Sunday, March 25, 2018

Oasis Writing Link™: Airing Dirty Laundry

Oasis Writing Link™: Airing Dirty Laundry:

A popular post about those TMI moments that actually are an invitation for human connection. If you consider Jamaica Kincaid's Lucy or even Annie John (and My Brother), you would recognize that she provides so many of these invitations.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Jamaica Kincaid

“Sometimes extraordinary things happen to people from shitty countries, not just Norway.” Jamaica Kincaid

Jamaica Kincaid answers back to in the most powerful way, "I'm a person from a shitty country" in the Florida  Key West Conference. (Florida Key News linked article)

Monday, February 8, 2016


“Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid from Charters, Ann, Ed. The Story and its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction. 6th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.

New Yorker credit

Wash the white clothes on Monday and put them on the stone heap; wash the color clothes on Tuesday and put them on the clothesline to dry; don’t walk bare-head in the hot sun; cook pumpkin fritters in very hot sweet oil; soak your little cloths right after you take them off; when buying cotton to make yourself a nice blouse, be sure that it doesn’t have gum in it, because that way it won’t hold up well after a wash; soak salt fish overnight before you cook it; is it true that you sing benna in Sunday school?; always eat your food in such a way that it won’t turn someone else’s stomach; on Sundays try to walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming; don’t sing benna in Sunday school; you mustn’t speak to wharf-rat boys, not even to give directions; don’t eat fruits on the street—flies will follow you; but I don’t sing benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday school;this is how to sew on a button; this is how to make a buttonhole for the button you have just sewed on; this is how to hem a dress when you see the hem coming down and so to prevent yourself from looking like the slut I know you are so bent on becoming; this is how you iron your father’s khaki shirt so that it doesn’t have a crease; this is how you iron your father’s khaki pants so that they don’t have a crease; this is how you grow okra—far from the house, because okra tree harbors red ants; when you are growing dasheen, make sure it gets plenty of water or else it makes your throat itch when you are eating it; this is how you sweep a corner; this is how you sweep a whole house; this is how you sweep a yard; this is how you smile to someone you don’t like too much; this is how you smile to someone you don’t like at all; this is how you smile to someone you like completely; this is how you set a table for tea; this is how you set a table for dinner; this is how you set a table for dinner with an important guest; this is how you set a table for lunch; this is how you set a table for breakfast; this is how to behave in the presence of men who don’t know you very well, and this way they won’t recognize immediately the slut I have warned you against becoming; be sure to wash every day, even if it is with your own spit; don’t squat down to play marbles—you are not a boy, you know; don’t pick people’s flowers—you might catch something; don’t throw stones at blackbirds, because it might not be a blackbird at all; this is how to make a bread pudding; this is how to make doukona; this is how to make pepper pot; this is how to make a good medicine for a cold; this is how to make a good medicine to throw away a child before it even becomes a child; this is how to catch a fish; this is how to throw back a fish you don’t like, and that way something bad won’t fall on you; this is how to bully a man; this is how a man bullies you; this is how to love a man, and if this doesn’t work there are other ways, and if they don’t work don’t feel too bad about giving up; this is how to spit up in the air if you feel like it, and this is how to move quick so that it doesn’t fall on you; this is how to make ends meet; always squeeze bread to make sure it’s fresh; but what if the baker won’t let me feel the bread?; you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won’t let near the bread? 


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kincaid at Harvard 2014

"Many of you might be shocked to hear that the celebrated novelist Jamaica Kincaid is teaching a class here this year, African American Literature from the Beginnings to the Harlem Renaissance. You might be familiar with her more famous works, namely Annie John and Lucy. Be sure to check out her latest novel, See Now Then, and maybe have a chat with her during office hours." (Harvard Crimson)

I'd love to have the opportunity to chat with Jamaica Kincaid during her office hours. I have so many inappropriate questions. I guess I would need to prepare so I would not offend. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Interview with Jamaica Kincaid

After the publication of Jamaica Kincaid's See Now Then, questions continued to develop about the autobiographical nature of her fiction writing.

 See the NPR interview here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jamaica Kincaid, News, and Autobiographical Connection

SARATOGA SPRINGS >> Jamaica Kincaid will present “The Writer in Her World,” the annual Frances Steloff Lecture/Reading at Skidmore College, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, in Gannett Auditorium, Palamountain Hall.

Admission is free and open to the public. She will receive an honorary doctorate of letters from Skidmore President Phillip Glotzbach. Following her presentation she will respond to audience questions and participate in a book signing.
Author of a wide range of books, including novels, memoirs and polemical works, Kincaid is perhaps best known for “Annie John,” “Lucy,” “At The Bottom of the River,” “Autobiography of My Mother,” “Mr. Potter” and “A Small Place.”

Her most recent book, “See Now Then,” has stirred considerable controversy, turning as it does on a disastrous marital break-up, which is said to resemble very closely the demise of Kincaid’s own long-time marriage to the son of New Yorker editor William Shawn.

Kincaid is a professor at Harvard University and a long-time visiting writer each July at Skidmore’s New York State Summer Writers Institute.

Jamaica Kincaid at Skidmore

"Jamaica Kincaid will present “The Writer in Her World,” the annual Frances Steloff Lecture/Reading at Skidmore College Thursday, Oct. 2,  at 8 p.m. in Gannett Auditorium, Palamountain Hall.  Admission is free and open to the public.
She will receive an honorary doctorate of letters from Skidmore President Phillip Glotzbach. Following her presentation she will respond to audience questions and participate in a book signing."

News: Harvard LITfest and Jamaica Kincaid

I have this view of writing as something I’d die for,” Kincaid, an African and African American studies professor in residence, said during a panel Tuesday helping to kick off the three-day Harvard LitFest. “I want to write in the way prophets want to do something. I never knew people could become rich writing, but I wanted to write and I just did it." ~Jamaica Kincaid

Friday, September 19, 2014

Kincaid Connections

"Earlier this year, I finally met Jamaica Kincaid, my all-time favorite writer from Antigua, when New York Arts’ hosted “The Year of James Baldwin” a 15-month celebration of the author’s essays, plays, and activism. After her panel discussion, I ran up to Ms. Kincaid, hugged her and asked her why she never responded to an email that I sent her years ago detailing the similarities of her life to my mother’s and my strong ambivalence of being at once Antiguan and American, and quite frankly, not feeling like either most of the time. One of the fast friends that I made at the event snapped a pic of Ms. Kincaid and me and emailed it to me. It would be a few days before I opened it up and become deeply saddened by Ms. Kincaid ‘s resemblance to my aunt, who, like my mom, had done her time in America as a nurse and had returned to Antigua to go “rest sheself.” Mama Kincaid’s beautiful brown skin had no cracks, but did exhibit visible folds and creases. I worried. I worried about what would become of Caribbean literature when Kincaid put her pen down for good. I mean, who would write about hating their mothers, colonization, white supremacy, isolation, the wretched effects of unattended loneliness, and human suffering in such a hypnotic and uncomfortable way that overwhelms, comforts, and transforms?"

~ Tonya Garcia

 - See more at:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Kincaid Inspires Reflection

How is Jamaica Kincaid relevant? Consider this Comment by By Terrence J. Roberts, Ph.D.

I attended a lecture last year by noted author Jamaica Kincaid. During the question-and-answer period following the lecture, a young white male raised his hand. “What can I do to help?” Ms. Kincaid looked at him, not without compassion, and was silent for many seconds. “Young man, there is nothing you can do to help.”
There was a collective, almost imperceptible, holding of breath as we audience members braced ourselves for what might follow. “Because,” she said, “what I want is for none of this ever to have happened.” We breathed again, not so much in relief but in resigned acceptance of a shared reality that seemed totally immune to any of our attempts to change it.
Link to full article:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Should a Movie be Made of Kincaid's Novel "Lucy" ?


Can a novel ever be made into an excellent film?

Most literary works suffer when being represented as screen plays. The characters change, the plot changes and sometimes even the conclusion is different.

Still discovering that Kincaid's novel, Lucy is being made into a film is exciting.

I can hear the au par Lucy speaking from the pages of Kincaid's novel,

 "Let's just say I work here until Hollywood discovers me." It would be great to say -


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Good Reads Review

Reviewer Matt Lived in the Shirley Jackson house as found in the Jamaica Kincaid's,  See Now Then

"So I read "See Then Now" yesterday afternoon. I read it because I enjoy Jamaica's voice. I also read it because it the vast majority of the book takes place in the house I grew up in, the Shirley Jackson house. Jamaica's house was across the street.

I can see how the appearance of folks from the neighborhood might cause some anxiety to those referenced, but there was nothing that struck me as particularly fanciful. Jamaica is a self-centered person and always has been. I think she's aware of this fact and I've always thought this facet of her personality made her more interesting. Jamaica is a storyteller and I appreciate storytellers far more than reporters. This book is obviously her take on things rather than an attempt to depict things as they actually are/were, but I can see things as they were through her eyes. We all see the past modified by time. Recent studies have shown that each time we remember a past event we are in fact remembering the last remembrance of that event rather than the event itself. Our self image as a product of our memory is nothing more than an ongoing game of telephone we play with ourselves. This is the reason that the courts no longer give weight to eye-witness accounts during criminal proceedings. This is why it's irrelevant whether or not this book is a novel or a memoir.

The book was probably not fair to her ex-husband (and children). I guess I think that's okay. We should all probably be nicer to others, particularly our own families. In my future memoir of my hometown I'll probably be kinder to everyone. If Jamaica had done so it would seem false, particularly given the temporal proximity to her divorce and the abandonment/maturing by her babies. I do think it was fair to the village, a place where the volunteer fire department does spend more time washing their trucks than fighting fires and people are occasionally buried in their hunting clothes. Not that that's all there is to the place, but it is part of it."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Interview with Jamaica Kincaid

Does Truth Have a Tone?

Lauren K. Alleyne interviews Jamaica Kincaid
June 17, 2013

"For this interview, Kincaid spoke with me early one morning via Skype (once she’d awakened her son to help her figure out “how it worked”). We only used the audio feature, as she assured me I was missing nothing but the rumpled sight of her drinking coffee in bed. When she learned I was from Trinidad, she confessed to having made up, as a child, a cousin from Trinidad named Jillian—a way to keep up with her friends, who all seemed to have tons of relatives. I offered her use of my cousin of the same name, and so we began our conversation about fiction, non-fiction, history, and what it means to tell the truth."

– Lauren K. Alleyne for Guernica

Follow the link to read the interview:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Jamaica Kincaid, 2010. (Elisabetta A. Villa/Getty Images)

Book Review 



"See Now Then is about the failing marriage between a writer and a composer living in a small New England village. The writer, Mrs. Sweet, is black and from the Caribbean, and her husband, Mr. Sweet, is white and comes from a princely faction of New York “entitled to doormen, no matter what.” The book’s premise appears to be borrowed from Kincaid’s own life: In 2002, her 20-year marriage to the composer Allen Shawn ended in divorce. Kincaid continues to live in the Bennington home they shared."


"Kincaid, however, is offended by the notion that her fiction is autobiographical. “It’s belittling to think that what I’ve done hinges so much on my own life. It’s as if the reality of what I’ve written is hard to take in so that people must ask about my life rather than what I’ve written,” Kincaid said. “The purpose of the novel wasn’t to talk about the intimate details of my life. The biggest character in the book is the thing we call time: What connects you to tomorrow."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Don't Read (only) as Autobiography: A Cautionary Review

Review gives Kincaid's book a B-

  " shouldn’t be read as purely autobiographical"

 by Kevin McFarland March 18, 2013 


"See Now Then, Jamaica Kincaid’s first novel since 2002’s Mr. Potter, shouldn’t be read as purely autobiographical. The facts do line up well: Kincaid’s former husband, Allen Shawn (Wallace Shawn’s brother) is a composer; they had two children together, a boy and a girl; they lived in Bennington, Vermont. The novel depicts a crumbling marriage between Mr. and Mrs. Sweet, a composer and a writer, respectively, who live with their son and a daughter in a small New England town. But it isn’t a book about another American divorce. See Now Then elevates marriage difficulty to the level of myth and archetype, to represent a fundamental part of the American story. Unfortunately, Kincaid focuses so much on the style of the lyric novel that it hinders the potential emotional impact."

Here we are allowed to read it autobiographically but not as "pure" autobiography!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Jamaica Kincaid Answers 10 Questions on YouTube

Jamaica Kincaid: 'I hope the reader won't look for clues to my life in the's about something deeper.'

Time Interview (Time Video)

January 28, 2013.
Belinda Luscombe

Monday, February 25, 2013

Reviewer of Jamaica Kincaid's "See Now Then" Notes External Details Match Up

Time flies, cleverly, in 'See Now Then'

February 24, 2013

Reviewed by Susan Balée (follow link)

"See here, readers: See Now Then, the new novel by Jamaica Kincaid, traces the interior history of a (ticked off) black woman whose heart has been broken by her (once beloved) husband. And although she says otherwise in interviews, it sure looks like Kincaid is the woman and her erstwhile ex-, Allen Shawn (son of famous editor William, brother of actor Wallace), is the heartbreaker.
 All the external details match up: Shawn and Kincaid's life in Bennington, Vt., where he taught musical composition and she composed prose in their house, possibly the house where the horror writer Shirley Jackson once lived, but certainly a haunted place; their daughter and son; his neuroses (Shawn has written a book about anxiety) and short stature, her middle-aged largesse and love of gardening; his ultimately leaving her for a younger woman. Although the main characters in this book are called Mr. and Mrs. Sweet, the Mrs. quotes from her writings and they are recognizably works by Jamaica Kincaid."

Friday, February 22, 2013

It's Not About Me! Interview with JAMAICA KINCAID

 Printers Row Journal Interview Kevin Nance


(click to read the complete version of the Printers Row Journal interview with Jamaica Kincaid published in the Chicago Tribune)

Author Jamaica Kincaid poses for a portrait in the backyard of her home in Claremont, Calif. on Friday, February 1, 2013. (Patrick T. Fallon, Chicago Tribune)

Q: And so the story of the family, including the decaying marriage at the center of it, is really subordinate to your thoughts about time.

A: Yes. You might be the first interviewer who hasn't started out by saying, "You were married to a composer, you have two children, you live in Vermont, so this must be about you." It's not about me. If I were going to write a book about me, believe me, I would say so.

Reviewer Asserts Sweets are Fictional Stand"-ins

Chicago Tribune Lifestyles Review:

'See Now Then': Jamaica Kincaid's new symphony

In 'See Now Then,' a once-lyrical marriage disintegrates, leaving nothing but cacophony

February 01, 2013|By Alan Cheuse

"The Sweets, fictional stand-ins for Kincaid and her former husband, live in the (real-life) village of North Bennington, Vt., in a house formerly owned by (real-life) eccentric novelist Shirley Jackson and her (real-life) husband, the brilliant literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman. Mr. Sweet is a modernist composer, and Mrs. Sweet, born in the Caribbean, is a housewife, mother and lay philosopher when it comes to the large questions of time and language."

Review Again See Now Then

"Writers make uncomfortable kin." Jamaica Kincaid

 No doubt! Jamaica Kincaid draws attention to that issue in her new novel SEE NOW THEN. Check out the following review where the author's life is directly referred to when reviewing her fictional novel.

Photo by Ann Summa for The New York Times

February 22, 2013

Home Truths

"Yet Kincaid, it seems, can never breathe easy. “See Now Then,” her first novel in 10 years, examines the hidden fault lines of a happy family that might be seen as an allegorical version of her own. Composed in incantatory prose, a “Mrs. Dalloway”-like loop of multiple viewpoints, including passages quoted or imagined from Kincaid’s other books, the novel examines — in strains hurtling from satire to fairy-tale innocence to raw pain — the faulty nature of perception."

Friday, February 15, 2013

Interactive Autobiography (TM) and Jamaica Kincaid: STUDIO 360 INTERVIEW


Studio 360


by Kurt Andersen

Jamaica Kincaid on The New Yorker and Lil’ Kim

"Kincaid’s work (Annie John, Lucy, Autobiography of My Mother) has often dealt with her Caribbean upbringing, but her new novel, See Now Then, is set in North Bennington, Vermont, the town where Kincaid has lived for many years. It’s the story of Mrs. Sweet, a mother with two grown children in a marriage that’s gone very sour.
Many particulars of the book — the town, the gardening, the Caribbean upbringing, the unsuccessful composer, the dissolving marriage — resemble Kincaid’s real life, but she insists See Now Then is not autobiographical. “I wasn’t thinking of myself, I was thinking of all sorts of larger things,” she tells Kurt Andersen. Kurt was struck by how the book’s prose is both “poetic, fragrant, and a little other-worldly but also ruthlessly and shockingly unsentimental at times.” Kincaid explains that “it’s possible it’s influenced by where I spent my forming years which is incredibly beautiful, but in which some rather brutal things happened in the world after 1492.”


Thursday, February 14, 2013

SEE NOW THEN More Reviews

More Reviews IN THE




By Elysa Gardner, USA TODAY
Published: February 13, 2013

Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘See Now Then’ is one quirky read

"Like Kincaid's ex-husband, Allen Shawn, Mr. Sweet is a composer. They live in a small New England town, as Shawn and Kincaid did, and have a son and daughter, as the former couple do. But Kincaid's first book in nearly a decade is not a barely fictionalized memoir, or so the author has insisted. As she recently told a reporter, her real children are not, like the Sweet kids, named Heracles and Persephone, and 'my daughter doesn't disappear underground every six months and emerge in the spring.'

Such coyness is pervasive in See Now Then — though so is bawdy humor and unabashed rage and sorrow. There are passages that are almost unbearably self-pitying, with Kincaid — um, that is, Mrs. Sweet — lamenting her husband's disdain for her Caribbean heritage and no-longer-youthful figure. We learn, too, of the 'turbulence and upheaval' she has endured from childhood on: 'I seemed unable to do anything that pleased anyone and that included me,' she writes toward the end."



The Marriage Has Ended; Revenge Begins

"When Dorothy Parker drank too much, Gore Vidal once reported, she sometimes suffered from what she ruefully called “the frankies”: the inclination to tell people, as if for their own good, what she really thought of them.

There’s something about the men of the Shawn family — William, the longtime editor of The New Yorker, who died in 1992, and now his son, Allen, a composer — that seems to give women the frankies while sober. 

In 1998 Lillian Ross published “Here but Not Here,” a memoir of her 40-year affair with the married William Shawn. She outed this famously private man, while his wife was still living, as an enthusiast for pornography who “longed for the earthiest and wildest kinds of sexual adventures,” among many other things."


Polly Rosenwaike
One can't help thinking that Kincaid's easily Googleable ex-husband will not be pleased by the arrival of "See Now Then." How should the rest of us feel? Exhilarated, grateful - and relieved, perhaps, that Kincaid can't see inside our own heads."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

See Now Then

Recent Review



 How does Jamaica Kincaid's veiled self-reference influence the reading of her new book, "See Now Then"?

All of this is relevant because Kincaid, the author of more than a dozen books, is a public literary figure. And seen through the lens of some basic but widely known facts of her life, reading "See Now Then" becomes quite a different experience.        

"by the time I reached that last passage, the domestic complications of See Now Then began to lose their entirely magical and allegorical qualities and feel more like the nastiness of a real marriage." His sense of the similarity between the author's life and the artistic work, causes him to conduct some research about her personal life. In his reading, knowing that the family composition and marital disagreement are close or shared with the author interrupts his ability to read the work as art (literary prose) alone. 

In fact he recommends readers who do not know about her life to avoid the details and warns them to stop reading his review because, "you would enjoy it more." The parallels that he points out between the character Mrs. Sweet and the author Kincaid are that she gardens, lives in small town New England, and the family composition are the same, which taken alone are not so significant. For him, the most impacting similarity is that as the husband and wife trade insults, the physical attributes commented upon are similar to those of the author and her ex-husband's physical appearance. He said the resemblances were disconcerting and he began to feel "voyeuristic." Later, the indications about the father's aggressive feelings toward the son and his possessiveness towards the daughter seem to "express a very personal, private hurt." Tobar concludes that the book deserves to be read as fiction, and yet he clearly cannot avoid making connections. He reads it as a veiled  memoir. Certainly, this is a favorable review and yet he concludes:"There are two ways to read Jamaica Kincaid's mesmerizing new novel, See Now Then.The first is the way any work of art should be read: by simply absorbing what's on the page. This is how I read the first two-thirds of See Now Then."

What is important about this review is that even though the reviewer did not know much about Jamaica Kincaid's personal life before reading her novel, he was still influenced by the presence of the autobiographical within her writing.When I heard audio recorded readings of sections of this work, I noted that the audiences laughed at what seemed to be insider jokes; for example, comments that could be about her daughter and son's behavior (but presented in this fiction) has a familiar feeling. For readers who are familiar with the author's previous works, the influence of her autobiography will likely be more forceful.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Jamaica Kincaid's "See Now Then" is Published

Anticipating Reactions to the Autobiographical in Jamaica Kincaid's See Now Then

( Elisabetta A. Villa, Getty Images / February 1, 2013 )
Jamaica Kincaid at Festival Delle Letterature Di Roma 2010

"There are two ways to read Jamaica Kincaid's mesmerizing new novel, See Now Then. The first is the way any work of art should be read: by simply absorbing what's on the page. This is how I read the first two-thirds of See Now Then."

See Now Then
A Novel
Jamaica Kincaid
Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 192 pp., $24

It becomes impossible to avoid the personal life story of Kincaid during his well-intended reading: READ AS ART. 
Tobar who has little knowledge about Kincaid's personal life but he becomes too tempted to verify details and consequently, does some research and reports on the findings. His research changes the reading from simply ART to Art -Influenced-Autobiography and it completely changes the meaning of her work. He writes that "All of this is relevant because Kincaid, the author of more than a dozen books, is a public literary figure. And seen through the lens of some basic but widely known facts of her life, reading "See Now Then" becomes quite a different experience." Similarities about the physical appearance of Mrs. Sweet to Kincaid and Mr. Sweet to her former husband, Allen Shawn begin to create another layer of meaning in the work- it begins to feel "uncomfortably voyeuristic"  as he reads.  I await the arrival of my copy and my own sneak peek  into Jamaica Kincaid's life.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jamaica Kincaid Girl Audio Recording

I imagine that Jamaica Kincaid lived in a house such as the above when she was a child.

Jamaica Kincaid takes her children to the school bus in Vermont.

Jamaica Kincaid reading (photo credit and link to Girl text) Jamaica Kincaid's voice...

Kincaid reads her short story "Girl"

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


"If you were to write an autobiography, you would have to spend a lot of time at the courthouse, looking up the date your great-grandfather was born, what year your father bought the house on Elm Street. The research for a memoir can be done in an easy chair. Close your eyes and try to recapture the moment you bought your first car, learned you were pregnant, met the President or wobble down the street on a two-wheeler."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Memory: Gertrude Stein -there is no there there...

There statue at the Oakland/Berkeley border. Photo by Joe Sciarrillo.

"...what was the use of my having come from Oakland it was not natural to have come from there yes write about it if I like or any- thing if I like but not there, there is no there there." Gertrude Stein

When she published Everybody's Autobiography two years later [1937], saying there was "no there there," it was written to reflect painful nostalgia about her home being gone and the land around it being completely changed. The house where she grew up was on a sprawling 10-acre plot surrounded by orchards and farms. By 1935, it had been replaced by dozens of houses. Oakland held a special significance to her, and on her return, she found that Oakland had urbanized and changed from the pastoral place she remembered.
Matt Werner, Huffington Post

Gertrude Stein-Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein 
(link to complete text)

What is the grammatical significance of "there"?

Part of Speech:  The word 'there' can either be a pronoun or adverb depending on how it is used in a sentence. If you use it to describe a location (it is there), it would be a pronoun. If you put the word before a verb (there is), then it would be an adverb.

In Stein's quotation:
...there [adverb before verb] is no there [pronoun-absence of location] there (pronoun-location)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Royce Carlton Caribbean novelist Jamaica Kincaid will address the Grinnell College class of 2012 at the College’s 166th Exercises of Commencement, on at 10 a.m. Monday, May 21, on Central Campus. (See previous post for YouTube/Recording)
Kincaid, known as a “significant voice in contemporary literature,” is the author of  At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, A Small Place, Lucy, Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, and other works.   Her “highly personal, stylistic, and honest writings” are considered loosely autobiographical from her upbringing in Antigua, with strong images of “tenuous mother-daughter relationships amid themes of anticolonialism.”  Kincaid was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009 for her 

Jamaica Kincaid's agent for speaking engagements is Royce Carlton. This photograph is part of the publicity package. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Jamaica Kincaid at Grinnell College

Jamaica Kincaid's Grinnell College commencement speech addresses the liberal college's mission statement:

The College aims to graduate women and men who can think clearly, who can speak and write persuasively and even eloquently, who can evaluate critically both their own and others' ideas, who can acquire new knowledge, and who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.

Caribbean novelist Jamaica Kincaid will address the Grinnell College class of 2012 at the College’s 166th Exercises of Commencement, on at 10 a.m. Monday, May 21, on Central Campus.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jamaica Kincaid's New Novel Resease

Article from Fall Fiction:

It has been 10 years since Jamaica Kincaid’s last novel, but on September 4, 2012, she’ll be back with a slender book about a family in crisis, See Now Then (FSG).

Kincaid, who was born in Antigua, makes several nods to literary history in this family drama: The Sweets live in the Shirley Jackson house in Vermont, for one. This mismatched couple has two children, Heracles and Persephone, who are the main observers of their parents’ crumbling marriage.

Known for her penetrating portrayals of the human mind and heart, here the former New Yorker writer “evokes the bitterness of love gone sour and turned to contempt, the intensity of the bonds between parents and children, and the profound unknowability of all individuals,” says the publisher. We’re eager to get a peek at this one come September.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Autobiography of a Yogi

March 7, 2012 marks the 60th anniversary of the mahasamadhi (a God-realized yogi's final conscious exit from the body) of Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) and widely regarded as the father of Yoga in the West. His best-selling life story, Autobiography of a Yogi, has been hailed as one of the 100 most influential spiritual books of the 20th century and has introduced millions of Westerners to India's ancient philosophy and science of Yoga. (click here for link to article)

Read more:

Unauthorized Autobiography

But what if God wrote his autobiography? It would be a long book with no beginning and no end! Yet he has written a book about himself. Its purpose is to reveal himself to you so that you might have a relationship with him.
Philip Schroeder, a pastor at First Baptist Church Bulverde, San Antonio,
thinks of the Bible as an

I think Schroeder should compare the chapters to a collection of memoirs because each writer's voice has a unique style and presentation however, this is what he writes:

"Your maker designed you to know him. How do you get to know this God? By reading his word, not just to get to know a book better, but to get to know the author.
If you believe that God really did make you, then what could be more valuable than his words about himself and who you are in relationship to him?
'For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.' (Hebrews 4:12)
How can a mere book do all that? The Bible can do that because it is breathed by God. It is alive because the words are his."

Read more:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Aloud Program Podcast features Jamaica Kincaid

presented by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles


Title: Jamaica Kincaid, "See, Now, Then"
Participants: Jamaica Kincaid
In conversation with Brighde Mullins
Program Date: 4/26/2011
Program length: 01:18:03
Media Type: MP3

Jamaica Kincaid and Lyrics

Monday, October 10, 2011
Performance by composer Su Lian Tan based Jamaica Kincaid's text: "a rare and wonderful opportunity to hear a recent work by composer Su Lian Tan, based on a text by Jamaica Kincaid."

"Jamaica’s Songs, commissioned by Middlebury College, was premiered in 2000 as part of the College’s bicentennial celebrations. Many musicians who have performed this cycle, as well as audience members, find a great solace in its expression. They have remarked, and often, that they find in these songs a channel for mixed emotions regarding their mothers, almost a way out of them. Strong negative feelings as well as longing and pure childlike love emanate from the text by Jamaica Kincaid. She wrote these songs for me the year her mother died and I felt it very necessary to help in her process of healing. My heart went out to her, as heard sometimes in the instrumental writing, this most gifted and powerful of writers. I have meandered in Jamaica’s garden in Vermont with pleasure, as I have found the courage to grow in her company."
-Su Lian Tan (The Fortnightly newsletter.)

Jamaica Kincaid and visual image

Jamaica Kincaid shares that her autobiographically based novel, Annie John was inspired by seeing a postcard painting "Kept In" by Edward Lamson Henry's (1889),which recalled strong memories of her childhood in Antigua.

Washington College/April 11, 2009

Roger Ebert's Review of The Last Station

If Joyce was a drunk and a roisterer, how different was the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, who was a vegetarian and pacifist, and recommended (although did not practice) celibacy? "The Last Station" focuses also on his wife, Sofya, who after bearing his 13 children thought him a late arrival to celibacy and accused him of confusing himself with Christ. Yet it's because of the writing of Joyce and Tolstoy that we know about their wives at all. Well, the same is true of George Eliot's husband...
Roger Ebert's complete review is here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jamaica Kincaid Talk

Jamaica Kincaid reading:

A reading by Jamaica Kincaid from Heyman Center for the Humanities on Vimeo.

Claremont Student Comments

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1/16/12LIT099Average Quality 2.5




Rater Interest4

"I took a creative writing class with her. She is a wonderful, at times nutty woman. Her lectures (often meandering stories with value) are wholly worthwhile. If you aren't drawn to writing or intent on developing your own voice, this isn't the class for you."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Jamaica Kincaid Event

An Evening with Jamaica Kincaid (Blog Repost)

University of Southern California

Monday, March 19, 2012 : 7:00pm to 9:00pm
University Park Campus
University Club
Banquet Room

Join the Master of Professional Writing Program for an evening of readings and conversation with Jamaica Kincaid, the award-winning author of Annie John and Lucy.
JAMAICA KINCAID-- novelist, essayist, travel writer, memoirist

Jamaica Kincaid is the author of a dozen books of literary nonfiction and fiction, including: Mr. Potter; My Brother; Autobiography of My Mother; Lucy; Annie John; and At The Bottom of the River. Her forthcoming novel See Now Then will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2012. Her work has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, German, Italian, Hebrew, and many other languages. Her influence as a writer is of extraordinary breadth and reach. “Kincaid is probably the most important West Indian woman writing today,” according to Frank Birbalisingh (Contemporary African American Novelists). Kincaid grew up in Antigua and came of age as writer in New York. Themes of gender, colonialism, and class all inform her writing. Her work is highly lyrical as well as sharp and un-sentimental, a combination that has made her one of the most interesting writers of our time. Kincaid’s honors include memberships in the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Prix Femina Etranger (France) along with eleven honorary degrees. For over twenty years Kincaid was a staff writer at The New Yorker, where her legendary short prose texts for “The Talk of The Town” later appeared as the collected volume Talk Stories. Kincaid is currently on leave from Harvard University, where she has taught since 1992 in African American Studies and in the Department of English. She is currently the Josephine Olp Weeks Chair and Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College.