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    Caribbean writers Caribbean writers Document Transcript

    • JAMAICAJamaica became a base of operations for privateers, including Captain Henry Morgan,operating from the main English settlement Port Royal. In return these privateers kept theother colonial powers from attacking the island. Following the destruction of Port Royal inthe great earthquake of 1692, refugees settled across the bay in Kingston. By 1716 it hadbecome the biggest town in Jamaica and was designated the capital city in 1872. Until slaverywas abolished by Parliament in 1833, the island sugar plantations were highly dependent onslaver labour, based on Africans who initially were captured, kidnapped, and sold into slaveryfrom peoples of West and Central Africa. By the eighteenth century, sugarcane became themost important export of the island.Adam Taylors slaves had arrived in Jamaica via the Atlantic slave trade during theearly seventeenth century, the same period when the first enslaved Africans arrived in NorthAmerica. By the early nineteenth century, people of African descent greatly outnumberedethnic Europeans Due to the harshness of the conditions, there were many racial tensions.Jamaica had one of the highest number of slave uprisings of any Caribbean island.[1]After the British Crown abolished slavery in 1834, the Jamaicans began workingtoward independence. As the island still had a strong agricultural economy, planters importedEast Asians as indentured labourers for many years. Since independence in 1962, there havebeen political and economic disturbances, as well as a number of strong political leaders.Carlton Lindsay BarrettCarlton Lindsay Barrett, also known as Eseoghene (born 15 September 1941), is aJamaican poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist and photographer who lives inNigeria. Particularly during the 1960s and 1970s, Barrett was well known as an experimentaland progressive essayist, his work being concerned with issues of black identity anddispossession, the African Diaspora, and the survival of descendants of black Africans, nowdispersed around the world.In 1972 his theatrical collage of drama, dance and music, Sighs of a Slave Dream, wasthe first major production to be staged at the Keskidee Centre, in north London, performed bya Nigerian troupe under the direction of Pat Amadu Maddy. It portrays the capture andenslavement of Africans, their transport across the Atlantic, and their suffering on American
    • plantations. Barrett is in addition a poet, whose early militant poems dealt with racial andemotional conflict and exile, as evidenced in his collection, The Conflicting Eye, publishedunder the pseudonym "Eseoghene" in 1973.Roger MaisRoger Mais (11 August 1905−21 June 1955) was a Jamaican journalist, novelist, poet,and playwright. He was born to a middle-class family in Kingston, Jamaica. By 1951, he hadwon ten first prizes in West Indian literary competitions. His integral role in the developmentof political and cultural nationalism is evidenced in his being awarded the high honour of theOrder of Jamaica in 1978. The Hills Were Joyful Together (1953) is written in the style of anarrative. It takes place in a "yard" consisting of individuals and families living in aconfinement of shacks shaped squarely, leaving a yard in the center. In this yard, daily andpublic life of the tenement unfolds. Mais claimed that he was "concerned with setting downobjectively the hopes, fears, [and] frustrations of these people".[8]He wanted the novel to be"essentially realistic, even to the point of seeming violent, rude, expletive, functional,primitive, raw".During the 1930s, the first endeavors were made to write and introduce plays relatedto Caribbean life. George William Gordon acts as a representation for the lower class,alluding to the oppressions they were forced to endure throughout the play. The play not onlyrepresents the people, but also functions as a voice for the people so that their cries can beheard. The unfair court system, the low wages and their repercussions are stated clearly in thework by anonymous persons acting as a uniting voice for the people. It forms an identity forthe Black underclass majority, which was Maiss ultimate goal in his work.CUBABefore Columbus arrival, the indigenous Guanajatabey, who had inhabited the islandfor centuries, were driven to the west of Cuba by the arrival of two subsequent waves ofmigrants, the Taíno and Ciboney. The Taíno and Ciboney were part of a cultural groupcommonly called the Arawak. After Columbus arrival, Cuba became a Spanish colony,ruled by a Spanish governor in Havana. In 1762, Havana was briefly occupied by GreatBritain, before being returned to Spain in exchange for Florida. A series of rebellions duringthe 19th century failed to end Spanish rule. However, increased tensions between Spain and
    • the United States, which culminated in the Spanish-American War, finally led to a Spanishwithdrawal in 1898, and in 1902 Cuba gained formal independence.Nancy MorejónNancy Morejón (Havana, 1944- ) is a Cuban author and poet. She has gainedrecognition for work whose themes are centered on women and the Afro-Cuban experience.The themes of her work span a wide scope. She discusses the mythology of the Cuban nation,and the relation of the blacks of Cuba within that nation. In this she often expresses anintegrationist, unifying stance, in which Spanish and African cultures fuse to make a new,Cuban identity. Much of her work—and the fact that she has been successful within theCuban regime—locates her as a supporter of Cuban nationalism and the Cuban Revolution.In addition, she also voices the situation of women in her within her society, expressing thefeminism (as well as the racial integration) of the Cuban revolution by making black womencentral protagonists in her poems, most notably in the widely anthologized Mujer Negra(Black Woman). Finally, her work also treats the history of slavery and mistreatment in therelationship of Cuba and the United States, with a view towards arousing outrage towardabuse.However, although her work pays attention to political themes, is not exclusivelydominated by them. Critics have noted her playful observations about her own people, hereffective use of particularly Cuban forms of humor, and her regular "indulgence" in highlylyrical, intimate, and spiritual poetry.Nicolás GuillénNicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista (10 July 1902 – 16 July 1989) was a Cuban poet,journalist, political activist, and writer. He is best remembered as the national poet of Cuba.Guillén is probably the best-known representative of the "poesía negra" ("black poetry") thattried to create a synthesis between black and white cultural elements, a "poetic mestizaje".Guillén later became acknowledge by many critics as the most influential of those LatinAmerican poets who dealt with African themes and re-created African song and dancerhythms in literary form.[5]Guillen made an international mark for himself with thepublication of Motivos de son. The work was inspired by the living conditions of Afro-Cubans. The publication consisted of eight short poems that were composed using the
    • everyday language of the Afro Cubans. The collection stood out in the literary world becauseit emphasized and established the importance of Afro-Cuban culture as a valid genre inCuban literature.BARBADOSIt is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometers east ofthe Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea. Barbados was initially visited by the Spanisharound the late 1400s to early 1500s. The Spanish explorers may have plundered the islandof whatever native people resided therein to become slaves. The Portuguese visited in 1536,but they too left it unclaimed, with their only remnants being an introduction of wild hogs fora good supply of meat whenever the island was visited. The first English ship, the OliveBlossom, arrived in Barbados in 1624. In 1627 the first permanent settlers arrived fromEngland and it became an English and later British colony.Anthony KellmanAnthony Kellman (born in 1955) is a Barbados-born writer and musician. In 1990 theBritish publishing house Peepal Tree Press published his first full-length book of poetry,Watercourse. Since 1990, he has published two novels such as The coral room in 1994 andThe houses of Alphonso in 2004In the novel The coral room Percival veer the protagonist of that novel has acquiredthe large house and young wife but the guilt over past wrong begins to trouble him. Arecurrent dream of caves disturb his sleep but his journey through caves is not only thejourney to truth that lies with in him, but the journey to vision of Creole magic, World ofpossibilities and revision of races and juxtapositions.Watercourse is more than a collection of poems. It is the continual amazement evokedby Caribbean landscape and the dialogue between the sea and lad…a song whose dazzlingwaves foam among the islands... Anthony Kellmans poetry has the strength and sweetness ofvegetation with the power of progressively revealing to us the nature of the earth in which itgrows.
    • Paule MarshallPaule Marshall (born April 9, 1929) is an American author. She was born ValenzaPauline Burke in Brooklyn to Barbadian parents and educated at Girls High School. Early inher career, she wrote poetry, but later returned to prose.Praise song for the Widow is a novel by Paule Marshall which takes place in the mid-seventies, chronicling the life of Avey Johnson, a sixty-four-year-old African Americanwidow on a physical and emotional journey in the Caribbean island of Carriacou. Throughoutthe novel, there are many flashbacks to Aveys earlier life experiences with her late husband,Jerome Johnson, as well as childhood events that reconnect her with her lost cultural rootBrown girl; Brown stones is a novel by Paule Marshall autobiographical story describes thelife of Barbadian immigrants in Brooklyn during the Great Depression and then in WorldWar II. The primary characters include Salina and Ina Boyce and their parents, who sufferfrom racism and extreme poverty.MARTINIQUEColumbus sighted Martinique in 1493, but did not go ashore until another voyage in 1502. Atthat time, the island was inhabited by the Carib Indians who had already exterminated theArawaks. Columbus named the island Martinica in honor of St. Martin. The French arrived toclaim the island and begin permanent settlement there in 1635. They began to cultivate sugarcane and import slaves from Africa. As forests were cleared to make room for sugarplantations, fierce battles with the Carib Indians ensued. With the treaty of 1660, the Caribsagreed to occupy only the Atlantic side of Martinique. This peace was short-lived, however,and they were exterminated or forced off the island shortly thereafter.In 1762, the English occupied the island, but returned it the following year in exchange forCanada. They invaded and held the island once again from 1794 to 1815, when it wasreturned to the French. In 1848, Victor Schoelcher, a French minister for overseaspossessions, convinced the government to sign an Emancipation Proclamation ending slaveryin the French West Indies. On March 8, 1902, came the most devastating natural disaster inCaribbean history; the Mont Pelée volcano erupted, destroying the city of St. Pierre andclaiming the lives of all but one of its 30,000 inhabitants. As a result, the capital was
    • permanently moved to Fort-de-France.Famous writers of martinique are Patrick Chamoiseauand Frantz Fanon.Patrick ChamoiseauChamoiseau was born on December 3, 1953 in Fort-de-France, Martinique, where hecurrently resides. After he studied law in Paris he returned to Martinique inspired by ÉdouardGlissant to take a close interest in Creole culture. In an interview with Mr. James Ferguson,an English writing critic, Patrick Chamoiseau, the Martiniquan novelist, complained that"Martinique is cut off from the rest of the Caribbean". It is a statement which recognises theextent to which various forms of colonialism has fragmented the region into self-containedlinguistic pockets, giving rise to cultural and other forms of isolation. As a result, differentparts of the Caribbean find it difficult to communicate or be in touch with other parts. To theEnglish speaking Caribbean, their French counterparts, especially the writers and otherexemplars of culture, are mostly unknown. Chamoiseau’s famous works are Texaco andSchool Days.Texaco is a novel made of stories unrecorded in any history book, for they arestories beneath history, telling of love, sex, work, murder and political action among theblack slaves of Martinique and their descendants. Both true and fabulous, the storiesconstitute a personal and communal record of black experience on the island from the earlydays of slavery through its abolition and beyond -- a record more real than history, which isa formal, impersonal narrative. The novel returns obsessively to the power, beauty,frustrations and extreme political importance of language -- specifically the French language,and its relation not only to racial identity but to what the translators refer to as MulattoFrench and Creole French.School Days (Chemin-d’Ecole) is a captivating narrative based on PatrickChamoiseau’s childhood in Fort-de-France, Martinique. It is a revelatory account of thecolonial world that shaped one of the liveliest and most creative voices in French andCaribbean literature today. Through the eyes of the boy Chamoiseau, we meet his severe,Francophile teacher, a man intent upon banishing all remnants of Creole from his students’speech. This domineering man is succeeded by an equally autocratic teacher, an Africanistand proponent of “Negritude.” Along the way we are also introduced to Big Bellybutton, theclass scapegoat, whose tales of Creole heroes and heroines, magic, zombies, and fantastic
    • animals provide a fertile contrast to the imported French fairy tales told in school. In prosepunctuated by Creolisms and ribald humor, Chamoiseau infuses the universal terrors, joys,and disappointments of a child’s early school days with the unique experiences of a Creoleboy forced to confront the dominant culture in a colonial school. School Days mixunderstanding with laughter, knowledge with entertainment—in ways that will fascinate anddelight readers of all ages.Frantz FanonFrantz Fanon (Frantz Omar Fanon) was a Martinique-born, French–Algerianpsychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary, and writer whose works are influential in the fieldsof post-colonial studies, critical theory, and Marxism. As an intellectual, Fanon was apolitical radical, and an existential humanist concerning the psychopathology of colonization,and the human, social, and cultural consequences of decolonization. His famous works areBlack Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth.Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a whiteworld. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952,the book remains a vital force today from one of the most important theorists ofrevolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history. Black Skin White Masksas his first treatise on the effects of Racism and colonialization. Both a memory and apolitical treatise, Black Skins White Masks is a work illustrating the marginalization andservitude of the Black experience in the Western world. By speaking the language of thecolonizers, the colonized continue to allow for their own enslavement through a kind ofcultural imprisonment. Fanon greatly influenced the later workings of Michel Foucault andhis discussion of hegemonic power in language and culture. Fanon speaks of how the‘Antilles Negro’ should reject the language and cultural traditions of their aggressor (France)and find their own culture which is separate from that of the colonial bourgeosie.Fanons next novel, "The Wretched of the Earth" views the colonized world from theperspective of the colonized. Like Foucaults questioning of a disciplinary society Fanonquestions the basic assumptions of colonialism. He questions whether violence is a tactic thatshould be employed to eliminate colonialism. He questions whether native intellectuals whohave adopted western methods of thought and urge slow decolonization are in fact part of thesame technology of control that the white world employs to exploit the colonized. He
    • questions whether the colonized world should copy the west or develop a whole new set ofvalues and ideas.ST. LUCIASaint Lucia is a sovereign island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on theboundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Saint Lucia was named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse bythe French, the islands first European colonizers. They signed a treaty with thenative Carib people in 1660. England took control of the island from 1663 to 1667; inensuing years, it was at war with France 14 times and rule of the island changed frequently itwas seven times each ruled by the French and British. In 1814, the British took definitivecontrol of the island. Because it switched so often between British and French control, SaintLucia was also known as the "Helen of the West Indies".Representative government in St Lucia came about in 1924 withuniversal suffrage from 1953. From 1958 to 1962, the island was a member of the Federationof the West Indies. On 22 February 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state ofthe Commonwealth of Nations associated with the United Kingdom.Robert DevauxRober Devaux, is one of the author of history of St. Lucia. He is a field engineer byprofession, he spent his lifetime writing about the history, ecology, landscape and culture ofSt Lucia. He served as director of the St. Lucia National Trust and wrote and publishedseveral books and articles, including the monumental St Lucia Historic Sites (1975).He also penned “A century of coaling in St Lucia (1975), History and analysis of coastalprocesses at Pigeon Island (1993) and They called us Brigands: the sage of St Luciasfreedom fighters (1997).In 1961, Devaux founded the St Lucia Research Centre thatproduced several research papers on a widerange of topics. Last year, together with JolienHarmsen and veteran local journalist, Guy Ellis, they published ‘A History of St Lucia.Devaux was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1991. In1993, he received a Paul Harris Fellowship Award, followed a year later by the Pigeon IslandMuseum Dedication. He was inducted into the Tourism Hall of Fame in 1996 and won theM&C Fine Arts Award for Literature in 1998.
    • Kendel HippolyteKendel Hippolyte born in St. Lucia in 1952 is a poet, playwright and director. As apoet, his writing ranges across the continuum of language from Standard English to thevarieties of Caribbean English and he has also written poems in Kweyol, his nationallanguage. He works in traditional forms like the sonnet and villanelle as well as in so-calledfree verse and in forms influenced by rap and reggae. He has published five books of poetry,the latest being Night Vision (Tri Quarterly Books, Northwestern University Press, 2005) andhis poetry has appeared in various journals such as The Greenfield Review, TheMassachusetts Review and in anthologies like Caribbean Poetry Now, Voiceprint, WestIndian Poetry and others. He has also edited Confluence: Nine St. Lucian Poets, So MuchPoetry in We People, an anthology of performance poetry from the Eastern Caribbean, ThisPoem-Worthy Place, an anthology of poems from Bermuda, as well as student anthologiesfrom creative writing students at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College where he was alecturer in literature and drama until 2007. In 2000, Kendel was awarded the St. Lucia Medalof Merit (Gold) for Contribution to the Arts. Recently retired from the Sir Arthur LewisCommunity College, his present focus is to use his skills as a writer and dramatist to raisepublic awareness and contribute to active solutions of critical social issues.DOMINICAThe islands indigenous Arawak people were expelled or exterminated by Caribs inthe 14th century. Columbus landed there in November 1493. Spanish ships frequently landedon Dominica during the 16th century, but fierce resistance by the Caribs discouraged Spainsefforts at settlement.In 1635, France claimed Dominica. Shortly thereafter, French missionaries becamethe first European inhabitants of the island. Carib incursions continued, though, and in 1660,the French and British agreed that both Dominica and St. Vincent should be abandoned.Dominica was officially neutral for the next century, but the attraction of its resourcesremained; rival expeditions of British and French foresters were harvesting timber by the startof the 18th century.
    • Largely due to Dominicas position between Martinique and Guadeloupe, Franceeventually became predominant, and a French settlement was established and grew. As partof the 1763 Treaty of Paris that ended the seven years war, the island became a Britishpossession. In 1778, during the American Revolutionary War, the French mounted asuccessful invasion with the active cooperation of the population, which was largely French.The 1783 Treaty of Paris, which ended the war, returned the island to Britain. Following theabolition of slavery, in 1838 Dominica became the first and only British Caribbean colony tohave a Black-controlled legislature in the 19th century. Most Black legislators weresmallholders or merchants who held economic and social views diametrically opposed to theinterests of the small, wealthy English planter class. Reacting to a perceived threat, theplanters lobbied for more direct British rule.Following World War I, an upsurge of political consciousness throughout theCaribbean led to the formation of the representative government association. Shortlythereafter, Dominica was transferred from the Leeward Island Administration and wasgoverned as part of the Windwards until 1958, when it joined the short-lived West IndiesFederation. After the federation dissolved, Dominica became an associated state of the UnitedKingdom in 1967 and formally took responsibility for its internal affairs. On November 3,1978, the Commonwealth of Dominica was granted independence by the United Kingdom.Phyllis Shand AllfreyA descendant of Empress Josephine, Phyllis Shand Allfrey was born in Dominica in1908 and died in 1986. By the time of her birth, her illustrious family was in financialdecline. Allfrey is best known for her work The Orchid House (1953), but her life too offeredmuch to be admired. Allfrey enjoyed her greatest success during the 1950s. In that decade,she wrote and published The Orchid House, founded the Dominica Labour Party, ran twopolitical campaigns, and became a minister in the West Indies Federation.First published in 1954, The Orchid House, Phyllis Shand Allfreys only published novel, is aclassic of Caribbean literature. In this markedly autobiographical story of the three daughtersof a once-powerful but now impoverished white family, Allfrey interweaves her familyshistory with the history of her home island of Dominica in the twentieth century. The novel iswritten in a sensuous style and the story remarkably told through the eyes of Lally, the blacknurse of the three sisters. Often praised for the clearsightedness of its analysis of the
    • Dominican historical process, The Orchid House stands at a crucial intersection of WestIndian politics. It was during this period that the colonized took over from the colonizer thedirection of local governments. Allfrey, a Fabian socialist and founder of Dominicas firstpolitical party, articulates in this novel the central tenet of a political philosophy that guided alifetime of grassroots activism: that profound changes had to take place in the powerstructures of Caribbean societies to bring social justice to its peoples, and that those whopersevered in seeking to revive the past were doomed.Julia AlvarezJulia Alvarez (born March 27, 1950) is a Dominican-American poet, novelist, andessayist. Born in New York of Dominican descent, she spent the first ten years of herchildhood in the Dominican Republic, until her fathers involvement in a political rebellionforced her family to flee the country.Alvarez rose to prominence with the novels How the García Girls Lost TheirAccents (1991), In the Time of the Butterflies (1994), and Yo! (1997). Her publications as apoet include Homecoming (1984) and The Woman I Kept to Myself (2004), and as an essayistthe autobiographical compilation Something to Declare (1998). Many literary critics regardher to be one of the most significant Latina writers and she has achieved critical andcommercial success on an international scale.Many of Alvarezs works are influenced by her experiences as a Dominican in theUnited States, and focus heavily on issues of assimilation and identity. Her culturalupbringing as both a Dominican and an American is evident in the combination of personaland political tone in her writing. She is known for works that examine cultural expectationsof women both in the Dominican Republic and the United States, and for rigorousinvestigations of cultural stereotypes. In recent years, Alvarez has expanded her subjectmatter with works such as In the Name of Salomé (2000), a novel with Cuban rather thansolely Dominican characters and fictionalized versions of historical figures.TRINIDADTrinidad was a Spanish colony until 1797. It was never a French colony—yet Francehas greatly influenced its history and culture. This happened, of course, because of the influxof French immigrants in the late 1700s, as a result of the Cedula of Population (1783) invitingforeign Catholics to settle in Trinidad. Together they ensured that a fused African-French
    • culture would be dominant in Trinidad for many years to come—in language (French, andCréole or Patois), religion (French forms of Roman Catholicism), the expressive arts (dance,music, song), folklore, festivals and so on. Spanish influences were largely—though notentirely—eclipsed.. The landowners, the holders of the enslaved laborers, continued to beBritish. They and their slaves, mostly people kidnapped in Africa and brought on theinfamous Middle Passage, and their descendants, ensured that Tobago’s culture wouldcontinue to be an African-British fusion. After 1803, Tobago remained a separate Britishcolony until unification with Trinidad in the new (British) Colony of Trinidad & Tobago,which came into being in 1889. The formal end of British colonialism, of course, came on 31August 1962.Lakshmi PersaudLakshmi Persaud was born in Tunapuna, Trinidad. She did her BA (Hons) and herPh.D. at Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland and her Post graduate Diploma inEducation at Reading University, UK. Dr Persaud taught at the finest grammar schools in theWest Indies --- Queens College in Guyana, Harrison college in Barbados and St. AugustineGirls High School in Trinidad. She read and simultaneously recorded text books inphilosophy, economics and literature for post graduate and undergraduate students of theRoyal National Institute for the Blind in London.Lakshmi Persauds first novel Buterfly in the Wind (Peepal Tree 1990) is a portrayalof a passage from Childhood to young womanhood in colonial Trinidad. It is beautifullywritten with an entrancing story and understated political insight into what it is to be a child.Her second novel Sastra (Peepal Tree 1993) is a moving and inspiring mature piece of fictionabout cultural change in colonial Trinidad.In her third novel For the Love of my Name (Peepal Tree 2000), President for Life,Robert Augustus Devonish, torn between confession and self justification, writes his memoirsas his country falls apart after its Independence from the colonial power. It weaves a strikingtapestry of hatreds and loves of duty and degradation of consciousness, despairs and hopes.And all the while, the bright threads of human resilience glint in the weave.
    • Shani MootooShani Mootoo was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1958 and raised in Trinidad. She movedto Canada at the age of 19 and earned a fine arts degree from the University of WesternOntario in 1980. There, she began a career as a painter and video producer. Mootoo beganher literary career with a collection of short fiction, entitled Out on Main Street, published in1993 to enthusiastic reviews, further exploring the theme common in everything she does,triumphing over childhood abuse. Her second book, published in 1996 in Canada, CereusBlooms at Night, is her first novel. Cereus Blooms at Night was a finalist for the 1997 GillerPrize, the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize.Mootoo focuses on issues of authenticity and identity in both of her written works. She"exposes the uncertainty of the hybrid individual" and "she explores a variety of situations inwhich her characters are pressed to display a prescribed cultural authenticity both byindividuals putatively from within the same culture and from those who are clearly outsiders"The setting of Shani Mootoos Cereus Blooms at Night on the imaginary island ofLantanacamara is assumedly a fictional one. Mootoo presents Lantanacamara in an almostmystical light, its realities often seeming so far removed from any real geographical placethat one cannot doubt the novel is thoroughly fiction. Despite this veneer of fiction, however,many aspects of the events and setting of the novel are autobiographical, as Mootoo infusescharacters and places with her own history.In Out on Main Street, Mootoo exposes the complexity and shifting borders of ahybrid identity. She explores a variety of situations in which her characters are pressed todisplay a prescribed cultural authenticity by individuals from within the same culture and bythose who are clearly outsiders. The culturally “inauthentic” person is made to feel guilty fornot being exotic or different enough.