PROFILES & BOOKS
Alphonso P Charles
L. Earle Johnson
Peter K.B St.Jean
A Word of Exhortation
From Alick Lazare
In the beginning, there was only Skakespeare and Dickens and Rudyard Kipling and the host of English writers that formed our literary world. Then came Roger Mais and John Hearne and Edgar Mittleholzer, struggling to find an identity between the alien worlds of Europe and America and their own straight-laced and stultified societies, an identity on which to lay the foundation stones of a Caribbean literature. We have come a long way since then as Caribbean literature has grown in richness and diversity with the coming of Derek Walcott, Vidia Naipaul, Jamaica Kincaid and generations of new writers that exploded upon the world with colour and energy and the vibrant music of Caribbean expression.
Caribbean writers today have a body of literature with which they can easily identify. Their struggles, then, are not with identity, but with relevance. And this should be the watchword for the new generation of writers. Our society is a rich and fertile ground for a new kind of revolution in our concepts of social equity and political maturity as we are drawn more and more within the boundaries of the global village. Our young writers have the enviable challenge to lead the revolution from within, to shape and even preserve the Caribbean character in this new environment that threatens economic absorption and cultural annihilation.
We have to address ourselves to this task by employing the richness of expression that abounds in our societies in a disciplined and effective way. It requires us to live in the fourth dimension of our own world, to critically appraise ourselves and our Caribbean society and to focus our minds on the values and qualities that we want to preserve.
The old battles are over. We should put aside the bogeys of the past and address the relevance of the future. It is a task well fitting the new generation of writers.