Monique Roffey's Discovery of Caribbean Literature

It seems Columbussing - the act of discovering what is already there, that became fashionable in the 1400s - is STILL very much a thing; and European/Caucasian people "discovering" and appropriating the cultures of the Other, whether to boost their ego or some greater gain, isn't about to die anytime soon. Most recently in American pop culture there is the twerking Miley Cyrus and the rapper Iggy Azalea, who is Australian, but happens to sound like she's from a state in the 'Dirty South'. 

Here in the Caribbean we have our fair share of similar stories. Despite having achieved independence throughout the region (for the most part), spearheading revolutions and overthrowing dictatorial regimes, we just can't be left alone to wade through our issues and develop our space without the added ingredients of judgmental first world comparisons that don't take into consideration contextual issues, and worse, the role of their influence in our shortcomings. 

Poet and thinker, Vladimir Lucien, gives his analysis of a particular single story of Caribbean Literature being peddled by Trinidad-born British writer Monique Roffey. He writes:

Monique Roffey’s recent article on the Waterstones blog created quite a stir when it was posted and shared over various social media. The article was an echo of an essay Roffey had published in Wasafiri, Vol. 28 No. 2, in June 2013, entitled ‘New Writing from the Island of Trinidad’. This contentious one however was supposedly wider in scope, entitled ‘The New Wave of Caribbean Writers.’ In both articles, Roffey seems to be attempting to inform persons about not just who is writing or worth reading, but also on the trajectory that Trinidadian and Caribbean literature has taken to bring them both to what she thinks is a particularly auspicious and mature period.  Via e mail threads, facebook threads, private messages, there has been a lot of talk going around about the article on the blog. Many persons were displeased with it for a number of reasons, many of which were absolutely justified. What it did however is raise some very important questions for everyone involved, the surface of which has been scratched in discussions at regional literary festivals and other such gatherings. I watched the article hover over all these discussions around it, almost out of reach in a way, far off in Britain though in cyberspace... 

Read the rest of Vladimir Lucien's insights at this link: