A literary genius, Caribbean thinker

Barbados-born literary giant George Lamming, who passed away on the weekend, is seen in this photo posted on the Bocas Lit Fest's Facebook page. Photo courtesy Bocas Lit Fest
Barbados-born literary giant George Lamming, who passed away on the weekend, is seen in this photo posted on the Bocas Lit Fest's Facebook page. Photo courtesy Bocas Lit Fest

THE EDITOR: Rex Nettleford, in his introduction to George Lamming’s Coming, Coming Home: Conversations II: Western Education and the Caribbean Intellectual, asserted that the Barbadian writer was “one of the Caribbean’s finest intellects and foremost literary artists.”

The sustainability of Lamming’s literary output and consequential contribution to Caribbean letters and scholarship is irrefutable. Lamming was distinguished as one whose writing, along with that of Samuel Selvon, VS Naipaul and Andrew Salkey, was instrumental to the formation of the anglophone Caribbean literary canon in the 1950s.

This esteemed Caribbean novelist received numerous accolades for his contribution to Caribbean letters and intellectualism.

In 1958, Lamming received the Somerset Maugham Prize for literature, in 1980 he was conferred an honorary doctorate of letters from UWI, and in 2011 the Association of Cuban Writers and Artists bestowed Lamming with the Caribbean Hibiscus Prize for his lifetime contribution to the arts (he was the first beneficiary of this award).

In 2013, he received the Clement Payne Appreciation Award, and in 2014 he was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book Lifetime Achievement Award.

His writing has and continues to be valuable to Caribbean intellectual thought as it probes notions of Caribbean identity in the aftermath of the colonial past. Noted Lamming scholar Sandra Pouchet Paquet, in Twentieth-Century Caribbean and Black African Writers, wrote of Lamming: “His work is seminal...In each of his novels and collection of essays...Lamming conceptualises core facets of the Caribbean experience in language and forms that continue to exercise a shaping influence over the literature of the region.”

All of Lamming’s novels treat with integral facets of the colonial experience and situation.

Lamming was a literary genius and a profound Caribbean thinker who will be greatly missed.

ALFRENA JAMIE PIERRE

via e-mail

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"A literary genius, Caribbean thinker"

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