Carol Ottley-Mitchell, an author and publisher from St. Kitts, gives us a glimpse into literature on the island.
The contemporary literary scene in St. Kitts & Nevis
There is a wealth of talent on the island, however, lack of access to training, publishers, and an environment of critical peer review has relegated most authors to self-publishing. The islands did not garner much international attention in fiction until the 1980s when Caryl Phillips was recognised for his plays, essays, short stories, and novels.
Must-read classics from St. Kitts & Nevis
I would recommend that readers looking for quality adult literature from St. Kitts take a look at the work of Caryl Phillips. A highly acclaimed writer, his work has been described by BookList as being “in a league with Toni Morrison and V. S. Naipaul.” He left St. Kitts at a very young age and so much of his writing about the island centers around immigration, living in a foreign land, and the question of whether having left, one can go home again. His latest book is The Lost Child: A Novel.
Best new books from St. Kitts & Nevis
For children’s books, I myself have produced twelve children’s books aimed at children from birth to young adult. My latest, soon-to-be-published book Barberry Hill was a finalist in the 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.
For non-fiction analysis on politics, Breaking the Cycle: Politics, Constitutional Change and Governance in St. Kitts and Nevis by Charles Wilkin provides a fairly unbiased description of St. Kitts-Neivs’s political history and makes a case for a way forward.
Jewel Amethyst has made a name for herself with her multi-cultural Romance novels. Her latest is the Dominica based love story, Hurricane of the Heart. A few other authors include Loughlin Tatem, Simon Jones Hendrickson, and Heather Archibald.
Publishing houses that publish contemporary fiction
CaribbeanReads Publishing is the main publisher of contemporary fiction. Established in 2009, the small publishing house has produced almost thirty titles by Caribbean authors, including the award winning Musical Youth by Joanne Hillhouse.
St. Kitts-Nevis born Carol Ottley-Mitchell is a professional editor and the Founder of CaribbeanReads Publishing, which focuses its work on publishing books by authors of the Caribbean. Carol is the author of eleven children’s books including the innovative Caribbean Adventure Series and the follow up series Chee Chee’s Adventures. Her children’s books have been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Children’s Literature every year since 2013. Carol’s work for adult audiences has appeared in Akashic Books: Mondays are Murder series; Poui: The Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing; the Institute of Caribbean Studies; and the St. Somewhere Journal among other places. She blogs with several other authors at NovelSpaces and maintains her own blog.