‘The Lonely Londoners’ – Radio 4 Book at Bedtime

‘The Lonely Londoners’ – Radio 4 Book at Bedtime

Don Warrington is definitely doing justice to Sam Selvon’s book!  Sir Galahad, Tante and the journalist, Brixton…  Yes, it was a struggle for families coming from the Caribbean, but this book is very funny and Don Warrington’s accents and voices brings out the humour.

And with a spot of Lord Kitch bookending it too.  Great!

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100-year-old photos of the Caribbean

100-year-old photos of the Caribbean

I have a bad visual memory; I am rubbish at describing activities and places from my imagination.  I’ve probably passed through thousands of train stations in my life, but I’ll have to get to bus up to London Bridge if I want to write about a station in a story.  I need the detail, the specifics.

I have an idea for a series of books set in Trinidad in the 1940s, but even walking around modern day Port of Spain would have its limitations.  That’s why the National Archives’ project to digitise their old images of the Caribbean is so – well – wonderful.  Free to explore, they’ve made accessible to writers, historians and the plain curious, hundreds of images of the colonial Caribbean – from Grenada to Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago to Turks and Caicos – they are inviting us to have a look and have a ‘say’.  An excellent resource!

China, Jamaica, Trinidad – London Caribbean Literary Salon

China, Jamaica, Trinidad – London Caribbean Literary Salon

Kerry Young, Kevin Le Gendre and Ronnie McGraith – stories that span the islands. 

Kerry is reading from ‘Gloria’, the recently-released second book in an anticipated trilogy.  The first book, ‘Pao’, is, in a sense, the story of Jamaica told through the eyes of a Chinese immigrant who sets up home – and – business in Kingston’s Chinatown.  Kerry is herself Jamaican, of Chinese and African heritage and ‘Pao’ is inspired by her father, who migrated from China to Kingston.  

It is always fascinating to come across the distance between Caribbean islands’ perceptions of themselves and how they are pictured from far away.  People in the UK still assume that ‘Afro-Caribbeans’, or now ‘African Caribbeans’ are the sole residents of the islands, when, of course, most Caribbean islands are shaped by migration (forced and as good as forced), economic churn and colonialism.  All have left their legacy.

While Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana take this multiple heritage as said, across the Atlantic, there remains considerable ignorance.  (Certainly, when I tell people my father’s name was Singh, it raises a few eyebrows…) Kerry wanted to tell tell the story of Chinese-Jamaicans – and how better to reach out then through fiction?