                                                                    

Witchbroom - "A curious narrator called Lavren, both male and female, tells carnival tales of crime and passion. These tales evoke a visionary history of the Monagas family and their island.
Witchbroom is a brilliant first novel which reveals the history of a Caribbean island with an intensity and originality that is unrivalled." - from the author's website.  I loved this book!  It was fantastic - an epic look at the history of Trinidad from the early days of its settlement to the days of Eric Williams.

The White Witch of Rosehall

Herbert George de Lisser (9 December 1878 – 19 May 1944) was a Jamaican journalist and author. He has been called "one of the most conspicuous figures in the history of West Indian literature".
De Lisser was born in Falmouth, Jamaica, and attended William Morrison's Collegiate School in Kingston. He started work at the Institute of Jamaica at the age of 14. Three years later he joined the Jamaica Daily Gleaner, of which his father was editor, as a proofreader, and two years later became a reporter on the Jamaica Times.

The White Witch of Rosehall is a great example of Caribbean Gothic - beating drums, sinister slave practices and a plantation owner who has given herself over to the dark side.  Very entertaining!
Banana Bottom (Harvest Book, Hb 273)

Claude McKay (born Festus Claudius McKay) (September 15, 1889 – May 22, 1948) was a Jamaican-American writer and poet. He was a seminal figure in the Harlem Renaissance and wrote four novels: Home to Harlem (1928), a best-seller which won the Harmon Gold Award for Literature, Banjo (1929), Banana Bottom (1933) and in 1941 the manuscript of a novel that has not yet been published called Amiable With Big Teeth: A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem.  McKay also authored a collection of short stories, Gingertown (1932), and two autobiographical books, A Long Way from Home (1937) and Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940).

In Banana Bottom, a Jamaican girl, Bita Plant, who was adopted and sent to be educated in England by white missionary benefactors, returns to her native village of Banana Bottom and finds her black heritage at war with her newly acquired culture.  (I have to confess that while I've read his poetry, I haven't read his novels so Banana Bottom is on my TBR list.)

If you've read any of these, let me know what you thought!

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