Celebrating Jamaica 50: 5 Jamaican-Canadian writers to check out

On August 6, Jamaica will celebrate its 50th anniversary of independence. CBC is celebrating with events, a special TV documentary Two Worlds, One Love, a special radio documentary and more. CBC Books wanted to get in on the celebration by highlighting five Jamaican-Canadian writers worth reading.


Nalo Hopkinson

Hopkinson is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer. The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the World Fantasy Award, the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic and the Aurora Award can all be found on her resumé. Her work is heavily influenced by Caribbean storytelling, so be sure to check out Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber, Skin Folk or The Salt Roads to see Hopkinson at her finest. In 2006, The Arts Tonight ran a series called Caribbean Tales, where Eleanor Wachtel interviewed Caribbean writers. She spoke with Nalo Hopkinson on July 13, 2006:

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Lorna Goodison

The National Post called Goodison "one of the best writers you've never read." You can fix that by checking out her poetry (I Am Becoming My Mother won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1986), short story collections (By Love Possessed came out in 2011) or her 2008 memoir, From Harvey River. In 1999, Jamaica awarded this prolific and accomplished writer the Musgrave Gold Medal for her contributions to the country's literature. On October 30, 2011, Goodison spoke about By Love Possessed on CBC's WAM:

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Olive Senior

The 2005 recipient of the Musgrave Gold Medal for contributions to Jamaican literature, Senior is one of the country's strongest literary voices. She's written three short story collections, including Summer Lightning, which won the 1986 Commonwealth Writers Prize, three poetry collections, and four works of non-fiction. All her work explores gender, ethnicity and the Caribbean identity. On March 22, 1994, Peter Gzowski talked to Olive Senior about her work on Morningside:

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Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell just might be the most influential Jamaican-Canadian writing today. The New Yorker staff writer is best known for his bestselling non-fiction books like Blink, Outliers and The Tipping Point, which explore how and why society works the way it does. Earlier this year, Eleanor Wachtel spoke with Gladwell about his Jamaican heritage on Writers & Company:

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Afua Cooper

Afua Cooper is a historian, poet and writer. She has a PhD in African-Canadian history, she's published four books of poetry, including 1994's Memories Have Tongue, which was one of the finalists for the Casa de las Americas Literary Award in 1992, and she's released two spoken word albums of her poetry. Her 2006 book, The Hanging of Angelique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction in 2006. On February 6, 2007, The Morning Edition interviewed Cooper about The Hanging of Angelique:

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