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Secondary Reading List: Caribbean and black British Writing

Caribbean and Black British Writing, 2021/22, Semester 2
Professor John McLeod
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Selected General Reading

Edward Baugh, Critics on Caribbean literature (Allen, 1978).

Antonio Benitez Rojo, The repeating island : the Caribbean and the postmodern perspective, trans. James Maraniss (Duke University Press, 1992).

Frank Birbalsingh, Passion & exile : essays on Caribbean literature (Hansib, 1988).

_______ (ed.), Frontiers of Caribbean literature in English (Macmillan, 1996).

Laurence A. Breiner, An introduction to West Indian poetry (Cambridge University Press, 1998).

J. Dillon Brown, Migrant modernism : postwar London and the West Indian novel (University of Virginia Press, 2013).

Lorna Burns, Contemporary Caribbean writing and Deleuze : literature between postcolonialism and post-continental philosophy (Continuum, 2012), pp. 29-40.

Maggie Butcher (ed.), Tibisiri : Caribbean writers and critics (Dangaroo, 1989).

Selwyn R. Cudjoe (ed.) Caribbean women writers : essays from the first international conference (Calloux, 1990).

David Dabydeen & Nana Wilson-Tagoe, A Reader's Guide to West Indian and Black British Literature (Dangaroo, 1987).

Mary Condé and Thorunn Lonsdale (eds.), Caribbean women writers : fiction in English (Macmillan, 1997).

Daryl Cumber Dance, New world Adams : conversations with contemporary West Indian writers (Peepal Tree, 1992).

Carole Boyce Davies (ed.), Out of the Kumbla : Caribbean women and literature (Africa World Press, 1990).

______, Black women, writing and identity : migrations of the subject (Routledge, 1995).

Alison Donnell & Sarah Lawson Welsh, The Routledge reader in Caribbean literature (Routledge, 1996).

Alison Donnell, Twentieth-century Caribbean literature : critical moments in Anglophone literary history (Routledge, 2006).

Peter Fryer, Staying power : the history of black people in Britain (Pluto, 1984).

Paul Gilroy, Small acts : thoughts on the politics of black cultures (Serpent's Tale, 1993).

Stuart Hall, ‘Cultural Identity and Diaspora’ in Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory, ed. Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman (Harvester, 1993), pp.392- 403.

Kate Houlden, Sexuality, Gender and Nationalism in Caribbean Literature (Routledge, 2016).

Louis James, Caribbean literature in English (Longman, 1999).

Bruce King, The new English literatures : cultural nationalism in a changing world, (Macmillan, 1980). Chapters 6 & 7.

______, West Indian literature (2nd edition), (Macmillan, 1995).

George Lamming, The pleasures of exile (Michael Joseph, 1960).

Susheila Nasta (ed.), Motherlands: Black Women's Writing from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia (Women's Press, 1991).

______, Writing across worlds : contemporary writers talk (Routledge, 2004).

Mary Condé and Thorunn Lonsdale (eds), Caribbean women writers : fiction in English (Macmillan, 1998).

Kwesi Owusu (ed.), Black British culture and society : a text-reader (Routledge, 2000).

James Procter (ed.), Writing black Britain, 1948-1998 : an interdisciplinary anthology (MUP, 2000).

______, Dwelling places : postwar black British writing (Manchester University Press, 2003).

Shalini Puri, The Caribbean postcolonial : social equality, post-nationalism, and cultural hybridity (Palgrave, 2004).

Kenneth Ramchand, An introduction to the study of West Indian literature, (Nelson, 1976).

Mark Stein, Black British literature : novels of transformation (Ohio State, 2004).

Silvio Torres-Saillant, Caribbean poetics : toward an aesthetic of West Indian literature (Cambridge, 1997)

Top of page

Selected Reading of Primary Texts (in order of study)

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea   

Bibliography will appear here soon.

Derek Walcott, Selected Poetry  

June Bobb, Beating a restless drum : the poetics of Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott (Africa World Press, 1998).

Stewart Brown (ed.), The art of Derek Walcott (Seren, 1991).

Robert D. Hamner (ed.), Critical perspectives on Derek Walcott (Three Continents, 1993).

_______, Derek Walcott, updated edition (Twayne, 1993).

Bruce King, Derek Walcott : a Caribbean life (Oxford, 2000)—this is the controversial but thoroughly informative biography of Walcott.

John Thieme, Derek Walcott (Manchester University Press, 1999).

Ned Thomas, Derek Walcott, poet of the islands (Cardiff, 1980).

Michael Parker & Roger Starkey (eds), Postcolonial literatures : Achebe, Ngugi, Desai, Walcott, Walcott (Macmillan, 1995).

Derek Walcott, What the twilight says : essays (Faber, 1999).

Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners  

Kathie Birat, 'Making Sense of Memory in the Writings of the Caribbean Diaspora: Sam Selvon's London Calypso', Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 55:6, 2019, pp. 824-835.

J. Dillon Brown, Migrant modernism : postwar London and the West Indian novel (University of Virginia Press, 2013).

Ashley Dawson, Mongrel nation : diasporic culture and the making of postcolonial Britain (University of Michigan Press, 2007). an Open Access e-book of the whole text is available from the University of Michigan website! Click here:

Mark Ellis, Writing home : black writing in Britain since the War (Ibidem, 2007)

Patrick Herald, '"The Black", Space and Sexuality: examining resistance in Sam Selvon's The Lonely LondonersJournal of Commonwealth Literature, 52:2, 2017, pp. 350-364.

Mark Looker, Atlantic passages : history, community, and language in the fiction of Sam Selvon (Peter Lang, 1996) - esp. chapter 3, ‘Inventing Black London’.  Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva.

John McLeod, Postcolonial London : rewriting the metropolis (Routledge, 2004) -- especially Chapter 1, 'Making a Song and Dance'. 

Susheila Nasta, Home Truths: Fictions of the South Asian Diaspora in Britain (Palgrave, 2002) -- especially Chapter 2: 'Crossing Over and Shifting the Shapes: Sam Selvon's Londoners', pp. 56-92. 

Susheila Nasta (ed.), Critical perspectives on Sam Selvon (Three Continents, 1988).

_______, ‘Setting up home in a city of words : Sam Selvon's London novels' in Tiger's triumph : celebrating Sam Selvon, ed. Susheila Nasta and Anna Rutherford (Dangaroo, 1995), pp. 78-95. Reprinted in A. Robert Lee (ed.), Other Britain, other British : contemporary multicultural fiction

James Procter, Dwelling places : postwar black British writing (Manchester University Press, 2003). 

Linton Kwesi Johnson, Selected Poetry  [Note: this text is also available under the title Mi Revalueshanary Fren.]

David Austin, Dread Poetry & Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution (Pluto Press, 2018).

Ashley Dawson, ‘Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Dub Poetry and the Political Aesthetics of Carnival in Britain ’, Small Axe, 21, 2006, pp. 54-69 – highly recommended, and available online at

Ashley Dawson, Mongrel nation : diasporic culture and the making of postcolonial Britain (University of Michigan Press, 2007).

Christian Habekost, Verbal riddim : the politics and aesthetics of African-Caribbean dub poetry (Rodopi, 1993). 

Linton Kwesi Johnson in conversation with John La Rose in Changing Britannia : life experience with Britain, ed. by Roxy Harris and Sarah White (New Beacon, 1999), pp. 51-79 [available from me.]  Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva.

Linton Kwesi Johnson, 'Writing Reggae: Poetry, Politics and Popular Culture', Moving worlds. : Journal of Transcultural Writings 6 (1), 2006, pp. 2-18.

John McLeod, Postcolonial London : rewriting the metropolis (Routledge, 2004) -- esp. Chapter 4.

Jordan Musser, 'The Avant-Garde is in the Audience: On the Popular Avant-Gardism of Linton Kwesi Johnson's Dub Poetry', Twentieth-Century Music, 16:3, 2019,pp. 457-499.

Henghameh Saroukhani, 'Penguinizing Dub: Paratextual Frames for Transnational Protest in Linton Kwsi Johnson's Mi Revalueshanary Fren', Journal of postcolonial writing., 51 (3), 2015, pp. 256-268.

Bruce Woodcock, “I’ll show you something to make you change your mind”: Post-Colonial Translations of the Streets of London’, Kunapipi XXI (2), 1999, pp. 57-65.

[See also the relevant historical sections in James Procter (ed.), Writing black Britain, 1948-1998 : an interdisciplinary anthology (MUP, 2000).]

Andrea Levy, Small island  

Sarah Brophy, 'Entangled Genealogies: White Feminity on the Threshold of Change in Andrea Levy's Small Island', Contemporary women's writing, 4 (2), 2010, pp. 100-113.

Anouk Lang, '"Enthralling but at the same time disturbing": Challenging the Readers of Small Island', The journal of Commonwealth literature., 44 (2), 2009, pp. 142-140.

John McLeod, Life Lines: Writing Transcultural Adoption (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), pp. 57-66.

Sofio Munoz-Valdivieso, 'Metaphors of Belonging in Andrea Levy's Small Island ' in Metaphor and diaspora in contemporary writing [electronic resource], ed. Jonathan P. Snell (Palgrave, 2012), pp. 99-116.

Michael Pefect, '"Fold the paper and pass it on": Historical Silences and the Contrapuntal in Andrea Levy's Fiction', Journal of postcolonial writing., 46 (1), 2010.

Caryl Phillips, In The Falling Snow  

Benedict Ledent, Caryl Phillips (Manchester University Press, 2002)

_______ (ed.), ‘Familial and Other Conversations: Special Issue on Caryl Phillips’, Moving WorldsFamilial & other conversations : special issue on Caryl Phillips, 7 (1), 2007.

Lars Ekstein, Re-membering the Black Atlantic : on the poetics and politics of literary memory (Rodopi, 2006).

Maya Jaggi, Interview with Caryl Phillips in Susheila Nasta, Writing across worlds : contemporary writers talk (Routledge, 2004).

Helen Thomas, Caryl Phillips (Northcote House, 2006).

Abigail Ward, Caryl Phillips, David Dabydeen and Fred D'Aguiar : representations of slavery (Manchester University Press, 2011).

[**A full bibliography of Phillips’s publications, interviews, critical articles etc. can be found on the internet at: See also Phillips’s website at for useful biographical information.]

Edwidge Danticat, The dew breaker  

Jo Collins, 'The Ethics and Aesthetics of Representing Trauma: The Textual Politics of Edwidge Danticat's The Dew Breaker ', Journal of postcolonial writing. , 47 (1), 2011.

Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, 'Home is Where the Heart Is: Danticat's Landscapes of Return', Small axe. , 12 (3 27), 2008.

Kei Miller, The cartographer tries to map a way to Zion  

Ashcroft, Bill, Post-colonial transformation (Routledge, 2001) -- see Chapter 6 ('Place') regarding the importance of representing place in postcolonial literature, especially the subsection titled 'Cartography' (pp. 128ff).

Campbell, Alexandra, 'Atlantic Exchanges: the poetics of dispersal and disposal in Scottish and Caribbean seas', Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 55:2, 2019, pp. 195-208.

Miller, Kei ‘Imagining Nations’, Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings, 11.1 (2011): 14-20.

Rose-Steel, Michael, 'Of Metaphors and Maps: cartographic thinking and the poetry of Kei Miller', Politics of Place: Green Connections, 3, pp. 40-55 -- see  

This list was last updated on 07/09/2021