Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Caribbean Writers cont'd....

The Caribbean has a strong and rich literary tradition that is not as well known as, perhaps, it should be so every now and then, here at Eugenia Writes! I highlight some of the region's authors and their works.

Phyllis Byam Shand Allfrey (24 October 1915 – January 1986) was a West Indian writer, socialist activist, newspaper editor and politician of the island of Dominica in the Caribbean.
She is best known for her first novel, The Orchid House (1953), based on her own early life, which in 1991 was turned into a Channel 4 television miniseries in the United Kingdom.  From Wikipedia.

From Amazon - First published in 1954, The Orchid House, Phyllis Shand Allfrey's only published novel, is a classic of Caribbean literature. In this markedly autobiographical story of the three daughters of a once-powerful but now impoverished white family, Allfrey interweaves her family's history with the history of her home island of Dominica in the twentieth century. The novel is written in a sensuous style and the story remarkably told through the eyes of Lally, the black nurse of the three sisters. Often praised for the clearsightedness of its analysis of the Dominican historical process, The Orchid House stands at a crucial intersection of West Indian politics. It was during this period that the colonized took over from the colonizer the direction of local governments. Allfrey, a Fabian socialist and founder of Dominica's first political party, articulates in this novel the central tenet of a political philosophy that guided a lifetime of grassroots activism: that profound changes had to take place in the power structures of Caribbean societies to bring social justice to its peoples, and that those who persevered in seeking to revive the past were doomed. This edition makes this classic novel available in paperback for the first time in years.


Caryl Phillips (born 13 March 1958) is a Kittian-British novelist, playwright and essayist. Best known for his novels (for which he has won multiple awards), Phillips is often described as a Black Atlantic writer, since much of his fictional output is defined by its interest in, and searching exploration of, the experiences of peoples of the African diaspora in England, the Caribbean and the United States.As well as writing, Phillips has worked as an academic at numerous institutions including Amherst College, Barnard College and, most recently, Yale University

FROM AMAZON - This novel confirms Phillips ( Higher Ground, LJ 8/89) as a writer to be reckoned with, someone able to create simple but powerful images that linger in the mind. Leila is a young West Indian woman seeking something more than the "stern predictability" of island existence. She emigrates to England in an attempt to revive a failing marriage and to provide a better life for her baby, but her hopes prove unrealistic, her marriage continues to disintegrate, and as winter sets in she finds herself "growing paler day by day. But she was more coloured than ever before, and not shame exactly, but feelings of inadequacy prevented her from looking in the mirror." What the reader sees in the mirror is a woman, a people, stripped by their colonial experience of their sense of self. Winner of England's Malcolm X Award, this book may seem a bit alien to the mainstream American audience but nonetheless would be a worthwhile purchase for academic and metropolitan libraries.

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