Literature & Stories

Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott at Calabash this weekend

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Calabash 08 will bring some of the most accomplished authors and performers from Jamaica and the wider world to its famous stage at Jakes in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, this Labour Day Weekend— Friday, May 23–25. This list includes Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, Pulitzer Prize winners Yusef Komunyakaa and Natasha Trethewey, Margaret Cezair-Thompson, Chris Abani, Jackie Kay, Gerard Donovan, Lawrence Hill, Lorna Goodison, Bob Andy and Chalice.

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Literature & Stories

Maybe its the Soca

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If the measure of a writer’s success is the ire he provokes, then V. S. Naipaul is a spectacular success in Trinidad. In this island nation of just over a million people, there is a widespread perception that he has jilted his homeland through unflattering portraits in his books and a string of cutting remarks over the years. “History is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was created in the West Indies,” Naipaul wrote in “The Middle Passage” (1962) — the first sign that he wasn’t going to play the proud native son.

A fresher wound came in 2001, when Naipaul omitted any mention of Trinidad from his initial press release after winning the Nobel Prize, which many here saw as a deliberate rebuff. And last year, during a visit sponsored by the University of the West Indies, Naipaul more than lived up to his reputation for cantankerousness, prompting disapproving press coverage after he snapped at a group of students at a Hindu girls’ high school.

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Literature & Stories

The Wayward Sister

wayward1.jpgIt was the wind that woke her, bringing a cloud of dirt and the revolting odour she now realised had come from her own putrid limbs. She had absolutely no recollection of who she had been before now. She felt nothing but the emptiness in her stomach and a sensation of having lost more than she could remember.

Years ago she had deluded herself into believing she had once been a woman of great stature, great worth; a side-effect of the struggle, a pretty veil for all that was currently visible to her…the remains of a body that biology had once doomed feminine, and a empty crack-pipe which reminded her that she now had work to do.

It is early yet. Just enough time to grab a quick wash in the gully down below. Funny, her filth never seemed to bother her clientele, themselves not much cleaner. She is optimistic afterward, the evening cool. She stretches her arms and inhales the smog, and it does not bother her, lungs already polluted by her habits. She lights a cigarette and searches for the spot she’ll claim her own tonight.

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