Jamaica has produced some of the most eloquent and relevant writers in the world. They encompass poets and playwrights to novelists, essayists and journalists. Here are 20 Jamaican writers everyone should know, in no particular order.
1. Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, known as Miss Lou, is the author of several books and worked on television on the children’s show “Ring Ding”.
2. Roger Mais has written about anti-colonial sentiment, inequality and colonialism.
3. Andrew Salkey was an editor, broadcaster and published poetry, stories and novels.
4. Sylvia Wynter, a pioneer of postcolonial critical theory, was a playwright and novelist.
5. Lorna Goodison has explored themes of exile, homelessness and longing, winning awards in Jamaica, Britain and the US
6. Kerry Young examined the island’s multicultural society, highlighting race, culture and class in Jamaican and Chinese culture.
7. Margaret Cezair-Thompson has won awards for her writing on changing culture and history from the perspective of marginalized people.
8. Dr. Erna Brodber was awarded the Distinguished Order of Jamaica, Commander Class, for public service. She was named Writer-in-Residence in 2011 by UWI, Mona, during that academic year.
9. Jean D’Costa is best known for her children’s novels. She co-edited and co-wrote an anthology.
10. Barbara Gloudon, broadcast and print journalist and popular playwright.
11. Joan Andrea Hutchinson is internationally celebrated for her poetry and stories, and as an actress, singer, motivational speaker and teacher.
12. Marlon James is a multi-literary book award winner and currently an associate professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.
13. Kei Miller is internationally known for his writing. He divides his time between Kingston, Jamaica, and Glasgow, Scotland, where he teaches creative writing.
14. Vivian Lancaster Virtue was a poet, broadcaster and translator of poetry. He received the Musgrave Silver Medal from the Institute of Jamaica.
15. Claude McKay wrote his first poem at the age of 10 and took part in the Harlem Renaissance in the United States
16. Lindsay Barrett was a poet, freelance journalist and radical writer committed to progressive causes.
17. Vera Bell, poet and short story writer, has won numerous literary awards around the world and the Vera Bell Prize for Poetry was established in her honor.
18. Nicole Dennis-Benn has received numerous accolades for her bestselling novel “Patsy.” She explores themes of sexuality, gender and Jamaican life.
19. Alfred Fagan was a poet, playwright and actor who produced plays across the UK.
20. Mervyn Eustace Morris is a poet and professor emeritus at the University of the West Indies, Mona. He was awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit and was named Jamaica’s Poet Laureate.