Beyond Windrush stands out as the first book to reexamine and redefine the writing of the crucial post-World War II era, often considered as the founding moment of West Indian writing through figures like V.S. Naipaul, George Lamming, and Sam Selvon. The collection’s fourteen original essays make clear that in the 1950s there was already a wide spectrum of West Indian men and women–Afro-Caribbean, Indo-Caribbean, and white-creole–who were writing, publishing, and even painting. Many lived in the Caribbean and North America, rather than London. Moreover, these writers addressed subjects overlooked in the more conventionally conceived canon, including topics such as queer sexuality and the environment. This collection offers new readings of canonical authors (Lamming, Roger Mais, and Andrew Salkey); hitherto marginalized authors (Ismith Khan, Elma Napier, and John Hearne); and commonly ignored genres (memoir, short stories, and journalism).
Raphael Dalleo’s chapter in the volume is entitled “Marie Chauvet and the Writer’s Exile from the Postcolonial Public Sphere.” He looks at the parallels between the work of Haitian writer Marie Chauvet and Barbadian George Lamming, to show how despite their locations in different linguistic traditions and physical locations, they are engaging with some of the same issues of the writer’s relationship to social movements and the crisis of the literary public sphere.
Contributors include many of the major critics of West Indian literature, including Alison Donnell, Donette Francis, Evelyn O’Callaghan, Glyne Griffith, Kim Robinson-Walcott, Faith Smith, Michael Bucknor, Michelle Stephens, and Edward Baugh.