It’s a wrap – #ReadCaribbean challenge

I must say that June was definitely one of the more rewarding months I have experienced this year. Thanks to Book of Cinz, I hopped on board a project to promote Caribbean literature to the masses on the ‘gram.

And what a success it was! So many people reached out and shared their recommendations. So with that, here’s a wrap up of the Caribbean books I featured for Caribbean Heritage Month 2019.

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It's June 15 and weโ€™ve made it to the halfway mark of this monthโ€™s #ReadCaribbean challenge. If youโ€™ve been following the hashtag, you may have come across so many great books from the team of Caribbean bookstagrammers leading the fore and from everyone who decided to take up the challenge. For Day 15, Iโ€™m posting a Caribbean book that is considered postcolonial literature. Now, postcolonialism is a contentious topic. It implies that the colonizers actually left. Some argue that they never really left and that they still hold the colonies in their vise-grip via neo-colonialism in the forms of cultural influence and unfair trade relationships. In general, however, postcolonial lit tends to โ€œwrite backโ€ to the imperial center and explore the aftermath of colonization. One book that epitomizes this is The Mimic Men by VS Naipaul published in 1967. Here we find Ralph Singh, a disillusioned politician living in exile in Britain trying to write his memoir. During the process, he struggles to come to terms with his fractured identity and sense of displacement. He feels as though he belongs nowhere. He is not Caribbean enough for his island of Isabella, not Indian enough for the faraway, original homeland India, and not British enough to live in the mother country. What postcolonial Caribbean lit are you reading today?

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"Gita can't believe she's in Kolkata. All she knew of the city was that her great-great grandmother got on the ship here for Chinidad, the land of sugar. She had no records, no photographs, only the bare bones of stories her father told her." Homecoming by Suzanne Bhagan For Day 23 of this June's #ReadCaribbean challenge, I am featuring We Mark Your Memory, a collection published by both the University of London (2018) and Peekash Press (2019). In collaboration with Commonwealth Writers, this collection of new writing from across the Commonwealth explores Indian indentured heritage in the 21st century. When slavery was abolished in the 19th century in the Caribbean, the first Indian indentured laborers came to the then British colonies to plug the gap. These workers from the subcontinent entered into/were often coerced into signing contracts to work on the sugar plantations there. We Mark Your Memory features a host of authors of Caribbean heritage – ๐ŸŒŸDavid Dabydeen ๐ŸŒŸKevin Jared Hosein ๐ŸŒŸ Gabrielle Jamela Hosein ๐ŸŒŸAnita Sethi ๐ŸŒŸStella Chong Sing, ๐ŸŒŸJennifer Rahim ๐ŸŒŸ Patti-Anne Ali ๐ŸŒŸ Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming ๐ŸŒŸ Gaiutra Bahadur ๐ŸŒŸ Fawzia Muradali Kane ๐ŸŒŸArnold Thomas ๐ŸŒŸmyself My debut short story "Homecoming" explores the experiences of a young Indo-Trinidadian couple who visit India for the first time and face instant culture shock in their attempts to make a connection with their "long-lost homeland." What debut Caribbean author are you reading today?

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Suzanne Bhagan

Trinidadian writer and content creator.

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