Posts tagged george lamming

The Pleasures of Exile by George Lamming

I loved George Lamming’s novel In the Castle of my Skin, but wasn’t so impressed by this collection of essays. There were some wonderful ideas in here, but the book as a whole felt disjointed. First of all, for those of you who don’t know George Lamming, he’s Barbados’s most famous writer. Austin Clarke mentioned In the Castle of my Skin in a recent talk as “the Barbadian novel.” He was recently honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the Bim Literary Festival. I went to see Lamming give a talk… Read More

“In the Castle of My Skin” by George Lamming

Reading this book made me realise how much has changed, both in literature and society, in the half century since it was written. First of all, the writing struck me as extremely old-fashioned. For the first few pages, we learn nothing except that it’s the narrator’s ninth birthday and it’s raining. There are long, detailed descriptions of the rain, the house, the village, and still nothing happens. I could feel my impatience building. I didn’t care what colour the shingles were – I wanted to know who the story was… Read More

“Commonwealth Short Stories”, part 1

There are some excellent stories in here, from big names like V.S. Naipaul, Patrick White,  George Lamming, Chinua Achebe and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (although this book is so old he is credited as James Ngugi, his birth name which he rejected as a sign of colonial influence). Also some good ones from writers I didn’t know, like R.K. Narayan from India and Amos Tutuola from Nigeria. The editors, Anna Rutherford and Donald Hannah, have also provided for each of the 18 stories a couple of pages of introduction giving background… Read More

Reading 8 or 9 hours a day

George Lamming also said something quite amazing in his speech, and I forgot to mention it in my last post. He mentioned that he reads for 8 or 9 hours a day, and has done throughout his life. If he doesn’t read that much, he feels – I forget the word he used, but basically unsatisfied, hungry for more. After the speech, I said how wonderful it would be to read so much – you’d have such an encyclopaedic knowledge of world literature and presumably a lot of other topics…. Read More

George Lamming on “The politics of reading”

While I was in Barbados over Christmas and New Year, I went to a literary event – the 12th annual award ceremony for the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment, on Saturday 9 January 2010. The keynote speaker was George Lamming, probably Barbados’s best-known writer. He gave a fascinating speech on the politics of reading, which I am finally getting around to writing about! First he made it clear what he meant by politics. In Barbados, when you say someone’s being “political” it generally seems to mean they are blindly following one… Read More