Caribbean authors

A Talk And An Award

* Edit:  It appears I got my history a bit wrong. Marlon James is the first Jamaican to win the Man Booker. However, the first Caribbean national to win it appears to have been V.S. Naipaul. It just so happens he was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago! 

Yesterday I had a great time giving an informal talk about speculative fiction and what it takes to be a writer to the 6th Form students at St. Augustine Secondary School. I also read a bit from one of my current shorts, Wire and Blood.

The school was newly built, the library really nice–just like the librarians–and best of all, it was air-conditioned!

This was my first class of teenagers. I’ve given talks with teenagers present before, and even younger children, but not an entire class of them. I was delighted to meet a room full of intelligent, open, enthusiastic young men and women who needed no prompting to ask questions or react to what I was saying. In short, they were a great audience that gave me lots of energy, and I hope I was able to give them some insight and inspiration.

Here’s me accepting their wonderful tokens at the end of the talk. I made out like a bandit with stuff that included a new book and writing materials. I hope the librarian remembers to tell them how much I appreciated it!

St. Augustine Secondary Talk

On another note, I just read that the Man Booker Prize has been won today by a Caribbean national for the first time! Jamaican writer Marlon James bested the competition with A Brief History of Seven Killings. I’ve been hearing about how wonderful this book is since the Bocas Lit Festival put him on the short list for the OCM Bocas Lit Prize.

Scratch that–I heard about this book long before that, through an article in Caribbean Beat Magazine just before it debuted. It’s in my very large to be read pile, I’m sad to say, but I’m delighted that the Caribbean has another great author to celebrate, and a young one too. Jamaica to the World!

Congratulations, Marlon! Thanks for raising we nose!

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Stay thirsty, my friends!

A Few Good Women…

Earlier this year, Barnes and Noble did a great article featuring 7 speculative fiction books that feature strong female characters.

Is it exhaustive? By no means. But it has a nice mix of modern and classic and also had the good sense to include the queen of Caribbean speculative fiction, Nalo Hopkinson. Seriously, if you haven’t read ‘Midnight Robber’ you’ve…well, you’ve robbed yourself of something truly special.

See what I did there?

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Have fun with the list. I have it on good authority all the books are great, even the ones I haven’t read.

What are your favourite scifi or fantasy books with strong female leads? Sound off in the comments below. And if you buy and read (or already read) any of these, be sure to let me know what you think.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

Happy New Year! Time to Start Writing Now.

Yep. We had a great time eating the food and drinking the drink. Marathon watching TV shows on Netflix and going to the cinema to cheer for the final chapter of The Hobbit. So we are all refreshed now and should be ready for what comes next.

A year of great storytelling.

We will be writing until we are done, my friends. So get a good chair, crack your knuckles and be sure to check back here three times a week to see how you and I have done. Feel free to leave your word count, page count or sentence count when you visit. I’ll be happy to know I’m not the only one down in the salt mines. I’m giving you today off because it’s New Year’s Day and we know what you did last night. But no mercy tomorrow.

And weekends count for extra. Or you can just leave them for your family and fun, as I plan too. I have to recharge often, and weekends do that for me. I have too much to do in those two days, so I’d rather use my spare time to get ready for the rest of the week.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year, lots of writing and plenty of online friends (me included!) to share your trials and tribulations, successes and achievements with.

Welcome to 2015!!

And just for fun, here’s how a writer’s mind works most of the times…

LEX TALIONIS – An Article About My Appearance At The Bocas Lit Festival South

Heh.

Look, Ma, I’m famous.

The Trinidad Guardian wrote a small article on my panel at the Bocas Lit Festival last week Sunday. 

They mentioned me and everything.

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It’s a proud day, I tell you.

I had a marvelous time at that Festival, mostly because I got to hang out with KAREN LORD!

You heard me. You can totally be jealous now. I can take it.

More about that and pics to illustrate later this week. For now, getting back into the work groove and catching up on what needs to be done.

A girl’s got to eat after all.

I Have Upcoming Appearances for LEX TALIONIS So Come Join Me!

If you are from Trinidad and Tobago, or you’ll be in Trinidad on October 27th 2014, feel free to come on down to the Carnegie Library in San Fernando on Library Corner. I’ll be holding a Meet and Greet session for Library Week from 3:30pm to 5:00pm. There will be other local authors there and the event is free and open to the public, so please come out and support if you can.

Even more exciting, I will be on a speculative fiction panel with award-winning spec fic writer, Karen Lord, on November 9th 2014. We will be at the NGC Bocas South Lit Festival at the Southern Academy of the Performing Arts, UTT campus, from 11:00am. Both of us will be reading from our books and there will be a question and answer session. Again, this event is free and open to the public. Copies of LEX TALIONIS will also be available for sale.

Recently, I’ve been lucky enough to autograph copies of my book for colleagues so here’s a few pictures of me doing the author thing for real. A dream come true, being able to autograph my own book!

Here’s my book on a co-worker’s shelf.

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And here’s me autographing a couple of copies.

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Stay thirsty, my friends!

LEX TALIONIS by R.S.A. Garcia – A Talk With a Book Club And An Actual Signing!

So last Monday I had my first ever public speaking event. I went to the Carnegie Library in San Fernando and spoke with the library’s book club. I took my sister and cousin along with me to record the events and for moral support.

It turns out transport to the South city from our capital of Port-of-Spain is surprisingly difficult, even in the middle of the work day, and the weather turned bad on us as well, so I was horrifyingly late–40 minutes. Me. I’m never late for anything! Lucky for me, the lovely senior librarian had actually scheduled me for early in the session and I was able to just talk for the second half. Plus, in typical Trinidad fashion I wasn’t the only one who arrived late, and no one seemed to mind that much because…well…time is a bit more elastic here lol.

As so often happens, almost no one had finished the book, but one person had and it was amazing to sit and answer probing questions from someone who had obviously enjoyed it. I think the members of the club were surprised to learn that Caribbean authors are doing speculative fiction, and some of them wrote down the names I mentioned–Tobias Buckell, Karen Lord and Nalo Hopkinson, to name a few. I got to show them my book in print and one person told me she’d bought it. I was so pleased she’d gone that far, even though she accidentally confessed to my sister it wasn’t really her thing and she regretted buying it.

I think I became aware of just how many people in Trinidad think scifi and speculative fiction is just not for Caribbean people. It’s a cordoning off of who they are and who they can be in the literary world for no apparent reason other than they are suspicious of science fiction and ignorant of what it’s really about. I think they feel it’s not a space people of colour–and people from small islands–belong in. I just wish I could shout from the rooftops, why would we NOT be part of the future? Do you expect that having had such a complicated past and a difficult present, our future is but a mist-filled nothingness?

Whatever the future brings, whatever technologies we develop, whatever mankind becomes, the Caribbean will be right there in it. Not just the Caribbean, but the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific Islands and every other part of this world that some countries literally don’t think about. There are writers all over the world, not only thinking and dreaming about the future, but writing one that we are all part of.

It’s really an exciting time to be a writer, especially one from the Caribbean who wants to present a diverse cast and a different point of view. I’m so happy I get to be a part of this amazing new age.