Anomaly #28 :: Caribbean Writers

FEATURED IN THIS FOLIO:

The hurricanes of 2017 ravaged the Caribbean space with consequences that are ever spiralling outwards. Physical recovery is a daily reality in the British Virgin Islands where I live, but also in the United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Martin/St. Maarten, Anguilla, St. Barth’s, Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Turks and Caicos. Every day I drive past empty concrete husks, roofless homes, and foundations that have been stripped bare. But I also drive past construction sites, people putting their lives back together at their own speed, new small businesses seem to be flowering everywhere, the hillsides bloom green again, grey skies mean rain not terror.

Before all this, in the summer before the hurricanes, I was blessed to be a guest alongside one of my mentors, Patricia Turnbull, at the St. Martin Book Fair as part of my travels in support of my first collection of poems. Another blessing was the many friends I made while there. Not least, Ann-Margaret Lim, my co-curator of this folio, and Sybil Baker whose brainchild the folio is in the first place. The memory of the fellowship, camaraderie, and good spirit enjoyed by all that week will endure with me and it is those kinds of experiences that the Caribbean needs more of. There are very few fora dedicated to Caribbean letters, and those with global reach tend to be dominated by the already well established names of the new canon. This dynamic helps to create the perception that there aren’t as many new and important voices as there are. To address this, there needs to be a focus on creating spaces and platforms for the emerging voices of the region, especially those resident in the archipelago, to encourage and sustain the continued writing down of the lived experiences and imaginations of the Caribbean.

In this folio you will find many new and exciting voices in Caribbean letters but by no means an exhaustive or definitive collection. I am hopeful that by our curation of these works here we may light a little light of exploration for our readers and broaden the conversation about the contemporary concerns and preoccupations of Caribbean literature.

Richard Georges
April 2019

From the scary reality of deaths and burials in backyards after hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, depicted by Ana Portnoy Brimmer ’s Backyard Burial” to that still relatively new Caribbean subject of same sex attraction depicted by Ayanna Gillian Lloyd’s prose Sea Change”to even Rae Ann Smith’s apocalyptic love story, Last Minute”, authors here give hope that Caribbean writers will continue to add their voices and experiences to the literary landscape, as Ishion Hutchinson, Safiya Sinclair, Shivanee Ramlocan, Richard Georges and others are now doing.

Reading the stories and poems submitted by our Caribbean creatives, re-confirmed the ‘dizzing’ level of talent in the region. Yes, the Caribbean has a Nobel Laureate in the form of our deceased and forever loved, Sir Derek Walcott. There’s also Lorna Goodison, Kwame Dawes, Sam Selvon, and many more, but within this Anomaly folio, are works from the ‘now’ and upcoming generation of Caribbean writers, whose diverse subject matters and styles do no less than excite.

From the scary reality of deaths and burials in backyards after hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, depicted by Ana Portnoy Brimmer ’s Backyard Burial”  to that still relatively new Caribbean subject of same sex attraction depicted by Ayanna Gillian Lloyd’s prose Sea Change”to even Rae-ann Smith’s apocalyptic love story, Last Minute”, authors here give hope that Caribbean writers will continue to add their voices and experiences to the literary landscape.

I must confess, I am addicted to Latin American and Caribbean writing, which is often at once political and personal, as it is rich and satisfying, as Ana Portnoy Bimmer’s  Backyard Burial”  is. Caribbean writing is excitingly alive.  What I also like about this folio is that it presents work from Caribbean nationals in the Diaspora, as well as in their Caribbean spaces, confirming that although away from home, Caribbean ‘creatives’ replicate home, heritage and traditions through their art, thus adding to the cultural pot they live in. For us, the literary arts is a feast, like big plate of juicy mangoes. So, as you may say, ‘bon appetite’, or ‘dig in’, but as we say “Nyam to yu heart’s content.”

Ann-Margaret Lim
April 2019