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?