Dear readers:
For our sixth anniversary in May 2010, The Caribbean Review of Books has launched a new website at www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com. Antilles has now moved to www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com/antilles — please update your bookmarks and RSS feed. If you link to Antilles from your own blog or website, please update that too!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Links, links, links

- The editorial on V.S. Naipaul that the Stabroek News ran last Tuesday has provoked a long response in the paper's letters columns from a writer named Abu Bakr (not, I hasten to add, the Trinidadian leader of the Jamaat Al-Muslimeen):

The fact is we no longer approach V S Naipaul in attendance of great insight into the ways of the world. We read him now only to observe the interplay of the persona he has crafted for himself with the characters that he moves around the chess board of his books. The tics, the sneer, the snide comments, the often very funny insults, the inexplicable bitterness....

- Meanwhile, reviews of Naipaul's latest book, A Writer's People, are still trickling in from around the world. Here's Nicholas Shakespeare in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Finishing this book, which ends on a critical note about India, I was reminded of an unpublished letter Bruce Chatwin wrote in 1986 to an Indian friend.

"It's about time people realised just how wonderful India is--not in the exotic sense--but day to day realities. Watching Manvendra here coping with the drought is the kind of thing that Mr Naipaul would never 'see'."

- Caryl Phillips's new book, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be getting much attention--this review of Foreigners by Jerome Weeks in the New York Sun is only the second one I've seen.

- Geoffrey Philp draws our attention to the many Caribbean writers participating in the Miami Book Fair International, which opens tomorrow (4 November): Opal Palmer Adisa, Marina Salandy-Brown, Jane Bryce, Margaret Cezair-Thompson, Edwidge Danticat, Oonya Kempadoo, Rabindranath Maharaj, Philip Nanton, Robert Edison Sandiford, Kim Robinson-Walcott, Anthony C. Winkler, and Geoffrey himself. Check the book fair website for more information about schedules and programmes.

- And Tobias Buckell has some very nice things to say about Lisa Allen-Agostini's review of his new novel Ragamuffin in the November CRB.

Friday, 2 November 2007

In the November/December Caribbean Beat

The November/December issue of Caribbean Beat--that's Trinidadian golfer Stephen Ames on the cover--is now online. Antilles readers may be particularly interested in the book reviews and James Ferguson's article on René Maran, the Martiniquan writer whose novel Batouala won the Prix Goncourt in 1921. Your humble Antilles blogger has a piece in this issue too: a short account of my expedition to Mt Roraima earlier this year.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

In the November 2007 CRB...

The November 2007 issue of the CRB, no. 14, is now on its way to subscribers. You can see the contents page of this issue at the CRB website, and as usual selected pieces are posted online.

In this issue: reviews of new biographies of Eric Williams and Toussaint L'Ouverture, of the audio recording of Kamau Brathwaite's lecture MiddlePassages, of books of poems by Mervyn Morris and James Berry, of Tobias S. Buckell's novel Ragamuffin, of a book of essays about the Garifuna, and of the Infinite Island show at the Brooklyn Museum--plus poems by Ian McDonald and Shara McCallum, an excerpt from Ralph de Boissière's autobiography, an interview with Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, and more. If you're not subscribing to the CRB yet--what are you waiting for?

Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, interviewed by Nazma Muller in the November 2007 CRB

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

"Suriname is hard to get to"

Audrey just nods. The flight is four hours late. She knows she’s already missed her connection in Port of Spain and must spend two days in Trinidad waiting for the next flight home. Suriname is hard to get to. Worse yet, it’s hard to get back to.

The Fall 2007 Virginia Quarterly Review, a special issue on "South America in the Twenty-First Century", includes a travel essay by Daniel Titinger, "Kicking the Ball to Holland", on Suriname's unlikely role in the world of football.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Stabroek on Naipaul

Long live the Stabroek News, the only newspaper in the Caribbean that runs editorials in the form of book reviews. From today's edition, on the new Naipaul:

Naipaul ... rescued himself from the clutches of 'island "culture"' by writing his way into the tradition of the English novel--with enviable grace and humour, it must be said. He presented the pathetic lives of these small people with simple destinies so powerfully that it has often become difficult to tell where his malevolence ends and our insecurities begin. Walcott chose a different, arguably more difficult way of seeing. He teased a past out of these provincial characters, housed them in something more than ruins of a colonial past. He considered them, and the cultures that had left them behind, synoptically, illuminating one literary tradition through his mastery of another. He created a past that all of us can enter and consider, one that allows us to reinterpret ourselves, and to come to terms with our legacies rather than simply escape them. For many West Indians that is an achievement that deserves more than a snide misreading from our other Nobel laureate.

Monday, 29 October 2007

The Caribbean Writer and the Antigua and Barbuda Lit Fest

Issue number 22 of The Caribbean Writer, the annual literary journal published by the University of the Virgin Islands, has just been published. Their website hasn't been updated yet with the new issue, but an article in the St Thomas Source offers a tiny peek at the contents.

Meanwhile, up in Antigua, they're getting ready for the 2007 Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival, which opens on Friday. (Last year it was called the Caribbean International Literary Festival.) The three-day programme is headlined by Jamaican Anthony Winkler and Trinidadian Elizabeth Nunez. Sadly, your Antilles blogger won't be there to report on the festivities--any readers in Antigua want to give it a go?

Sunday, 28 October 2007

"I like the life"

In today's Sunday Express, B.C. Pires interviews Gordon Rohlehr, one of the indisputably major figures in Caribbean literary scholarship, who has just retired from UWI, St Augustine, after forty years.

... Purely by chance, I had begun working in the calypso before I got here. One highpoint would have been when I did the lecture "Sparrow and the Language of Calypso" for the Caribbean Artists Movement in 1967.

It forced one to engage with a people's music and all implied with that: the relationship between singer and group, between the music and social and political affairs. There could have been no better introduction into Trinidadian society than an interest in the calypso, what it was doing, its themes, why people reacted to certain things and not others, what made it popular [etc]. That made me amenable to Trinidad.