I’ve wanted to write this post since my partner in words, Hadlee Sobers, asked getWriters what writers most influenced their writing style. As usual, I have to start the story from when I was a wee tot, and can never just give a straight answer without the back-story.
Sweet Valley High
I have to fight off the wave of nostalgia just from looking at this book cover. I used to INHALE Jessica and Elizabeth stories. Charles Colton says that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,and I certainly proved my adoration for the troublesome twins with my first story called Jealousy Can Kill, written when I was about nine or ten years old. My protagonists were Lily, a red-haired, green eyed cheerleader, and Zachary, her blonde, blue-eyed boyfriend. I’m looking at the story now, and it really isn’t bad. Maybe I will share an excerpt in another post. 🙂
Now, every time I think about Sweet Valley High, I think about Chimimanda Adichie’s Ted Talk on the dangers of a single story. At that time I wasn’t reading children’s books with Caribbean characters, or stories that I could relate to. I don’t know if these books weren’t written or if they just weren’t available to me. I remember asking a friend what “a crumpet” was, and I desperately wanted to try treacle pie, thanks to Enid Blyton. That discussion is for another post though. Right now I want to thank Francine Pascal for sparking my interest in reading, and being my first inspiration for putting pen to paper.
PS. I just found out that Charles Colton coined that famous phrase thanks to Google.
“The fundamental cure for poverty is not money but knowledge.” Sir William Arthur Lewis, St. Lucian Nobel Laureate for Economics
Caribbean writers are facing a dilemma. The region is blessed with numerous poets and novelists whose work has thrilled readers over the years.
But if you speak to many booklovers in and outside of the Caribbean, or check out some online message boards where the topic of discussion is Caribbean literature, you’ll find people bewailing how difficult it is to find good books by Caribbean writers, whether it’s in the region itself or in the metropolitan markets.
There is also a thirst for new writers which goes unquenched – again because it’s not easy to find their books in the bookshops. What a shame, considering how difficult it is for new writers – not to mention those from the Caribbean, especially if they reside there – to…
Robert Edison Sandiford is the author of two short story collections, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall (1995) and The Tree of Youth (2005); the graphic novels Attractive Forces (1997) and Stray Moonbeams (2002); and a travel memoir, Sand for Snow: A Caribbean-Canadian Chronicle(2003). Co-founding editor of ArtsEtc: The Premier Cultural Guide to Barbados, he has worked as a journalist, book publisher, video producer (with Warm Water Productions), and teacher.
He has won awards for both his writing and editing, including Barbados’ Governor General’s Award of Excellence in Literary Arts, a Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Award and the Harold Hoyte Award.
His new novel And Sometimes They Fly will be released April 2013.
In November 2012 I featured an interview with Eve Seymour, a new Caribbean writer of Erotica. Her rambunctious tale, Broken Rules puts her firmly in line to become the foremost Caribbean writer of Erotica. (Those of you who’ve read the book, please correct me if I’m wrong!)
Now, please allow me to introduce you to the work of Robert E. Sandiford, whom I consider the foremost Caribbean writer of Erotica at this time.
Robert E. is no newcomer on the local, regional and international scenes. Journalist, essayist, biographer, short story writer, novelist, video producer and editor extraordinaire, he is one of Barbados’s top contemporary writers.
To date he’s written and had published short story collections, essays, his memoirs, and (my favourite!) a series of erotic graphic novels: Attractive Forces, Stray Moonbeams and Great Moves.
“I come from Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean. I write stories of and from the Caribbean. My first book was The Boy from Willow Bend and Oh Gad! is my most recent. You can check out my personal blogto see what else I’ve done in between and since. One of the things I do is run a writing programme in Antigua and Barbuda; there is a blog attached to that programme where, among other things, I blog on books. Surprise, right, a writer who loves to read.
With end of year upon us, I thought I might share some favourite Caribbean reads. I’m limiting my list to adult fiction that I’ve read in the last couple of years, but keep in mind that just because it’s newish to me doesn’t mean it’s new-new. And just because it’s not listed doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, but really the list has to end somewhere. So, it goes without saying that this list is both severely limited and highly subjective.