Jamaican Author Discusses Caribbean Literary Tradition
November 15, 2007
WELLESLEY, Mass.— In the new novella The Girl With the Golden Shoes, a shoeless young girl tries to get to Europe after she’s banished from her isolated fishing village on a Caribbean island. To its author Colin Channer, channeling the 14-year-old girl Estrella was similar to method acting.
“You get into a character,” Channer said. “You inhabit a character. You become a character through tapping into the emotions of that character, which is a subset of all the emotions of every other human being, every single human character in the world, including yourself.”
Channer will read from his latest work Monday, Nov. 26, at 6 pm in Collins Cinema. Margaret Cezair-Thompson, who teaches in Wellesley’s English Department, said the event is a great opportunity, as Channer will not only read from his novella but will also talk with students and answer their questions about the writing process, his own career as both a writer and reggae musician, and the Caribbean literary tradition.
"I'm delighted that Colin Channer will be here on the campus,” Cezair-Thompson said. “He's an exceptionally vibrant, talented writer, one we will keep hearing more and more about.”
“The Girl with the Golden Shoes is a literary gem, with well-drawn, memorable characters,” Cezair-Thompson continued. “It has the accessible yet resonant quality of that classic Jamaican film The Harder They Come and of Bob Marley's best lyrics.”
Critics agree. Naming it a “Spring Pick,” The Washington Post Book World notes, “Estrella Roselyn Maria Eugenia Thompson, the heroine of the short, beautiful novella The Girl With the Golden Shoes, is one of those characters who steal your heart. It seems not exactly correct to call her a character, however. She feels too real, too genuine.”
Channer was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and moved to New York in his late teens. He is the editor of the anthology Iron Balloons: Hit Fiction from Jamaica’s Calabash Writer’s Workshop and the author of two novels, two novellas and a collection of stories. He is an assistant professor of English and the coordinator of the B.A. creative writing program at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, N.Y. In 2001, he founded the not-for-profit Calabash International Literary Festival Trust, which hosts an annual festival in Jamaica. The Trust also produces publishing seminars, writing workshops and a film series.
Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to www.wellesley.edu.