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Caribbean Literature

Most Important Caribbean Writers

Derek Walcott (23.01.1930)
Walcott raised in Castries, Saint Lucia. He has lived most of his life in Trinidad. His family was of mixed race and ethnicity; he had two white grandfathers and two black grandmothers. His father was a Bohemian artist; he died when Walcott was very young. His family reflects the complex colonial history of the island which he explores in his poetry. He received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is currently Professor of poetry at the University of Essex. He has published more than twenty plays, the majority of which have been produced by the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, and have also been widely staged elsewhere. Many of them address, either directly or indirectly, the liminal status of the West Indies in the post-colonial period. His poems are characterized by allusions to the English poetic tradition and a symbolic imagination that is at once personal and Caribbean. Walcott identifies as "absolutely a Caribbean writer", a pioneer, helping to make sense of the legacy of deep colonial damage. In such poems as "The Castaway" (1965) and in the play Pantomime (1978), he uses the metaphors of shipwreck and Crusoe to describe the culture and what is required of artists after colonialism and slavery: both the freedom and the challenge to begin again, salvage the best of other cultures and make something new.

V. S. Naipaul (17.08.1932)
Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad "V. S." Naipaul was born in Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago, to parents of Indian descent. He is focused on writing about the history of areas and peoples that are usually forgotten. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Nobel Prize in 2001, the Booker Prize in 1971, and a knighthood for services to literature in 1990. He has also written works of non-fiction, such as travel writing and essays.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez (06.03.1927)
Gabriel Jose de la Concordia Garcia Marquez was born in the town of Aracataca, Colombia. Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. Garcaa began his career as a journalist while studying law at the University of Cartagena. His works have achieved significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success, most notably for popularizing a literary style labeled as magic realism, which uses magical elements and events in otherwise ordinary and realistic situations. Some of his works are set in a fictional village called Macondo (the town mainly inspired by his birthplace Aracataca), and most of them express the theme of solitude.

Miguel Angel Asturias (1899-1974)
Asturias was born and raised in Guatemala though he lived a significant part of his adult life abroad. He was a poet, novelist, playwright, journalist and diplomat. Asturias helped establish Latin American literature's contribution to mainstream Western culture, and at the same time drew attention to the importance of indigenous cultures, especially those of his native Guatemala. In 1967 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, only the second Latin American to receive this honor.

Saint-John Perse (1887-1975)

Saint-John Perse, pseudonym for Alexis Saint-Leger, was born in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe. His great-grandfather, a solicitor, had settled in Guadeloupe in 1815. His grandfather and father were also solicitors; his father was also a member of the City Council. The Leger family owned two plantations, one of coffee (La Josephine) and the other of sugar (Bois-Debout). His literary work was published partly under his own name, but chiefly under the pseudonyms St. J. Perse and Saint-John Perse. In 1960 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Some Caribbean Novels

Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe (1719)
Robinson Crusoe is the story of an Englishman castaway on a remote tropical island near Trinidad for 28 years, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued.

Robert Louis Stevenson: Treasure Island (1883)
Treasure Island tells of Jim Hawkin's boyhood adventure on a quest for buried treasure. The book was inspired by a real treasure buried on Norman Island in the BVI.

Hemingway: The Old Man and the Sea (1951)
The Old Man and the Sea is the story of a battle between an old, experienced Cuban fisherman and a large marlin.

Samuel Selvon: A Brighter Sun (1952)
The story centers on a young Indian native, who is placed in an arranged marriage at age 16. Leaving home with his equally-young bride, he struggles to come to terms with his newly-acquired adult status and proving that he has, in fact, reached true manhood. The story also delves into the lives of his multi-ethnic neighbors in his new community of Barataria, the Fantastic Racism that is both subtly and openly expressed there and throughout Trinidad at large, and how the nation as a whole is affected by the war happening hundreds of miles away from the Caribbean shores.

Michael Anthony: Green Days by the River (1956)
A novel about a boy on the edge of adult responsibilities. It is the story of Shellie, a Trinidadian boy who moves to a new village and there meets two girls. He is charmed by Rosalie but he is attracted to the more cheerful and accessible Joan.

V. S. Naipaul: Miguel Street (1974)
Set during World War II and narrated by an unnamed–but precociously observant–neighborhood boy, Miguel Street is a work of mercurial mood shifts, by turns sweetly melancholy and anarchically funny. It overflows with life on every page.

Roger Mais: The Hills Were Joyful Together (1981)
This novel, set in a yard which is a microcosm of Kingston slum life, sets out as Mais himself said to give "a true picture of the real Jamaica and the dreadful condition of the working classes."

Zee Edgell Page: Beka Lamb (1982)
Set in Belize, Beka Lamb is the record of a few months in the life of Beka and her family. The politics of the small colony, the influence of the matriarchal society and the dominating presence of the Catholic Church are woven into the fabric of the story to provide a compelling portrait of ordinary life in Belize.

List of significant Caribbean writers

  • Marie-Elena John
  • Jamaica Kincaid
The Bahamas
  • Robert Antoni
  • Christian Campbell
  • Francis Woodbine Blackman
  • Kamau Brathwaite
  • Timothy Callender
  • Austin Clarke
  • Frank Collymore
  • Geoffrey Drayton
  • A. N. Forde
  • Anthony Kellman
  • George Lamming
  • Paule Marshall
  • Andrea Stuart
  • John Wickham
  • Odimumba Kwamdela (J.Ashton Brathwaite)
  • Antonio Benitez-Rojo
  • Carlos Moore (Cuban writer)
  • Nancy Morejon
  • Nicolas Guillen
  • Pedro Perez Sarduy
  • Phyllis Shand Allfrey
  • Gabriel Christian
  • Jean Rhys
Dominican Republic
  • Julio Vega Battle
  • Junot Diaz
  • Jose Cepeda Garcia
  • Julia Alvarez
  • Chiqui Vicioso
  • Blas Jimenez
  • Maryse Conde
  • Ernest Pepin
  • Gisele Pineau
  • John Agard
  • E. R. Braithwaite
  • Jan Carew
  • Martin Carter
  • Cyril Dabydeen
  • David Dabydeen
  • Fred D'Aguiar
  • O. R. Dathorne
  • Beryl Gilroy
  • Wilson Harris
  • Roy A. K. Heath
  • Ruel Johnson
  • Oonya Kempadoo
  • Peter Kempadoo
  • Mark McWatt
  • Pauline Melville
  • Edgar Mittelholzer
  • Grace Nichols
  • Sasenarine Persaud
  • A. J. Seymour
  • Jan Shinebourne
  • Eric Walrond
  • Denis Williams
  • Edwidge Danticat
  • Rene Depestre
  • Marie Vieux Chauvet
  • Dany Laferriere
  • Jacques Roumain
  • Emeric Bergeaud
  • Franketienne
  • Beaubrun Ardouin
  • Emile Nau
  • Ignace Nau
  • Lindsay Barrett
  • Edward Baugh
  • Vera Bell
  • Alvin Bennett
  • Louise Bennett-Coverly
  • James Berry
  • Lebert Bethune
  • Erna Brodber
  • George Campbell
  • H. D. Carberry
  • Colin Channer
  • Kwame Dawes
  • Jean D'Costa
  • Herbert de Lisser
  • Andrew Edwards XIV
  • Gloria Escoffery
  • John Figueroa
  • Honor Ford-Smith
  • Lorna Goodison
  • John Hearne
  • A. L. Hendriks
  • Constance Hollar
  • Nalo Hopkinson
  • Marlon James (author)
  • Archie Lindo
  • Roger Mais
  • Una Marson
  • Basil McFarlane
  • John E. C. McFarlane
  • Claude McKay
  • Anthony McNeill
  • Pamela Mordecai
  • Mervyn Morris
  • Mutabaruka
  • Rex Nettleford
  • Orlando Patterson
  • Geoffrey Philp
  • Velma Pollard
  • Patricia Powell
  • Claudia Rankine
  • V. S. Reid
  • Leone Ross
  • Namba Roy
  • Andrew Salkey
  • Dennis Scott
  • Olive Senior
  • M. G. Smith
  • Mikey Smith
  • Vivian Virtue
  • Anthony C. Winkler
  • Sylvia Wynter
  • Aime Cesaire
  • Patrick Chamoiseau
  • Frantz Fanon
  • Edouard Glissant
  • E. A. Markham
Puerto Rico
  • Giannina Braschi
  • Lola Rodriguez de Tio
  • Rosario Ferre
  • Juan Carlos Quintero Herencia
  • Eugenio Maria de Hostos
  • Luis Pales Matos
  • Aurora Levins Morales
  • Manuel Ramos Otero
  • Luis Rafael Sanchez
  • Esmeralda Santiago
  • Mayra Santos-Febres
  • Ana Lydia Vega
  • Jose Luis Vega
St Kitts and Nevis
  • Caryl Phillips
St Lucia
  • Kendel Hippolyte
  • Jane King
  • Garth St Omer
  • Derek Walcott
Saint Martin
  • Lasana M. Sekou
St Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Shake Keane
  • Clark Accord
  • Gerrit Barron
  • John H. de Bye
  • R. Dobru
  • Albert Helman
  • Cynthia McLeod
Trinidad and Tobago
  • James Christopher Aboud
  • Lyndon Baptiste
  • Michael Anthony
  • Robert Antoni
  • Kevin Baldeosingh
  • Dionne Brand
  • Lennox Brown
  • Wayne Brown
  • Vahni Capildeo
  • Wilfred Cartey
  • Faustin Charles
  • Ralph de Boissiere
  • Ramabai Espinet
  • Albert Gomes
  • Cecil Gray
  • Frank Hercules
  • Errol Hill
  • Merle Hodge
  • C. L. R. James
  • Anthony Joseph
  • Ismith Khan
  • Roi Kwabena
  • Harold "Sonny" Ladoo
  • John La Rose
  • Earl Lovelace
  • Rabindranath Maharaj
  • Ian McDonald
  • Alfred Mendes
  • Shani Mootoo
  • Shiva Naipaul
  • V. S. Naipaul
  • Lakshmi Persaud
  • Jennifer Rahim
  • Ronald Ramdin
  • Eric Roach
  • Monique Roffey
  • Lawrence Scott
  • Samuel Selvon
  • Frances-Anne Solomon
  • Eintou Pearl Springer
  • John Stewart
  • Eric Williams

Popular Caribbean Travel Guides
Lonely Planet: Caribbean Islands (Multi Country Guide)
Lonely Planet: Eastern Caribbean Islands
Frommer's: Caribbean Ports of Call

Source Note: Some information on this and on other pages is taken from Wikipedia.