West Indian Novellist speaks out

The AE team had the pleasure of dinner with the award winning novelist and special guest of ‘Wordz’ Earl Lovelace, who is in Jamaica to launch his latest book ‘Is Just a Movie’ as well as to conduct workshops and book readings. We had dinner at a quaint restaurant ‘Guilt Trip’, known for its deliciously decadent desserts. It struck me in conversation with Lovelace, whose even tempered demeanour immediately put one at ease, that he had a very subtle but unmistakable sense of pride which was complemented by his strong identification with his Caribbean Heritage.

Lovelace, who writes in the genre of Caribbean Fiction, spoke longingly of the development of the region’s post colonial culture.  Lovelace spoke of the lost opportunities for harnessing the Caribbean Spirit. He spoke of days when the West Indies Cricket Team had been World Champions for 15 years consecutively. He believed that the spirit that thrived then, could have been preserved and used to inspire a new generation with the evolution of our Caribbean society.  He cited other examples and questioned the 'case of how Usain Bolt' was lending a new definition to Caribbean identity.

As appetizers were served, the discussion shifted to how this post colonial period of struggle defined a constraint to be overcome for writers in his generation, charged with the motivation to break down the boundaries that had been superimposed.

The main course brought with it conversations centered around how fast the world was evolving, and how technology was both making information more readily accessible yet widening the information gap, those unable to purchase iphones and/or access the internet left without the option of fully taking advantage of communication in the new age. Director of Artistic Expressions and poet Monica Minott agreed with Lovelace's statement that the Caribbean people need to rethink our position and accept where we are now, and utilize the social media tools now available to continue the struggle.  

We were also in the company of University of the West Indies’ Dr. Edwards known to peers as ‘Nadi’  whose animated way of expressing ideas brought even the simplest statements into a real time short film.  I believed Nadi completely when he said that the composition of a good story and/or storyteller had not changed since ancient civilization, especially as he used engaging references to lend character to our discussions. He said that he observed an information gap, finding that information already processed 50 years ago by scholars was perpetually subject to similar deductions and analysis over the course of time. This I thought could be a signal that the collective knowledge was not transcending generations effectively.

Maybe we need to rethink how we process information. Is it that we spend too much time processing and not enough time simply creating, appreciating, and transmitting what we are, who we are?  For dessert Lovelace simply had tea, of course I went straight for the triple chocolate delight ;) 

'Wordz' Sat Nov 12th, 7:00pm  Wyndham, Kingston, see you there...


  1. We need more Caribbean writers and less talkers


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