sx salon 15

February 2014

Chinese Caribbean Literature

Our first issue of 2014 tackles the concept of Chinese Caribbean literature with a special section of essays, interviews, and creative writing that approach this proposed literary category from different locations. Opening the discussion, Anne-Marie Lee-Loy asks the following “intrinsically intertwined” questions: “Is there such a thing as Chinese Caribbean literature? What would make such literature identifiably ‘Chinese Caribbean’?” And these questions haunt the other pieces in this issue’s special section.  In the two included interviews, Easton Lee speaks with Tzarina Prater about his early years and the influence they now have on his work while Patricia Powell discusses with Stephen Narain the curiosity that led her to writing The Pagoda, a novel that Lee-Loy notes troubles the impulse to constitute Chinese Caribbean literature by author origins. Powell reveals:

The novel grew out of a desire to know more about home, to know Jamaica’s history, to understand the Chinese experience in Jamaica, the complexities of otherness for them—people who are neither black nor white. I wanted to know their particular experiences of exile and immigration and displacement, their experiences of community and home there on the island.

These complexities arise in the two creative pieces in the special section, both of which return to the ubiquitous, though often overlooked, Mr. Chin character. While Victor Chang’s short story marries the unimaginable and the expected occurring on and to Mr. Chin’s property, Staceyann Chin’s poem to her father voices Mr. Chin’s progeny, the daughter now diasporic citizen who refuses to forget. Tao Leigh Goffe’s article closes the section with a consideration of six writers, including Staceyann Chin, who are “thrice diasporized,” that is, “shaped by the experiences of the African diaspora, the Asian diaspora, and the Caribbean diaspora.”

Via the writers included in this special section, this discussion seeks to not only contribute to but also complexify the slowly growing acknowledgement of a significant body of work from the Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora.

Our issue also features five new book reviews as well as creative work from Cyril Dabydeen, Colin Robinson, Reuel Ben Lewi, and Rajiv Mohabir. The table of contents is included below.

This issue of sx salon is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Stuart Hall (3 February 1932–10 February 2014).

Kelly Baker Josephs


Table of Contents

Introduction and Table of Contents—Kelly Baker Josephs


The Festival of the Wild Orchid by Ann-Margaret Lim—Leonora Simonovis-Brown
Light Falling on Bamboo by Lawrence Scott—Kaneesha Cherelle Parsard
Fault Lines by Kendel Hippolyte—Leanne Haynes
Archipelago: A Novel by Monique Roffey—Michael Sawyer
Postcolonial Odysseys: Derek Walcott’s Voyages of Homecoming by Maeve Tynan—Gyasi Byng

Discussion—Chinese Caribbean Literature

Identifying a Chinese Caribbean Literature: Pitfalls and Possibilities—Anne-Marie Lee-Loy
“Let Me Tell You How I Began”: A Conversation with Easton Lee—Tzarina T. Prater
Letter to My Father—Staceyann Chin
Mr. Chin’s Property—Victor Chang
(Re-)Constructing the Pagoda: A Conversation with Patricia Powell—Stephen Narain
Thrice Diasporized: The Emergence of Caribbean Chinese Diasporic Anglophone Literature—Tao Leigh Goffe


Cyril Dabydeen


Colin Robinson
Reuel Ben Lewi
Rajiv Mohabir


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