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.