You Should Add These Caribbean Writers To Your Reading List

By Kelsey Marie


Life in the Caribbean is much more than laying around on a beach, sipping coconut water. Much like anywhere else in the world, life in the Caribbean is replete with systemic issues like racism, classism and family dysfunction.

From the beginning of time, these problems have been documented by writers and put into books, essays and poems. Unfortunately, many Caribbean writers and their stories haven’t been acknowledged outside of the islands.

In an effort to bring more awareness to Caribbean writers, here are a few you should add to your reading list:

George Lamming

George Lamming, courtesy of blackhistorymonth

Hailing from Barbados, George Lamming is an author, essayist and poet. He writes about life in the Caribbean in the coming-of-age novel, The Castle of My Skin.

Lamming has written six novels which focuses on emigrating as a person from the Caribbean and sharing the Caribbean narrative from his point-of-view.

Works to read: In The Castle of My Skin, The Emigrants, Natives of My Person

V.S. Naipaul

V.S. Naipaul, courtesy of Getty Images

This Nobel Prize-winning author built his career by writing stories of his experiences growing up in Trinidad. His early works portrayed his upbringing and life in Trinidad through a comedic lens.

Naipaul went on to write both non-fiction and fictional works tacking the issues of decolonization and human existence in the Caribbean. He had written over thirty books before his death in 2018.

Works to read: A Bend In The River, The House for Ms Biswas

Jamaica Kincaid

Jamaica Kincaid, courtesy of Getty Images

Born as Elaine Cynthia Potter, this Antigua-born writer changed her name to Jamaica Kincaid after her work was first published. Her name change gave Kincaid the freedom to write about what she wanted without hesitancy.

Kincaid’s work is loosely based on her life and deals with family issues, colonialism and sexuality through the eyes of a Caribbean woman.

Works to read: Annie John, Lucy

Afua Cooper

Afua Cooper, courtesy of blackincanada

If you’re into poetry, this Jamaican-born poet should be on your list. Cooper has published five books of poetry and explores the themes of slavery and abolition.

Cooper incorporates the voices and musical rhythms of the black diaspora in her poetry.

Works to read: Memories Have Tongue

Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat, courtesy of Getty Images

This Haitian-born author started writing at the age of 9. At the age of 12, she immigrated to the U.S. which hugely impacted her views on race that she shares in her writing.

Dandicat is a huge advocate for issues facing Haitians in Haiti and abroad. Her works explore the themes of Haitian identity, mother-daughter dynamics and the cultural legacy of Haiti.

Works to read: Krik? Krak!, Claire of the Sea Light

The stories of Caribbean history, culture and experiences are being told. It is our responsibility to bring more awareness to them. These are just a few of the writers contributing to the documentation of the Caribbean experience.

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Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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