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75 Books You Should Read During 2023

Part of a reading campaign for 2023

Caribbean Literature - Poetry

A World of Poetry

Hazel Simmonds-McDonald - While pursuing the PhD was a Research Assistant in the Child Phonology Project at Stanford University. Also served as an adjunct member of staff at Santa Clara University and taught Freshman Composition and Linguistics for a year before proceeding to the University of the West Indies. Served there as a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Professor in the Departments of Linguistics and the merged Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature. Also served as Deputy Dean of Outreach, Deputy Dean - Planning, and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education at the Cave Hill Campus. Was the Co-Chair of The UWI Cultural Studies Initiative that established the discipline at Cave Hill. Last post before retirement was Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal of the UWI Open Campus. In retirement has served in selected projects as: Consultant for the OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme (language policy); CARICOM Open and Distant Learning Committee; Erdiston College Literacy Diagnosis and Intervention Strategies.

Mark McWatt was born in Georgetown, Guyana, and attended schools all over the country, including mission schools in interior districts, as his father was a District officer in the colonial government of the time. He studied English at the University of Toronto and at Leeds university, where he completed a PhD in 1975, and went on to accept an appointment as Assistant Lecturer at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies, Barbados, in 1976. He remained at Cave Hill, becoming Professor of West Indian Literature in 199, also teaching modern fiction, poetry and creative writing. He retired in 2007 and is now Professor Emeritus. In 1986 he founded the Journal of West Indian Literature.

Gardening in the Tropics - Olive Senior

Olive Senior is the award-winning author of eighteen (18) books of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children's literature and other published work. Her many awards include Canada's Writers Trust Matt Cohen Award for Lifetime Achievement, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies and the Gold Medal of the Institute of Jamaica. Her work has been taught internationally and is widely translated. Olive Senior is from Jamaica and lives in Toronto, Canada, but returns frequently to the Caribbean which remains central to her work.


SunSong 1 and SunSong 2

Pamela Claire Mordecai (born 1942) is a Jamaican-born poet, novelist, short story writer, scholar and anthologist who lives in Canada. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, she attended high school in Jamaica, and Newton College of the Sacred Heart in Newton, MA, where she did a first degree in English. A trained language-arts teacher with a PhD in English from the University of the West Indies, she has taught at secondary and tertiary levels, trained teachers, edited an academic journal, and worked in media, especially television, and in publishing. Mordecai has written articles on Caribbean literature, education and publishing, and has collaborated on, or herself written, more than 30 books, including textbooks, children's books, six books of poetry for adults, a collection of short fiction, a novel, and (with her husband, Martin Mordecai) a reference work on Jamaica. She has edited several anthologies, including the Sunsong series. Her poems and stories for children are widely collected and have been used in textbooks in the UK, Canada, the US, West Africa, the Caribbean and Malaysia. Her short stories have been published in journals and anthologies in the Caribbean, the US and Canada. Her poetry was included in the 1992 anthology Daughters of Africa. Her play El Numero Uno had its world premiere in February 2010 at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People in Toronto, Canada.

Mordecai has lived in Canada since 1994, but the Caribbean experience, both in the region and in the diaspora, continues to be an important preoccupation in her writing. In 2013 she was awarded a Bronze Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica. In Spring 2014, she was a fellow at Yaddo artists' community in Saratoga Springs, New York.


Kingston Buttercup - Ann-Margaret Lim


Ann-Margaret Lim is the author of Kingston Buttercup (Peepal Tree Press, 2016), longlisted for the 2017 OCM Bocas Prize in Poetry, and The Festival of Wild Orchid (Peepal Tree Press, 2012), a nominee for the UK Guardian First Book Prize. The recipient of a Calabash Writer’s Workshop Fellowship, she lives in Red Hills, Jamaica.

Selected Poems - Lorna Goodison