There are numerous books on Barbados, but by far the best for flavour and historical or cultural nuance are those by Barbadians. If you can grasp these nuances, you get a better understanding of what it means to be Bajan.
These nuances are the fine thread of our social awareness and interactions; a commentary on our social disposition. Life is, after all, social.
The recently published (August 2018)”Barbados’ Most Wanted” brings back both memories and ‘tut-tuts”. It is a non-fiction crime accounting of some of Barbados’ most sought out criminals of the 70’s and 80’s which reminds you that even our paradise island can have its vagabonds, erstwhile “lovable” rogues and silly buggers. It is written by Barbadian Criminologist Kim Ramsay.
Like many books by Barbadians it can be seen as a commentary on our social disposition.
Among the listed is a name I remember well, Mr. Winston Hall. He was a fugitive who gave the Police many a slip, spawning this Calypso song at the time: Can’t Find Me Brother! He protested his innocence, and most of us believed him, but crime and circumstances have a way of stiffening the law authorities diffidence; particularly as in Winston Hall’s case, you keep escaping from prison. Hall was so adept at this that he even had a cell built especially for him. Alas, he was eventually caught, and ‘punished’.
While Winston Hall may have been featured in our Calypso, which is a strong social commentary vehicle in our culture, Barbados’ Book Writers provide a more literary and observable historical or cultural nuance on Barbadian life.
Life in Barbados is a lyrical rhythmic motion which is guided by these nuances. So too is the language, and the local dialect.
Barbadian authors and writers are part of and attuned to this. Some have a personal bias or axe to grind which may on occasion colour their work or perspective, yet there is no gainsaying their authenticity and love of all things Bajan. They are in every way guardians of our heritage.
Here are some more of the Barbados’ Book Writers who will give you insights that are historical, cultural, and entertaining.
Barbadian Novelists Historians and Writers
Fabriciano Hoyos – writer, historian, teacher
Austin ‘Tom’ Clarke – novelist, poet, writer. (Order of Canada)
Frank Collymore – story teller, teacher
Tony Cozier – commentator (Cricket), writer
Gladstone Holder – writer/journalist, teacher
Anthony Kellman – writer
Karen Lord – writer
Sharon M. Marshall – writer
Glenville Lovell – writer
to name just a few.
Books of Barbados
Sugar In The Blood by Andrea Stuart, Historian/Writer
Night Songs; Cover Down You Bucket; The Story of Stick-Licking in Barbados; Identities, Books One and Two ( chronicles of 20th century Barbados) by Elton Elombe Mottley
In The Castle of My Skin by George Lamming
When Ground Doves Fly and Leaving Atlantis (Poetry) by Esther Phillips, Poet Laureate, Barbados
Leviticus by Kamau Brathwaite, founder of Caribbean Artists Movement, (House of Nehosi)
These are just a few. Read them and be entranced.
Of interest might be A Barbados Journey by Roger A. LaBrucherie – Peace Corps Volunteer, on Barbados, 1960’s; and you can also find some great photos in Bygone Barbados by Anne Watson Yates, published by Dr. Karl Watson
There is also a documentary on Winston Hall film trailer if you are interested, and further proof that he was truly a “loveable rogue”
and still remembered. A short YouTube video Clip of the writer of Barbados’ Most Wanted here.
Finally, especially for Bajans, a reminder: Honour Them