Learning more about Caribbean literature
Repositories and literary archives
Collections include the Caryl Philips Papers, Claude McKay’s Papers.
Collections at the BCA include, and are organised under, the following subjects:
Periodicals: (The Voice, New Nation, Black Voice, The Alarm: Awakening Our Nation; Flamingo); Runnymede Periodicals, The Papers of Hansib (Publications); The Papers of BASA (Association for the Study of African, Caribbean and Asian Culture and History in Britain).
The Black Women’s Movement: Olive Morris Collection; Oral Histories of the Black Women’s Movement: The Heart of the Race; The Papers of Ansel Wong; The Papers of Stella Dadzie; The Papers of Jan McKenley.
V. S. Naipaul archive, Jean Rhys archive.
Collections include the Caribbean Artists Movement; John La Rose Collection; Negro Theatre Workshop; Personal Papers of John La Rose; the International Book Fairs of Radical, Black and Third World Books.
Holdings include Caribbean Plays Collection (creator Joseph Jones), Gabriel García Márquez Collection, Gabriel García Márquez Papers, Julia Alvarez Papers, Samuel Selvon Papers, Wilson Harris Collection.
Collections include the Huntley Archives (archive of Eric and Jessica Huntley, founders of Bogle-L’Ouverture) and Jessica Huntley Archives (personal correspondence, the 2014 Huntley Conference and records regarding her role and contributions to archives).
Dionne Brand fonds
C. L. R. James mss., ca. 1942-1974
Includes Austin Clarke’s fonds, Louise Bennett Coverley fonds
Literary manuscripts in the National Library: Miss Lou Archives (Louise Bennett); Una Marson Collection; Walter Roberts Archives; Antony C. Winkler Archives.
Holdings of literary manuscripts: A.J. Seymour; N.E. Cameron
The West Indies Collection, Sydney Martin Library, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados
Manuscripts in the Special Collections: Richard B. Moore Collection; George Lamming Collection; The Olga Lopes Seale Archive.
The Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library is home to J. Edward Chamberlain Papers, Lorna Goodison Papers, Trinidad Theatre Workshop Papers and Derek Walcott Papers.
Some of the collections at the Schomburg Center include the Arthur Alfonso Schomburg Papers, Alexis De Veaux/Audre Lorde Research Collection, Claude McKay Collection, Claude McKay Letters and Manuscripts, C.L.R. James Collection, C.L.R. James Letters, Eulalie Spence Papers, Marika Sherwood/Claudia Jones Research Material, Michael Anthony Papers, Letters, J.R. Casimer Papers, Piri Thomas Papers, Richard B. Moore Papers, The Claudia Jones Memorial Collection and Thomas Glave Papers (*closed until processed).
West Indiana and Special Collections, Alma Jordan Library, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad
Literary manuscripts in the Special Collections: C.L.R. James Collection; Caribbean Voices Correspondence (copies acquired through the assistance of Professor Ken Ramchand, originals held at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham); Derek Walcott Collection; Earl Lovelace Manuscripts; Eric Roach Manuscripts; Irma Goldstraw Collection; Michael Anthony Papers; Monique Roffey Papers; Roger Mais Collection; Sam Selvon Collection; UWI Extra Mural Play Scripts.
Literary manuscripts in this collection: Michael Anthony; Erna Brodber; Wilson Harris Collection; John Hearne Papers; Roger Mais Papers; Orlando Patterson; Victor Stafford Reid Collection; Anthony “Tony” McNeil Papers; Derek Walcott.
The material available through the archive includes “recordings of drama productions and dance performances in Trinidad & Tobago in 1979-1982 period and beyond. Including plays of Derek Walcott and the Trinidad Theatre Workshop” as well as interviews with a number of Caribbean authors (source: Banyan Archives website). There are 14,000 records registered in their database.
Digital collections, libraries, and archives
An open access digital library offering resources from and about the Caribbean, across a variety of fields from literary and cultural studies to geography, history, politics and anthropology. The library is the product of a wide and collaborative network of partners and collaborators.
It offers a wide range of digital material: from live stream events and video archive, podcasts of events, oral histories, online exhibitions, library digital collections , images and illustrations.
From the CMP’s website: “The CMP functions as a public repository for texts—family archives, collections, found/discarded materials, and public databases—that begins to illustrate the range of documentary activity produced by (and about) Caribbean people and their descendants. Participants and the general public have direct and open access to this heritage database that may be used for reflection, education, and research into the social histories of indigenous, native, and naturalized communities by local, regional, and transnational parties.”
The founders of The Caribbean Memory Project are Kevin Adonis Browne, PhD and Dawn Cumberbatch.
From their website: “The Caribbean studies collections at the Institute of Historical Research, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Senate House libraries are some of the largest and most varied in the UK. They are transdisciplinary in scope, covering anthropology, archaeology, history, law, literature, social policy, sociology and political theory. // This guide was created by Dr Adom Philogene Heron on behalf of the Centre for Integrated Caribbean Research and The Institute of Latin American Studies. ” The Caribbean Studies Collection includes the C.L.R James Papers.
The guide was created by Dr Adom Philogene Heron on behalf of the Centre for Integrated Caribbean Research and The Institute of Latin American Studies.
From website: “The Early Caribbean Digital Archive is an open access collection of pre-twentieth-century Caribbean texts, maps, and images. Texts include travel narratives, novels, poetry, natural histories, and diaries that have not been brought together before as a single collection focused on the Caribbean.”
Professor Nicole Aljoe and Professor Elizabeth Maddock Dillon are the co-directors of The Early Caribbean Digital Archive.
“This collaborative open access project aims to collect and make works by and on Martinican author Édouard Glissant (1928-2011) accessible to the public.” (The Library of Glissant Studies website)
Co-director and web designer: Jeanne Jégousso, co-director and archivist: Raphaël Lauro
A series of digitised VHS videos available open access via The University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections. The videos offer readings and presentations by Caribbean writers and academics who participated in the Caribbean Writers Summer Institute at the University of Miami. “In 2002 the University of Miami Libraries, in collaboration with the Department of English, converted the tapes to web-based streaming media so that a wider audience might have the opportunity to enjoy the literary variety and cultural richness expressed in the writings of the participants.”
A Bibliographic resource of Caribbean science fiction and fantasy across literary genres, written by authors from the Caribbean. You can sign to their newsletter for updates on publications.
This bibliography, compiled by Antiguan author and editor Joanne C. Hillhouse who started it in 2005 for the Independence literary arts exhibition at the national Museum, and has continued the work since. The bibliography includes “books by Antiguan and Barbudan writers, both born and ‘adopted’, as well books by Antiguan descendents born elsewhere” (from website).
This site offers three downloadable bibliographies compiled by Trinidadian writer George Parffit
From author’s website: “The BIBLIOGRAPHIES of West Indian Fiction and West Indian Poetry have been compiled over several years and are offered as free downloads. Details have been compiled from books in the author’s own collection, library catalogues and from on-line sources.”
“Bibliography of St. Lucian Creative Writing: poetry, prose, drama by St. Lucian writers 1948-2013.” Compiled and edited by John Robert Lee. Castries: Mahanaim Publishing & Cultural Development Foundation, 2013. 212 pgs. Illustrated. (Available online as an Ebook from Author House).
Discovering Caribbean Literature in English: Selected Bibliography, by John R. Lee (via Wadadli Pen)
This bibliography has been compiled and updated by Saint Lucian writer and librarian John Robert Lee, and provides a breadth of selected texts by writers across the anglophone Caribbean region and the diaspora, including some texts in English by authors originally from other linguistic areas, such as Edwidge Danticat and Simone Schwarz-Bart.
Ed. by John Robert Lee, and published by Papillote Press, 2019.
“This superb author index of poetry, prose and drama explores the writing landscape of Saint Lucia. Everyone — from the internationally acclaimed Derek Walcott to self-published unknowns — are there. But this bibliography is not just about literature, it also features the social, political and cultural dimensions of Saint Lucia, from scholarly essays to the ephemera of funeral pamphlets and recipe books. It turns a list into the life of a nation.”
This extensive and comprehensive bibliography of works by Caryl Phillips and publications on his writing, compiled by scholar Dr. Bénédicte Ledent, offers a unique insight and valuable resource for scholars of Phillips’ work, and Caribbean and Black British literature, film and theatre.
The Bibliography prepared by Kelly Baker Josephs and Teanu Reid is “a reworking and expansion of the “Kamau Brathwaite SX Bibliography” begun as a collective effort at the Caribbean Digital Researchathon in December 2014.It represents a snapshot of the bibliography’s progress up to the end of February 2018. The full collection exists as a living library on Zotero, and members may continue to add to and update it. Nonmembers may view and search the library; they may also use the tag function to reorganize entries according to various criteria (specific works, years, language, etc.)” SX Salon
- Bogle-L’Ouverture, Eric and Jessica Huntley, founders
- BM, Bookman Express, Dutty Bookman, founder & managing editor
- Blue Banyan Books, Tanya Batson-Savage, Editor in Chief
- House of Nehesi, Lasana M. Sekou, founder and projects director
- Mahanaim Publishing, John Robert Lee, founder and managing editor (For further enquiries contact J. R. Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- New Beacon Books, John La Rose and Sarah White, founders; Janice Durham and Michael La Rose, directors
- Papillote Press, Polly Pattullo and Anne Jno Baptiste, founders
- Peekash Press, Bocas Lit Fest
- Peepal Tree Press, Jeremy Poynting, founder & managing editor; Hannah Bannister, operations manager
- Potbake Productions, Lyndon Baptiste, founder and director
- The University of the West Indies Press, Joseph B. Powell, director
Book fairs and literary festivals
- Alliougana Festival of the Word, Montserrat
- Anguilla Lit Fest
- Antigua and Barbuda Literary Festival
- BIM Lit Fest, Barbados
- Blue Flamingo Literary Festival, The Bahamas
- Brooklyn Book Festival
- Calabash International Literary Festival, Jamaica
- Caribbean Cultural Theatre Celebration of the Word, New York
- Congress of Caribbean Writers, Dominica
- Gimistory, International Storytelling Festival, Cayman Islands
- Feria Internacional del Libro, La Habana, Cuba
- Feria Internacional del Libro Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- Festival de la Palabra, Puerto Rico
- Festival Literario de la Montaña, Puerto Rico
- Jamaica Poetry Festival
- Kingston Book Festival, Jamaica
- Little Haiti Book Festival, Miami Book Fair
- NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago
- Miami Book Fair (ReadCaribbean)
- Nature Island Literary Festival, Dominica
- The Annual St Martin Book Fair
- Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta, Jamaica
- USVI Literary Festival and Book Fair, Virgin Islands
- Word Alive Literary Festival, St. Lucia
Source: You can read more about literary festivals in the Caribbean in this article by Joanne C. Hillhouse, on Wadadlipen
Journals and magazines
- Anansesem: news, ideas, arts and letters from the world of Caribbean children’s publishing, Summer Edward (Editor-in-Chief)
- Anthurium (University of Miami)
- Arc Magazine
- Calabash: A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters
- Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters
- Caribbean Beat
- Caribbean InTransit
- Caribbean Quarterly
- Interviewing the Caribbean
- Journal of West Indian Literature
- MaComère Journal
- Moko Magazine, Caribbean Arts and Letters
- POUi: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing
- Pree Lit Caribbean Writing
- Small Axe: A Caribbean Platform for Criticism
- SX Salon: A Small Axe Literary Platform
- The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books
- The Caribbean Review of Books
- The Caribbean Writer
Interdisciplinary and literary blogs
- M. NourbeSe Philip’s Yet Being Imperfect
- Nicholas Laughlin’s website
- Notes from a Small Rock, Ingrid Persaud
- Novel Niche, Shivanee Ramlochan
- Raymond Antrobus’ blog
- Repeating Islands Blog
- Peepal Tree Blog
- Southern World Arts News, Alecia McKenzie, editor & DJ Cle, associate editor
- The Scribbles of Leone Ross, L. Ross’ blog
- Under the Saltire Flag, Kei Miller
- Wadadli Pen, Joanne C. Hillhouse
Founded by Schuyler K. Esprit, Create Caribbean Inc. facilitates digital practice and scholarship whilst developing interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary projects. Its mission is to make knowledge available to all people and to “preserve and disseminate Caribbean heritage and culture (…) Create Caribbean Inc. aims to develop the creative capacity of youth in Dominica and the Eastern Caribbean through a focus on education and research in the arts, humanities and social sciences.” (from Create Caribbean)
A project formed by Puerto Rican scholars and artists based in Puerto Rico and the United States that digitises, archives, and makes available, through an open access site, Puerto Rican literature for the public. It holds “a bilingual digital database of approximately 50,000 digital assets (photographs, manuscripts, poems, videos, and other archival materials), a digital archive, and additional resources that document the material existence and experiences of key Puerto Rican writers in the archipelago and the diaspora.” (from project’s website). The project has been funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
An annual conference gathering scholars, artists and archivists exploring critical Caribbean digital scholarship and arts, initiated in 2014 and held in the Caribbean, and the US. Its team is formed by Alex Gil, Kaiama L. Glover, and Kelly Baker Josephs. Many digital projects have emerged from the conference including a research-a-thon that led to the collective bibliography of Kamau Brathwaite; a collective translation of Aimé Césaire’s Notes of a Return to My Birthplace by Alex Gil and Kaiama Glover; a project on keywords for Caribbean Studies, and a directory of Caribbean digital scholarship.
As stated in the project’s website: “In the Same Boats is a work of multimodal scholarship designed to encourage the collaborative production of humanistic knowledge within scholarly communities. The platform comprises two interactive visualizations that trace the movements of significant cultural actors from the Caribbean and wider Americas, Africa, and Europe within the 20th century Afro-Atlantic world.” The project is led by Alex Gil and Kaiama L. Glover. Contributors include Marina Bilbija, Kelly Baker Josephs, Clara Pomi, Alex Gil, Kora Verón Leblé, Soyara Limare, Kaiama L. Glover, Roopika Risam, Joanna Dee Das, Laurent Dubois, Amanda Perry, Tao Goffe, Amanda Perry, Raphael Dalleo, Annette Joseph Gabriel. Designers: Buck Wanner, Emily Fuhrman, Alyssa Van, Dean Irvine, Bill Kennedy.