CWC Challenge Link! Click me!Even before a dear friend of mine who runs a funny, tasty cooking blog (over at Can I Have it Like That?) recommended this challenge to me, I’d been feeling the lack of regional literature in my life. I am a Caribbean girl, despite the foreign impressions I might sometimes convey, and I love the words, and word-wielders, of my islands and my region, as surely as I can love good writing, wherever its source.

Lisa and K, who run the engaging book review blog, Baffled Books, seem to feel the same way. I couldn’t agree more with their estimation that “Caribbean writers are notoriously underrepresented even within the Caribbean, with only a small section of local bookstores dedicated to them, few on the school syllabus and the majority of the population having no clue who the supposedly prominent writers, that represent their islands, are.  In the wider world only particular literary groups take much notice and most people, again, are completely unaware that the Caribbean is a hub of literary enthusiasm.” Well said!

I’ll be aiming to complete and review 12 Caribbean books this year, putting me in the advanced category of the challenge. It is a trying task in and of itself to find authors who live and work entirely in the region, so some of the literary works I’ve selected do belong to the Caribbean diaspora collective. I do not think that this tampers with the spirit of the challenge, though – to discover and appreciate writing that is enriched by, and grounded in, a Caribbean sensibility, in regional aesthetics, languages, series of identities, landscapes and forms.

The Challenge Shortlist (in no particular order)

{I will periodically update this list, as the books are read and reviewed.}

1. (Novels) Either Anna In Between or Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez (Trinidadian-N. American)

2. (Short Fiction) Sections of an Orange by Anton Nimblett (Trinidadian-N. American)
{Read and reviewed in April ’11, here.}

3. (Novella/Short Fiction) How to Escape From A Leper Colony by Tiphanie Yanique (Virgin Islands-N.American)
{Read and reviewed in February ’11, here.}

4. (Novel) Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau (Martiniquan)

5. (Novel) Raise the Lanterns High by Lakshmi Persaud (Trinidadian-British)

6. (Novel) The Year in San Fernando by Michael Anthony (Trinidadian)

7. (Poetry) The Predicament of Or by Shani Mootoo (Trinidadian-Canadian)

8. (Novel) Jonestown by Wilson Harris (Guyanese)

9. (Novels) Any one of the following from Andrea Levy (Jamaican-British): Never Far From Nowhere, Fruit of the Lemon, or Small Island
{‘Fruit of the Lemon’ – read in late January ’11, reviewed in February ’11, here. This review was first featured on Baffled Books.}

10. (Novel) Is Just A Movie by Earl Lovelace (Trinidadian)
{Read in August ’12, reviewed in September ’12, here.}

11. (Novel) No Telephone to Heaven by Michelle Cliff (Jamaican-N.American)

12. (Poetry) Yoruba from Cuba: Selected Poems of Nicolás Guillén (bilingual edition) by Salvador Ortiz-Carboneres (translator) and Nicolás Guillén (Cuba)

Lisa and K have since shelved this challenge, but by all means, sun-kissed, coconut and bullet-dodging, biche-breaking, wine-and-revelry reading, to all.