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The period from the 1970s to the present day has produced an extraordinarily rich and diverse body of Caribbean writing that has been widely acclaimed. Caribbean Literature in Transition, 1970-2020 traces the region's contemporary writings across the established genres of prose, poetry, fiction and drama into emerging areas of creative non-fiction, memoir and speculative fiction with a particular attention on challenging the narrow canon of Anglophone male writers. It maps shifts and continuities between late twentieth century and early twenty-first century Caribbean literature in terms of innovations in literary form and style, the changing role and place of the writer, and shifts in our understandings of what constitutes the political terrain of the literary and its sites of struggle. Whilst reaching across language divides and multiple diasporas, it shows how contemporary Caribbean Literature has focused its attentions on social complexity and ongoing marginalizations in its continued preoccupations with identity, belonging and freedoms.
This chapter offers a critical overview of historical, cultural, and literary debates around ‘Windrush’. It revisits how the boat’s arrival in 1948 has come to represent the ‘beginnings’ of multicultural Britain and the consequent reshaping of the nation’s identity. It examines which factors influenced the writers and works that came to prominence and gained an enduring currency as Windrush narratives; it also attends to works that have been less celebrated. The particular focus of the chapter is on how the construction of the Windrush experience within literary works has aligned with wider political narratives to emphasise the ongoing challenges around the recognition and accommodation of black subjects within British culture and society. The chapter addresses two important blind spots within the literary framing of the Windrush experience: writings that emphasise transnational attachments and cultural mobility, as well as writings by women.
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