Behind the Caribbean Bookstagrammer

#ReadCaribbean

June is recognized as Caribbean Heritage Month to celebrate I teamed up with some Caribbean Bookstagrammers to launch the #ReadCaribbean Challenge. The main goal of this challenge is to create awareness and educate persons on Caribbean Literature and Authors from the Caribbean or Caribbean Heritage.

Here is your chance to meet and follow some Caribbean Bookstagrammers who, for the month of June will be focusing on books about the Caribbean, set in the Caribbean or written by an author of Caribbean heritage.

 

  1. AddendumAdventure (Sara)

 

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Name: Sara Lynn Burnett

Country: Saint Lucia / Turks & Cacios

Bookstagram handle: @addendumadventure

Why Bookstagram? The community is inclusive and centered around a passion, not a promotion. Books!

5 Favorite Caribbean Books

  • Here Comes The Sun
  • Don’t Stop the Carnival
  • The Feast of the Goat
  • The Same Earth
  • The Poet X

5 Favorite Caribbean Authors

  • Nicole Dennis-Benn
  • Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Chanel Cleeton
  • Derek Walcott
  • Edwidge Danticat

Why #ReadCaribbean?  The Caribbean has a rich history filled with both joy and unease. There’s a foreboding sense in a lot of Caribbean works that speaks to the region’s tumultuous past that makes for really excellent, and interesting reading. There’s a lot more to the Caribbean than resorts and beaches. The culture and heritage makes it one of the most fascinating places in the world and #ReadCaribbean authors are showcasing that through brilliant prose.

If you had to recommend one #ReadCaribbean for everyone to read, which would it be? The Poet X

One Caribbean Author you would love to have Coffee with? Elizabeth Acevedo

Favorite Caribbean Island? Dominica

 

  1. BookofCinz (Cindy)

 

 

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Name: Cindy Allman

Country: Jamaica /Trinidad and Tobago

Bookstagram handle: @bookofcinz

Why Bookstagram? I started my bookstagram to encourage persons to read, read more and read widely. I also wanted to use my platform to highlight Caribbean Literature and Writers from the Caribbean/Caribbean heritage.  Of course, me posting a photo of a book won’t change the world but I am hoping that it will encourage people to (re)kindle their love for reading.  Bookstagram is also the perfect outlet for someone who loves reading and talking about books.

5 Favorite Caribbean Books

  • Fool-Fool Rose is Leaving Labor-In-Vain Savannah by Lorna Goodison
  • Pain Tree by Olive Senior
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
  • Dew Angels by Melanie Schwapp
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langston by Sara Collins

 5 Favorite Caribbean Authors

  • Olive Senior
  • Marlon James
  • Roxane Gay
  • Anthony C Winkler
  • Kei Miller

 

Why #ReadCaribbean?  The Caribbean has a rich history filled with both joy and unease. There’s a foreboding sense in a lot of Caribbean works that speaks to the region’s tumultuous past that makes for really excellent, and interesting reading. There’s a lot more to the Caribbean than resorts and beaches. The culture and heritage makes it one of the most fascinating places in the world and #ReadCaribbean authors are showcasing that through brilliant prose.

If you had to recommend one #ReadCaribbean for everyone to read, which would it be? I

One Caribbean Author you would love to have Coffee with? I am going switch coffee with Champagne or Prosecco and go with Kei Miller and Anthony C Winkler. I find their writings so interesting and I would love to pick their brains on how they come up with her characters and all the backstories that they weave together so seamlessly.

Favorite Caribbean Island? Jamaica and Bequia

 

  1. Decentred_lit_ja (Kaymara)

 

 

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Name: Kaymara Barrett

Country: Jamaica

Bookstagram handle: Decentred_Lit_Ja

Why Bookstagram? I got tired of seeing the same ten people reading the same 3 books.

5 Favorite Caribbean Books:

  • Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn
  • Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  • Halsey Street by Naima Coster
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

5 Favorite Caribbean Authors:

  • Kheryn Callendar
  • P. Djeli Clark
  • Nalo Hopkinson
  • Marlon James (and his problematic ass)
  • Maika Moulite
  • Maritza Moulite

Why #ReadCaribbean? On any given day I can list off books by Caribbean authors, many people can’t. I’m hoping #ReadCaribbean inspires at least one reader to try a new book.

If you had to recommend one #ReadCaribbean for everyone to read, which would it be? Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. When you mention the word “classic” people start thinking of Austen, Shakespere and bunch a white people. I mean, if we are being honest Rhys is white/white-passing but she claimed her Dominican nationality and never pretended to be anything else, so I claim her and her work.

One Caribbean Author you would love to have Coffee with? Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite. I (already) feel like a sister!

Favorite Caribbean Island? Wah kinda question this???????

 

  1. Gailrenatta (Gail)

Name: Gail Knight

Country: Born in Guyana, raised in The Bahamas, currently living in Jamaica

Bookstagram handle: @gailrenatta (The Knight Reader)

Why Bookstagram? I love food! So, I a food analogy would best illustrate my answer. In food, my book selections pre-2017 were akin to having a preference for fast food. I bought what was cheap, available and popular. Little by the way of nourishment, but it filled a gap. My world changed in 2017 when I happened upon a local book-club, Rebel Women Lit, that encouraged reading of less run of the mill selections. This exposed me to a whole new side of literature. Now, I read for nourishment. Quality over quantity. The Bookstagram community allows me to share the enrichment I’ve found and continue to gain from reading. I may not have a legion of followers, but if I can reach one person, like Rebel Women reached me, I’d count all of it a success.

5 Favorite Caribbean Books

  • By Love Possessed by Lorna Goodison
  • How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs
  • Miguel Street by V.S. Naipaul
  • Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis Benn
  • Dew Angels by Melanie Swapp

 

5 Favorite Caribbean Authors

  • Nicole Dennis Benn
  • Lorna Goodison
  • Natasha Deen
  • Krystal Sital
  • Alexia Arthurs

 

Why #ReadCaribbean?  The Caribbean reality and its accompanying experiences create authors with a unique world view. This is borne out in the various literary forms published by Caribbean Authors. In truth, I didn’t appreciate Caribbean literature for its distinctive flavor until a few years ago. Maturity, however, has led me to many regional gems. Sharing them with the world through the #ReadCaribbean initiative is more than simply blind loyalty to the region. It is recognition and appreciation of the wealth of talent and expression available to readers through Caribbean literature. From poetry to memoirs, short stories to novels the Caribbean boasts quality additions to the world wide literary landscape. I have just scratched the surface of what is available but intend to keep exploring and hope more will join in the #ReadCaribbean movement.

If you had to recommend one #ReadCaribbean for everyone to read, which would it be? By Love Possessed by Lorna Goodison: From its beautiful cover, to the well-crafted and relatable stories that fill its pages. Genuine portrayal of themes that exemplify and illustrate Caribbean life is what certainly places this title at the top of my #ReadCaribbean list.

One Caribbean Author you would love to have Coffee with?  V.S. Naipaul – God rest the dead, but for one minute let us pretend he was alive. Firstly, he probably won’t show up and secondly, if he did, we would likely argue until the place closed. He would also think Bookstagram is a complete waste of talent and taking pictures of books a complete demonstration of stupidity. But, I never like boring coffee dates and a covertly taken picture of him mean mugging for the gram would be worth all the hassle.

Favorite Caribbean Island? This is a tie for me between Guyana and Jamaica. Guyana- No, It is not an island, but we do belong to the Caribbean. The name is Guyana, not Ghana or any other inaccurate approximation. Guyana my not so tiny exotic home nation nestled in South America! My birthplace and home for my formative years. It will always be my home and number one for me. Jamaica, a beautiful country with beautiful people. A place where my literary journey took a life changing turn. A place where I’ve learned, fell in love and now live. The island though popular for its athleticism and musicianship boasts so much more lesser known talents and definitely tops the list with my home country Guyana.

 

 

  1. Gizzellewho (Gizelle)

 

 

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Name: Gizelle Fletcher

Country: Jamaica

Bookstagram handle: @gizellewho

Why Bookstagram? I started @gizellwho just to take pictures of the books I read and keep a sort of online journal for reviews. I didn’t realize there were other book nerds out there doing the same thing. Bookstagram like a virtual library, and I follow people whose tastes I trust (or know when not to trust) so I know I can always find a book on their shelves. It’s a safe space to be a book nerd.

5 Favorite Caribbean Books: Only 5??

  • The Last Warner Woman by Kei Miller
  • Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn
  • The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
  • The Merchant of Feathers by Tanya Shirley
  • Zami by Audre Lorde

5 Favorite Caribbean Authors:

  • Shani Mootoo
  • Tanya Shirley
  • Kei Miller
  • Makeda Silvera
  • Audre Lorde (so many many many more!)

Why #ReadCaribbean? BECAUSE WE HAFFI BIG UP YAAD EVERYWHERE WE GOOOOO! Any chance to spread the good word of Caribbean literature, which is high-key overlooked in the publishing industry, I’m excited to participate. I didn’t even know June was Caribbean Heritage Month, and I feel like now that I know, it would be treason not to join in on #ReadCaribbean

If you had to recommend one #ReadCaribbean for everyone to read, which would it be?: Zami by Audre Lorde

One Caribbean Author you would love to have Coffee with?: Dead or alive: Audre Lorde. Must be alive: Edwidge Danticat

Favorite Caribbean Island?: Look what it seh under country! JAMAICA JAMAICA!

 

 

  1. Ifthisisparadise (Akilah)

 

 

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Name: Akilah (aka Kiki)

Country: Jamaica

Bookstagram handle: ifthisisparadise

Why Bookstagram? :I tried to get back into blogging, unsuccessfully. I thought that instagram’s tiny caption space would ease the pressure of the blank page. It did and now I write blog length captions, haha!

5 Favourite Caribbean Books:

  • Selected Poems by Lorna Goodison – If there was ever a coming of age film about my life these poems would play a key role.
  • Black Lightning by Roger Mais – This was the first Caribbean novel I ever read that wasn’t strictly in the realist mode. It’s a weird, not easily defined book and, at the time, I didn’t know we were allowed to do that 😄.
  • The Marvellous Equations of the Dread by Marcia Douglas – This is another ambitious work: lyrical, poetic, strange, and beautiful.
  • I Want to Disturb My Neighbour by Verene Shepherd – I am grateful to historians who engage with the public. This book taught me more about Jamaica and the wider Caribbean than all my high school history classes combined.
  • The Book of Night Women by Marlon James. – This is the book that overcame my aversion to plantation fiction and made me feel that slavery was a world of complete disorder institutionalised in a way that lectures didn’t.

5 Favorite Caribbean Authors:

  • Olive Senior
  • Lorna Goodison
  • Shani Mootoo
  • Verene Shepherd
  • Anthony McNeill

Why #ReadCaribbean? The region’s particular mix of histories and peoples create writers who produce unique works in a language that cannot be replicated. We have our own classics and myriad more facets than what the biggest literary prizes and media outlets acknowledge. It would be a loss to deprive yourself of such richness.

If you had to recommend one #ReadCaribbean for everyone to read, which would it be? How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs. I waited a long time for a writer of quality to depict contemporary, 21st century Jamaican life.

One Caribbean Author you would love to have Coffee with?  I tend to be satisfied with books and disinterested in any personal contact with writers. Could we just exchange letters? If that’s allowed: Sylvia Wynter.

Favorite Caribbean Island? Wah yuh have ‘gainst Guyana and Suriname? LOL. My real answer is: Cuba. I’ve felt most at home outside of my birthplace.

 

  1. Kayyyreads (Kerine)

 

 

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Name: Kerine Wint

Country: Jamaica

Bookstagram handle:  @kayyyreads

Why Bookstagram?  I’ve been running a blog, Book and Pen in Hand, and it’s transformed from posts from streams of consciousness, to mostly about writing to its current form of focusing on books that I’m reading/have read. As someone who’s delving deeper into their writing, reading books along the way is an obvious perk. Surprisingly, writing blog posts is super hard for me and isn’t always as fulfilling – so I started a separate instagram account and surely enough there was a community both in and outside the Caribbean that felt like home because of our love for books. Long story short, the interactions, support and constant discussion around books is the most refreshing experience I didn’t expect to ever enjoy on such a scale.

5 Favorite Caribbean Books

  • How to love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs
  • Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
  • Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
  • Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell
  • Beka Lamb by Zee Edgell

5 Favorite Caribbean Authors

  • Stephanie Saulter
  • Tracey Baptiste
  • P. Djèlí Clark
  • Una Marson

Why #ReadCaribbean? Why not? It will be nice to see a bomb rush of Caribbean lit in the book community and shed the light on all our writers have to offer especially as it reflects the Caribbean experience that is authentic to our everyday selves.

If you had to recommend one #ReadCaribbean for everyone to read, which would it be?I think How to Love a Jamaican is a book I would give to anyone wanting an idea of the Jamaican identity that isn’t a caricature of who we are.

One Caribbean Author you would love to have Coffee with?  Honestly, as I’m interested in writing myself, I would choose any because I’m very curious about how each figure out how to represent different parts of their identity with the overall story they want to tell.

Favorite Caribbean Island?  Well.. Jamaica, of course!

 

  1. miss.bibliofancy (Allison)

 

 

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Name: Allison Thwaites

Country: Jamaica

Bookstagram handle: miss.bibliofancy

Why Bookstagram? Bookstagram for me is a fun and creative way to share my thoughts, opinions and love of pretty book covers with fellow avid readers all over the world. It hasn’t been the best to my pocket…but I’ve gotten amazing book recommendations so I won’t complain 🙂

5 Favorite Caribbean Books – Hard to choose just five.

  • Marlon James – The Book of Night Women
  • Trevor Rhone – Old Story Time
  • Charles Hyatt – When Me Was a Boy
  • Sam Selvon – The Lonely Londoners
  • Marcus Garvey – The Philosophy & Opinions of Marcus Garvey

 

5 Favorite Caribbean Authors

  • Marlon James
  • Nicole Dennis-Benn
  • Andrea Levy
  • Staceyann Chin
  • Alexia Arthurs

 

Why #ReadCaribbean? – Simple, because it’s necessary. Bookstagram while fun and informative can sometimes be repetitive. The same books by the same authors. This also happens when looking for authors of colour. I love Toni Morrison as much as the next person but she isn’t the be all and end all of black literature. Also, black literature isn’t just African American literature. I think highlighting and exposing people to books by Caribbean authors not only gets those authors featured on an international platform, but it also adds more diversity, more options to those responses given in the call for said diversity.

If you had to recommend one #ReadCaribbean for everyone to read, which would it be? I legit can’t pick just one. It took me 30 mins to come to this conclusion.

One Caribbean Author you would love to have Coffee with? Swap the coffee for wine and I choose Alexia Arthurs. Swap the coffee and wine for herb and I choose Mutabaruka. He’s a poet so it counts right?

Favorite Caribbean Island? Jamaica obviously 🙂

 

  1. Never_withouta_book (Anna)

 

 

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Name: Anna

Country: Haitian – American (Haiti)

Bookstagram handle: never_withouta_book

Why Bookstagram? Why not? Bookstagram has such a diverse bunch of people. Why not step out of normal reading and venture into a book and place set in the Caribbean

5 Favorite Caribbean Books

  • Augustown by Kei Miller
  • Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat
  • Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn
  • Golden Child by Claire Adam
  • American Street by Ibi Zobi

5 Favorite Caribbean Authors

  • Edwidge Danticat
  • Roxane Gay
  • Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Aimé Césaire
  • Jamaica Kincaid

Why #ReadCaribbean?  The Caribbean isn’t just sand, beaches and palm trees, it’s filled with amazing writers, with incredible works that many don’t know about. Caribbean literature is exceptional both in language and subject. Our history was started as “things” bought, sold, listed in inventories along with mules, and horses.  The decedents of those that came before us are active in literature and arts. We are producing works with strong and direct ties to our traditional African expressions.

If you had to recommend one #ReadCaribbean for everyone to read, which would it be? Augustown by Kei Miller. I read this book last summer and Kei took me on a ride. His writing is amazing, and the story is just WOW! Highly recommend this book. It’s fyyyaaaahh!!!

One Caribbean Author you would love to have Coffee with?  Edwidge Danticat. Krik? Krak! was the first book written by a Haitian author I read. I found her in a time when I was being teased for my heritage and she gave me the strength to stand up for where my ancestors came from. I owe her so much gratitude.

Favorite Caribbean Island? – Haiti, Bahamas, Puerto Rico & Jamaica this are places that I love and visited many times.

 

    10. Suzannebhagan (Suzanne)

 

 

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Name: Suzanne Bhagan

Country: Trinidad and Tobago

Bookstagram handle: @suzannebhagan

Why Bookstagram? I just wanted to share my love for Caribbean lit with others and meet other Caribbean writers and Bookstagrammers.

5 Favorite Caribbean Books:

  • A House for Mr Biswas
  • Annie John
  • Wide Sargasso Sea
  • The Lonely Londoners
  • The Swinging Bridge

5 Favorite Caribbean Authors

  • Jamaica Kincaid
  • Ramabai Espinet
  • Jean Rhys
  • VS Naipaul
  • Samuel Selvon

Why #ReadCaribbean? It’s important that people get to know the length and breadth of Caribbean literature. Caribbean books in this curated list cover diverse experiences of West Indian people living in the region and abroad, showing that the “fun-loving” and “sun, sea, and sand” stereotypes aren’t  “all we good for.”

If you had to recommend one #ReadCaribbean for everyone to read, which would it be? We Mark Your Memory

One Caribbean Author you would love to have coffee with? Jamaica Kincaid

Favorite Caribbean Island? Tobago

 

           11. Thisbrownegirlreads (Donna)

 

 

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Name: Donna Johnson

Country: Jamaica & Cuba

Bookstagram handle: @thisbrownegirlreads

Why Bookstagram?:  Bookstagram as afforded me the opportunity to showcase my love of reading. In so doing, I’ve had the opportunity to share through visual presentation- authors who’ve allowed me the opportunity to escape, to dream, to immerse in the revolution. Bookstagram has been the greatest resource in assisting me in compiling the library I’ve always wanted to amass, a personal collection of all books written by writers of the African Diaspora and lastly it has been the root of my near nil bank account😊.

5 Favorite Caribbean Books:

  • By Loved Possesed Stories
  • The Book of Night Women
  • How To Love A Jamaican
  • The Star Side of Bird Hill
  • Here Comes The Sun

5 Favorite Caribbean Authors:

  • Marlon James
  • Lorna Goodison
  • Claudia Rankin
  • Edwidge Danicat
  • Tiphanie Yanique

Why #ReadCaribbean?: Reading Caribbean, as an Afro Caribbean person, I believe the stories are connectors to our African roots. Many are intertwine with stories from yesteryears and modern twists that celebrate our colorful and complex Diaspora. As a reader, it is my hope to see our stories transcend borders. Our stories are kept within the Caribbean, it is time for them to become known internationally as well.

If you had to recommend one #ReadCaribbean for everyone to read, which would it be?: A Brief History of Seven Killings ~ Marlon James.

One Caribbean Author you would love to have Coffee with?: Lorna Goodison

Favorite Caribbean Island?: Jamaica will always be home and no place like it. My favorite island though is Curaçao.

 

         11. Trinisoulflower (Apphia)

 

 

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Name: Apphia Barton

Country: Trinidad and Tobago

Bookstagram handle: trinisoulflower

Why Bookstagram? I started a bookstagram or joined the bookstagram community quite accidentally. I started off sharing books I found interesting and enjoyed, then discovered that there’s a whole vibrant community that shares similar interests! Being a Caribbean bookstagrammer however, recently became more intentional.  The bookstagram scene is quite limited in its scope or attention and I hope that my presence can add to the growing Caribbean bookstagram community.

5 Favorite Caribbean Books

  • The Dragon Can’t Dance by Earl Lovelace
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  • The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
  • Augustown by Kei Miller
  • Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat

5 Favorite Caribbean Authors

  • Earl Lovelace
  • Nicole Dennis-Benn
  • Nicholas Laughlin
  • Olive Senior
  • Kei Miller

Why #ReadCaribbean?  #ReadCaribbean to ensure that our voice, and by that I mean the amalgam of different voices from the diaspora, gets the attention it deserves. #ReadCaribbean because I want our literature and by extension, our experiences to become more common-placed in the canon.

If you had to recommend one #ReadCaribbean for everyone to read, which would it be? The Dragon Can’t Dance by Earl Lovelace. It’s an easy masterpiece.

One Caribbean Author you would love to have Coffee with?  I would love to have coffee with Nicole Dennis-Benn. Her aura is affable and good-natured. I believe she would make a good mentor as well.

Favorite Caribbean Island?  This is tough. Maybe, StLuciaJamaicaTrinidad!

 

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